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Examine closely how language reveals the relationship between Juliet and her parents in the Shakespeare play 'Romeo and Juliet'

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Introduction

Louise Collins Examine closely how language reveals the relationship between Juliet and her parents in the Shakespeare play 'Romeo and Juliet' Four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare wrote the tragedy of 'Romeo and Juliet,' a popular play that continues to capture the imagination and emotions of people around the world. The drama portrays the passionate, violent and desperate lives of two lovers living in Verona, Italy. Romeo and Juliet are 'two star-crossed lovers' showing determination to be together despite their feuding families and bloodshed caused to each other. It displays the love Juliet feels for Romeo, which eclipses everything and transforms the relationship she has with her parents from dutiful to disobedient. However, a web of human actions results in tragedy for both Romeo and Juliet, including the actions of Juliet's parents. Today, the tragedy resembles problems adolescents of the twentieth century face each day in certain contexts. Elizabethan life was lived according to a Great Chain of Being, this is a powerful visual metaphor for the hierarchy of society. It ranks all forms of higher and lower life; the male alone represents humans. In some variations, women and children are placed below men as they were thought of as inferior, this is clearly represented in 'Romeo and Juliet,' as Lord Capulet appears to have authority over his daughter, Juliet, and his wife, Lady Capulet. A child's duty towards their parents was to be dutiful and respectful, which was alike Juliet's behaviour at the beginning of the play, they were expected to follow their parent's orders to the letter and always did. ...read more.

Middle

He orders his wife, Lady Capulet, to tell Juliet she is to be married to Paris in the morning and in doing so give her no choice whereas he did before. Paris plans their wedding for three days times after some delegation from Lord Capulet as he believed sooner was worse than later. Lord Capulet's attitude towards Paris' wedding proposal has completely changed and instead of waiting for his daughter to reach a 'ripe age', he wants the marriage to be as soon as possible. We can only speculate that he did this to make his daughter happier and help her grieving to come to an end. He describes Juliet's grief over Tybalt to Paris, 'She loved her kinsman Tybalt dearly, And so did I,' which begins to sound rushed and un-thoughtful. He furthers his point and claims 'Well, we were born to die' and sounds very callous and hard-hearted. Lord Capulet has a philosophical perspective and wants the wedding to go ahead on time. In this scene, we see Lord Capulet change his mind about when Juliet should marry; this is because he has had time to consider Paris' proposal and now believes he has Juliet where he wants her. He thinks Juliet will obey him and 'be ruled in all respects' by him. He may believe that by marrying her to Paris her grief for Tybalt will be forgotten and she will become happy once again. Such a sudden change in Lord Capulet influences our view on him as a father in many ways; he is now believed to be a father who likes to be in control and have power over his daughter. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her intentions are not to marry Paris but to carry out Friar Lawrence's plan. However, Juliet's apology and acceptance to do his bidding delight Lord Capulet. He decides, hastily, she shall be married tomorrow, bringing forward the wedding. This haste speeds up the plays' tragedy and increases the tension. Lord Capulet claims he will manage all the wedding arrangements himself after Lady Capulet offers her services to him. Juliet spins a web of lies to her parents whilst plotting to 'kill herself' for her relationship with Romeo to remain. Juliet told her father she went to see Friar Lawrence but this wasn't about the marriage but to arrange her way out. Lord Capulet thinks she is talking about arranging the marriage as she also met Paris there but she also went to plot with the Friar. The audience's reaction to this maybe that Juliet is selfish, deceitful but very clever. The change in language and attitude between Juliet and her parents consequently ends in her tragic death. Lord Capulet's change in attitude from a caring and considerate father to a hasty and infuriated one pushes Juliet to plan her own death to resume her relationship with Romeo before her forced marriage to Paris takes place. The wedding plans are brought forward because of Capulet's desperate attempts to marry her. Lady Capulet's attitude doesn't change from the beginning till end of the play as she is an insensitive figure and doesn't act like a mother to her daughter but leaves it to her nurse. When the nurse has done all she can to help Juliet, she has no one and nothing to rely on apart from Friar Lawrence's plan and her fateful love for Romeo. ...read more.

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