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Explore the character of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Explore the character of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet The Nurse has a very important role in the play, being Juliet's closest friend and helping her in her illicit relationship with Romeo. Her position in the Capulet household is superior to that of a normal servant. She is very familiar when she talks to Lady Capulet, and at times oversteps the mark. She talks about the daughter she once had and lost, and it is evident that Juliet is like a replacement and the Nurse lavishes all her motherly love and protectiveness on Juliet. She is bossy to the other servants, we see this in the beginning when she gives orders to Peter and bosses him around. She is not very intelligent, and is a fairly simple person, which makes her an easy target for Mercutio's sarcastic comments. She is very long-winded when she talks, and is very rude, however she is extremely honest, and makes the audience laugh. This is one of her main functions in the play; Shakespeare put her there to provide humour in dark, sad times. As the play goes on, we see that however much she tries to help the two lovers with their relationship, she is too shallow to understand the pure, true love that they share. ...read more.

Middle

She immediately rushes out again, and then later returns at the side of Capulet. Capulet, in an effort to lighten the mood of the Capulet household, following the death if Tybalt, gives Paris permission to marry his daughter, and as we see, is willing to force her to do so against her will. When Capulet threatens and insults Juliet for refusing to marry Paris, the Nurse tries to intervene. She says, "God in heaven bless her! You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so", but her courage earns her nothing but insults, which seems unfair as she only has Juliet's best interests at heart. For Juliet's sake, she speaks out boldly and brazenly against her master, and is daring to speak so openly against him. After Juliet's mother and father have left, Juliet turns to the Nurse for advice, saying "What say'st thou? Hast thou not a word of joy? Some comfort, nurse". However, the Nurse tells Juliet that she feels it would be best for Juliet to marry Paris, since Romeo is as good as dead and Paris is better looking anyway. Juliet is outraged, but covers it up in order to buy some time. With a bit of hidden sarcasm, Juliet tells the Nurse that she has been a great comfort. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Act 5 Scene 3, at the tomb of the Capulet's, Prince Escalus orders Friar Lawrence to recount all he knows of the tragic events. The Friar, under moral duress does so, and coming to the end of his story says, "All this I know...Her Nurse is privy". The Friar's point is that the Nurse, who is not present, can corroborate his assertion that Romeo and Juliet were married. As aforementioned, the Nurse was designated a specific role in this play by Shakespeare. She provides humour, a mother- figure, and creates tension in the play, so we cannot simply dismiss her as meddling old fool. It is regrettable, that she lost Juliet's trust, but she was not entirely to blame for this; throughout the play, in everything she said and did, she only had Juliet's best interests at heart. She was only trying to help, and it hurt her more than she let on to lose Juliet's love and confidence in her. It was beyond her capabilities to understand deep things, such as true love, the fact that Juliet was Juliet was not going to be her little girl for ever, and whilst this does not fully excuse her, it does not make her blameless. One should not use intellectual limitations as an excuse for stupidity. However, above all her faults the Nurse was the perfect soul mate for Juliet Capulet. ...read more.

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