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How does Shakespeare present different aspects of familial love in 'Romeo and Juliet'?

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Introduction

Sacred Heart Catholic High School Liverpool Road Merseyside Centre Number: 34631 Name: Laura Bowes Date: December/January 2002-3 Title: How does Shakespeare present different aspects of familial love in 'Romeo and Juliet'? Stimulus: Introduction to text Teacher plan At the time Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, familial love was very different to what we know it as today. Parents did not have a close relationship with their children. A nurse was often hired by the upper classes to breast feed their children because it was not accepted in polite society. Fathers often arranged marriages for their daughters, who would usually only be about twelve or thirteen years old, Marriages often lacked love. Children were used by upper classes to make financial agreements etc. This is probably why children in the upper classes were often closer to their nurses than their parents. Family relations today are often very different from the family relations in Romeo and Juliet. Parents are close to their children and marriages are not often arranged within the Christian community by the parents. I think Shakespeare chose two arguing families for the tragedy because if something happens to one person, it affects the whole family i.e. the actions of one person could drastically change what happens to everyone else. The prologue at the beginning of the play tells us that the familial love of the Capulets and the Montagues would stop Romeo and Juliet ever standing a chance. It also outlines the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, and this would deny Romeo and Juliet the chance to have a proper marriage. ...read more.

Middle

The Nurse speaks in prose, which is just normal speech (not poetry) and is always used by lower classes. Lady Capulet speaks in iambic pentameter (10 syllables per line) and this kind of speech is used by the upper classes. Lady Capulet also uses extended metaphors in her speeches, whereas the Nurse does not. This shows a lack of intelligence in the lower classes because they do not talk using poetry (i.e. iambic pentameter) and they cannot use metaphors to make their point. If I were directing this scene, I would advise Lady Capulet to be quite uneasy around Juliet to show that they were not close and I would advise her to be very patronising towards the Nurse, to emphasize the class difference. I would ask the Nurse to be affectionate towards Juliet (e.g. hug her) to show that they were close and I would advise her to stand a little way back from Lady Capulet and Juliet, again to emphasize the class difference. In this scene, Lady Capulet asks Juliet how she would feel about getting married to Paris. Juliet has not met Romeo at this point in the play, so this affects her opinion about it. Juliet is quite obedient and says that she needs her mother's permission to fall in love; 'your consent gives me strength to make it fly'. Juliet's obedience towards her mother could show two things; she might just be doing what her mother wants because she is too scared to go against what she says or she may be obedient because she wants to get closer to her mother and build up a strong relationship with her. ...read more.

Conclusion

The play ends when the Montagues and the Capulets realise that Romeo and Juliet have killed themselves because they could not be together. The death of Romeo and Juliet brings the Montague and Capulet families together. This is quite ironic as the families would have come together if the felt that they could have told their parents that they were married, instead the families were united by death. I feel that there is still some rivalry between Lord Capulet and Lord Montague at the end of the play. When Capulet shakes Montague's hand, Montague says; 'But I can give thee more'. This suggests that the rivalry between the two families had been going on for so long that it was just a reflex action to compete with each other. From this play, it seems that children from the time that it was based had almost no relationship with their parents. Today we would find this rather strange; children who live with their parents are usually close to them. In addition, children were often used for financial gain through arranged marriages. However, some aspects of familial love are the same as they were in the play. Newly weds love each other passionately, the way that Romeo and Juliet loved each other. Shakespeare shows us many aspects of familial love, from that of a husband and wife to a nephew and his uncle. I think Shakespeare wrote this play to show that the right kind of familial love is important for everyone to be happy, which is something that people can still relate to today. ...read more.

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