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Character study - The Nurse in 'Romeo and Juliet'.

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Introduction

Character study - The Nurse Throughout 'Romeo and Juliet' the nurse establishes herself as a character of great importance. She is a nurse for the Capulet family but her role in the play is more than her title suggests. The nurse is also a surrogate mother to Juliet and it is apparent that the nurse and Juliet have a bond that is stronger than most, even to the extent of being stronger than the relationship with her birth mother. She, at times, is the main orcastrater of the storyline. By this I mean that she, on numerous occasions, informs various people of news, which keeps the story of 'Romeo and Juliet' going. What is also apparent is that the nurse has a real sense of humour. Her jokes and general comical personality relieves some of the tragedy in the play. The nurse is an 'employee' of the very rich and powerful Capulet family and her job is to act as a surrogate mother to Juliet. The fact that the nurse breast-fed Juliet as a baby is one of the main reasons why the two have a very strong bond. Although it is very true the nurse is a motherly figure to Juliet, the two seem to have a sisterly relationship. ...read more.

Middle

So the relationship between the nurse and Juliet maybe particularly strong because Juliet is seen as a replacement for Susan by the nurse. It is clear that the nurse can be, at times, very eager and does not think before she speaks and this is very inappropriate in some instances. For example she openly speaks to Lady Capulet about sex and this for a very high status women can be inappropriate. As a result of the nurses actions Lady Capulet may feel very uncomfortable and find the nurse disgusting and irritating. There is no doubt that the nurses intentions are always very good and that she is loyal to most people, especially Juliet. Subjects such as sex are discussed between the two and the nurse tries to give guidance but the information given is normally out dated. This shows that the nurse is somewhat unintelligent and lacks knowledge on important subjects. The nurse shows great protection towards Juliet and cares abut her immensely. She warns Romeo to treat Juliet well and not to use her, '..If ye should lead her in a fools' paradise as they say it were a very gloss of kind behaviour.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The importance of the nurse and actions is emphasised again when her 'change if heart ', when concerning Romeo and Paris, forces Juliet to take the potion. This inevitably changes the whole course of the story and the characters within it. Her love for Juliet is though clear when she realises that Juliet is dead. The nurse throughout the play is portrayed as a very bubbly and comical character but in this instance she is devastated. ' Alas, alas! Help, Help! My lady is dead! O well-a-day that ever I was born' this shows the nurses devastation, the fact she is repeating words adds to the sense of disbelief. Her life is not worth living after the loss of Juliet. She meant everything to her and their relationship was one of great importance to her. All in all the nurse is a very important character throughout the play. If the nurse were absent from this play it would be a great loss. Her humour adds a comical side to the play that takes away some of the very tragic and upsetting storyline. The death of Juliet would be less tragic without the nurses' reaction and feelings. Basically if the nurse was not in the play the story would not have developed and the play would not be as successful as it turned out for William Shakespeare. Damon Harrison ...read more.

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