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Explore the ways Shakespeare portrays the ambiguity of Juliet's character her insubordination to, and relationship with her parents.

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Coursework Essay Romeo and Juliet Explore the ways Shakespeare portrays the ambiguity of Juliet's character her insubordination to, and relationship with her parents. William Shakespeare's tragic play, Romeo and Juliet, is a story of hatred wounds reopened through the love of between rival families, where only death will bring a finale. This story of these town teenagers is set in the 1500s, obviously the culture and general behaviour was very different, and this has a significant effect on the way the story is acted out by the characters. Today, we expect children and teenagers to debate arguments, make decisions for themselves, and be rebellious to their parents and authority in general. But, in the 1500s this was far from normal behaviour. The parents in traditional rich families would control the children in their everyday activities - although the sons were controlled to a lesser extent. Children and daughters especially, would be treated like objects. Children were just obedient, there was no real culture urged to rebel, argue or disobey with their parents. Marriages in these families would also be initiated by the parents, mainly for the daughters though. ...read more.


From act one scene two, Capulet is talking to Paris about the proposed marriage. In this conversation Juliet is referred to and described several times. She is said to be a "stranger in the world" and that she hasn't seen 'fourteen years'. These two quotes prompt the audience to think of Juliet as a dependant girl, without knowledge of the world or maturity. Then Capulet's conversation leads the audience into thinking that Juliet is just a girl, not a woman. He even goes as far as to say that: "Too soon marred are those so early made". This development of the character before she is met is a great scheming device, as before this conversation, Juliet's character was like a blank canvas in the minds of the audience. Although, it is slightly harder for the audience of today, the viewers of this play in the 1500s would have known roughly what to expect, from a high society family like the Capulets. Obviously though Juliet is very different to what is early described by Capulet, amongst others. The small quote of Juliet by the Nurse: "If he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed," is a quote that has great effect, it is one of the first glimpses we get of the 'real Juliet'. ...read more.


The last speech by the Prince and the prologue compliment each other. They act as brackets to the play, both commenting similar views on what happened. These brackets remind the audience of how things went wrong for the "star-crossed lovers" and sort out the play in the audience's minds. The stage direction of Juliet getting down on her knees before her parents is one of very few in the play. Going down onto knees before your elders was seen as a mark of respect and was practised throughout society. As the audience may be swinging in the direction of Capulet's view (seeing Juliet as a "disobedient wretch") the stage direction hesitates this. It shows to the audience that Juliet is not all bad. She may seem disobedient, but she has respect for her parents. It prompts the audience to see Juliet as a matured young woman who can make her own decisions in life. Overall the play offers a very unusual character in Juliet. Throughout the play we can see her rebelliousness to her parents in conversations, and the ambiguity she shows throughout these. This all adds to an effective play that was years ahead of its current audience, in terms of how characters act and behave around each other. ...read more.

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