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Romeo and Juliet - The dramatic importance of the nurse

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Introduction

Shakespeare wrote 'Romeo and Juliet' between 1594 and 1956. It's set 16th century Verona and is concerned with the ill-fated love affair between the star-crossed lovers. They are the children of two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, but neither of the families can remember why their rivalry began Shakespeare's aim was to make the play as entertaining as possible. With the main themes, which are: love, conflict, violence and revenge he has kept his audiences spellbound many. Its not only themes of the play that are critical to the success but also the creation of drama, that builds tension through out the play until the climax at the end. The character of the Nurse in this play is fundamental to the drama. She has many functions. As part of the Capulets household; She is also Juliet's friend and confidante and throughout her interactions with the main characters, Romeo and Juliet, we gain an insight into their perceptions and feelings. Another purpose for her is to provide humour to balance out the tragic events of the play and she also moves the plot forward. We first meet the Nurse in Act 1 Scene 3 where her roles are to provide a context to the play, reveal her close bond with Juliet and create humour and comic relief. The Nurse's job is to care for Juliet and act as a substitute mother for her. ...read more.

Middle

What the nurse's husband meant by this was Juliet would have sex when she was the right age. The Nurse repeatedly tells stories and is reminiscent about her past. She repeatedly talks about her daughter Susan, who became deceased when she was only a few months old. 'Susan and she- God rest all Christian souls- were of an age.' Her husband is also dead. This is one of the reasons why she has devoted most of her life to the Capulet household. Also this could be the reason she has such a strong bond with Juliet, as she sees some of her daughter in Juliet. Her repetition, rambling and crudity add to the humour in the play and the audience would have warmed to her character. Shakespeare has made her ramble a lot and seem she has lost her marbles as an effect on her losing her family In act 1 scene 5 Shakespeare establishes the Nurse as a close friend and confidante to Juliet. As message bearer and meeting arranger Shakespeare cleverly utilises her as medium through which we see Romeo and Juliet's feelings and emotions. In this scene the Nurse the nurse moves the plot forward by telling each of the lovers about their identities how they are from two rival families, but this doesn't turn the lovers off of each other so The Nurse instantly knew that this was true love. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Act 3 Scene 5 we seen the role of the Nurse change dramatically in terms of her relationship with Juliet and this could be seen to have an effect on the tragic outcome of the play. Juliet responds to her saying this by not confiding in her any more. In the beginning of the scene Juliet's father is arguing with Juliet and telling her she will marry Paris. She does not want to and the Nurse says she should marry Paris. The nurse only says this because she is told to shut up by Juliet's father and if she did not she is likely to lose her job. In conclusion she is an extremely important character to building up tension and moving the plot forward. The play would be less entertaining as she adds humour to the play, but also makes the sad moment even more depressing as for example when Juliet dies, we feel sorry the Nurse the most as she has brought her up from when she was born and she has to witness her tragic death, which she may feel partly responsible for, as she advised Juliet to forget about Romeo and wed Paris. The plot could not have been developed and the story could not have been facilitated if it was not for the essential character of the Nurse. Peter Passam 10 Blue ...read more.

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