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Discuss the role of the nurse in 'Romeo and Juliet', paying particular attention to three scenes in which the nurse plays an important role - You may wish to focus on the way she adds humour to the play and the dramatic impact she has on the audience.

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Romeo and Juliet By Ben Gowland Discuss the role of the nurse in 'Romeo and Juliet', paying particular attention to three scenes in which the nurse plays an important role. You may wish to focus on the way she adds humour to the play and the dramatic impact she has on the audience In this essay I am going to discuss the role of the nurse through three scenes where the nurse plays an important role. 'Romeo and Juliet' is undoubtedly one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays, it is based upon Arthur Brookes poem 'The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet' written in 1562. 'Romeo and Juliet' is set in fifteenth century Verona, Italy and makes the ideal setting for such a vibrant and extravagant play. There have been many different versions of 'Romeo and Juliet', dating back from 'the globe', too Baz Lurhmann's interpretation of the play. Like all Shakespeare's works, 'Romeo and Juliet' is set out into five different scenes. The first act is an exposition of the rest of the play, as we discover the situations and dispositions of the main characters, and it shows the basic plot, which makes the rest of the play easier to understand. It introduces the rivalry and trouble between the two families. We are introduced to the Nurse, through her long-winded speech on the wet nursing and growth of Juliet. In this way we are told of Juliet's age and her therefore eligibility for marriage. ...read more.


"Though wast the prettiest babe that I ever nursed" (Act one, Scene three, Line 58) The nurse also refers to daughter Susan who had passed away. "well, Susan is with god; she was too good for me" This also shows that the nurse takes dignity in her reminiscence. The nurse uses Juliet as a substitute for her daughter Susan, and would do anything to please and fulfil her wishes. The nurse helps lady Capulet communicate with her daughter because it is implied that she cannot talk to her face to face. This also demonstrates how loving the nurse is towards the family and how the family see her as a member of the Capulet's. The nurse irritates Lady Capulet because she doesn't stop talking, which brings hilarity to tragedy. "enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace" Here is a fine example of what lady Capulet of the nurses long, base speeches and her sexual insinuation. During the 'masked ball', when Romeo and Juliet first meet, the nurse acts a go-between for them. Romeo and Juliet both ask several questions concerning each other separately. The nurse gives her typical answer. "I tell you he that can lay hold of her, shall have the chinks" She is also rebuking Juliet for talking to Romeo after she found out that he was from the Montague family sect. ...read more.


The nurses reaction is genuine distraught and devastation "Alas, Alas! Help! Help! My lady's dead! ..., Most lamentable day! ...Most woeful day ...Ever did I yet behold". From this, you see that the nurse is feeling guilty about betraying Juliet. In the final scenes, the nurse is not included. You could argue that Shakespeare ignored her character because she betrayed Juliet. In conclusion the role of the nurse is an important one as it is she who creates tension. The audience is able to gain a further understanding into the roles of both Romeo and Juliet, because of the way they interact with the nurse. Although it may not apparent at first, it is clear that the nurse is the character who makes the play work. Her role is such that if her character were absent from the play, the play would definitely not have concluded in the way it does. It is the nurse who has a major role in developing the relationship between Romeo and Juliet, and at the same time it is her who is partly responsible for their deaths. Despite this, it can be argued that the nurse has many functions. To summarize, these are that of a go between, a surrogate mother and to add humour to play. She creates dramatic irony and enables development of the plot and other characters. Overall, Shakespeare uses the nurse as a toll to move the play forward. The nurses role is of paramount importance and it can be said that the play would not function without her. ...read more.

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