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How does Shakespeare show Juliet's character change and develop in Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare show Juliet's character change and develop in Romeo and Juliet? William Shakespeare began writing 'The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet' in 1589. The soon-to-be epic play took the great playwright six years to complete, and in 1595 the play was first acted out on stage. The play was written especially for the Queen Elizabeth 1st, who was the reigning monarch at the time. The reason for writing the play had been simple; romantic dramas were of growing popularity in that day and age. Shakespeare's previous works 'Anthony and Cleopatra', had too been a very successful romantic tragedy and had gone down very well with the many countrymen who saw it acted out. 'The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet' is set in Verona, a city in Italy. Verona was a very fashionable city, and was also at the time considered to be the religious capital of the world. The play is based around a young man named Romeo and an even younger girl, named Juliet. Romeo belongs to the family of Montagues. They are a large, well established and wealthy family. They are also proud. Juliet is of the Capulet family. This family is very similar to the Montagues in stature. However the two families are and have been feuding with one-another. The audience never learned the cause of the two family's feud. Nevertheless it is a bitter one that plays a very large part in the happenings of the play. Romeo's character is a strong one. He is also quite different it seems from the rest of his family. He is a romantic, and this is shown when we first are introduced to him in act 1 scene 1. Here, he is found after spending time alone, reflecting; "Ay me, sad hours seem long". He gives a long passage about love and hate, referring I think to the fight between the Montagues and the Capulets that had just taken place. ...read more.

Middle

This soon turns to delight of seeing her love again, and hearing he loves her. Juliet explains to Romeo why she does not seem coy with him "In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond," here she tells him she is foolish and goes on to say that he may find her light in behaviour. But she asks him to trust her, and she'll be more true a lover to him "Than those that have more coying to be strange." She basically promises him that she will be more loyal and true than those who may have the cunning to act coy and distant. Most girls were coy in this period of time, the word meaning sexually shy, as they were innocent and were expected to be that way. Juliet suggests to Romeo that "If that thy bent of love be honourable,/ Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow,". If he loves her, prove it to her by sending her word tomorrow that he wishes to wed her. She goes on to say she will then meet him and be married to him on that day. This shows us how strongly she feels about him. It shows us her strength of character, how she is so determined to be with her love, that she will marry her family's enemy without her parent's consent. It is a complete change for her and signifies that desperation will eventually lead to tragedy, because I think, from this point, it becomes obvious to the audience that this simply cannot go on without any problems. She is prepared to take an unforgivable risk for him. At the beginning of act 2 scene 5, Juliet is impatient. She is waiting on the return of the nurse with news from Romeo. "The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse;/ In half an hour she promised to return." The nurse is evidently late "It's three long hours, yet she is not come." ...read more.

Conclusion

The law in that time was that a girl had no choice over who she may marry, unless with her parent's consent. If she disobeyed her father she would be disowned from the Capulet family. However she is already married to Romeo, so she cannot marry again. If she tells her parents this she could be disowned, or even killed maybe. She has offended both her parents. Lady Capulet refuses to help Juliet "Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word./ Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee." She too, is probably very angry and upset with Juliet. The only person Juliet feels she has left to turn to is the nurse, who gives her advice; "Oh Nurse, how shall this be prevented?" At the end of the scene Juliet finally decides to go to church to make a confession and "to be absolved"". She says to the nurse "Go in, and tell my Lady I am gone." She seeks Friar Laurence's aid. She knows that because of her religion, she has morals against wedding two people. As well as this she will be banished from the Capulet household. These implications have made her feel completely at an end of it all. She has decided that the Friar is the only person (being religious) who can possibly help her. As a character Juliet has changed dramatically. She has gone from being a quiet, obedient minor character in the play with no real feelings or ideas of the real world and life, to a strong minded and brave major character. She has disobeyed her parents, got married without their consent to her family's enemy, lied to her parents, and has lost her love through exile. She now feels very alone. Yet she is determined to make it through and end up with the one thing that she lives for... Romeo. She is an inspiring character and her stolid determination is admirable. She would never have discovered her true self is she hadn't of met Romeo. He is the cause of her pleasure and her pain. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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