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How does Shakespeare present the relationship between Juliet and the Nurse, and Romeo and Friar Lawrence? How do these relationships compare to their relationships with their parents?

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Introduction

By Bashori Rahman, 10T How does Shakespeare present the relationship between Juliet and the Nurse, and Romeo and Friar Lawrence? How do these relationships compare to their relationships with their parents? Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare at the end of the 16th century. It is set in Verona and tells a story about "Two households both alike in dignity" from which two people fall in love. Romeo and Juliet are secret lovers because the continuous rivalry between their parents would otherwise stop them from meeting. For this reason, their parents are unaware of Romeo and Juliet's relationship, making it hard for either of them to get close to their parents. They are however, close to two other people who in some ways take on the role of a mother or father. Shakespeare first shows the audience the close relationship Juliet has with her Nurse, in Act 1 Scene 3. In this scene, we learn more about the Nurse's life as well as Juliet's. When the Nurse tells the audience about her own daughter, 'Come Lammas eve at night shall she be fourteen - Susan and she... well, Susan is with God' the audience is made o understand that Juliet has replaced 'Susan' in a way, and is now the Nurse's surrogate daughter. ...read more.

Middle

In Act 3 Scene 5, Juliet is upset because she has just spent her last night with Romeo, before he is banished. There is a sense of dramatic irony here because Lady Capulet thinks Juliet is grieving for her cousin Tybalt, however, the audience knows that she is really crying over her loss of Romeo. Lady Capulet does not show much sympathy for Juliet's grief. She acts rather insensitively and callously towards Juliet when she says 'So shall you feel the loss, but not the friend which you weep for.' This indicates that the relationship between Juliet and her parents is unloving and unrepentant. Juliet then says: "Feeling so the loss, I cannot choose but ever weep the friend." The sense of dramatic irony within the audience continues. At this point, Juliet is not actually lying - she says what she feels is the truth, yet she knows her mother is interpreting it in another way. This shows that after meeting Romeo, Juliet's relationship with her mother has become deceitful and fraudulent. Juliet then goes onto say, "Indeed I never shall be satisfied with Romeo, till I behold him - dead". This speech also has a double meaning - Juliet appears to agree with her mother's attack on Romeo, but uses words which can also mean that she loves him. ...read more.

Conclusion

In contrast to this, Romeo has a very distant relationship with his father. Romeo and Montague are not once seen speaking to each other which in itself is quite self-explanatory to the status of their relationship. Montague seems aware of their distant relationship, yet does not seem eager to do anything to change this. In Act 1 Scene 1, he talks to Benvolio about Romeo's grief - "My noble uncle, do you know the cause?" Montague simply replies, "I neither know it, nor can learn from him." They decide to depart and let Benvolio find out the cause of Romeo's unhappiness. When Shakespeare does this, the audience can be forced to believe that Montague is in some ways abdicating his role as a father; however this could also mean that Montague knows his son well and is aware that Romeo is more likely to tell Benvolio what is wrong because he is of a closer age. This is the only time we see a glimpse of Romeo's relationship with his parents, whereas Romeo spends a lot more time with Friar Lawrence who is more of a father to Romeo. Shakespeare presents the relationships between Juliet and the Nurse and Romeo and Friar Lawrence by using significant language that implies a father-son or mother-daughter relationship. He also portrays the lovers' behaviour towards their parents in a contrasting way to the Nurse and the Friar so that the audience is able to see the differences. ...read more.

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