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How does the character of Juliet change during the course of the play?

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5th December 2005 Coursework: How does the character of Juliet change during the course of the play? With Queen Elizabeth at the throne, William Shakespeare wrote one of his finest plays, Romeo and Juliet, which was first performed in 1595, a year after the plague struck London. William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon on 23 April 1564 and married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 in 1582. After joining the Lord Chamberlain's Men (a theatre company later known as the King's Men), Shakespeare wrote what are widely regarded as his greatest plays such as Hamlet, Othello and King Lear, during his twenty years at the company. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy in which the tragic hero, Romeo is of high standing but is human after all and not unrealistically perfect. The hero also has a tragic flaw, which is Romeo's love for Juliet and this eventually leads to his downfall, the effect of this giving the spectators an inclination of pity through what they have seen. The play is set during the late 1500s in the Italian city of Verona because of the romantic feeling that is felt about Italy and also the fact that it was widely known of ongoing feuds between Italian households. Romeo and Juliet like many of Shakespeare's works is based upon another piece of literature in this case the poem, The tragic History of Romeus and Juliet written by Arthur Brooke. ...read more.


The Nurse, who was like a mother to Juliet is someone Juliet speaks openly to however she begins to hide her feelings about Romeo when questioned, saying "a rhyme I learnt" which means nothing. This shows Juliet's intelligence. Loyalty is another key character trait of Juliet. She is so utterly loyal to Romeo and defies the whole world for him eventually taking a dangerous drug to fake her death. Her nurse starts off as her confidante but this trust is shattered when the nurse is disloyal to Romeo advising marriage to Paris. During Juliet's soliloquy on the balcony she says "deny thy father and refuse thy name" which means to go against your father and don't use your surname, Montague. This goes against what Juliet has been taught which is to hate all Motagues and is confirmed with the quote "My only love sprung from my only hate" meaning that the person whom she loves is from the family that she must hate. Her going against her family's teaching shows her disobedience and total loyalty to her new found love, Romeo. This total loyalty will even go beyond the grave - not even death can keep them apart -'for stony limits cannot hold love out' Juliet is unsure whether she has been too quickly won by Romeo and says "if thou think'st I'm too quickly won, I'll frown and perverse, and say thee nay" giving the impression that Juliet isn't anxious in her attraction to Romeo. ...read more.


Marriages were also arranged because there was money to be made if the father could find a wealthy family with a son therefore to them it was just a business arrangement. They were afraid that their daughter would marry a man from a lower class who was poor and it might prove to be a dent in the family's reputation so when put simply the men didn't trust the women. On this information I believe that Juliet was typical of her age and class to have her marriage arranged for her. I don't think her character is totally believable because she manages to change dramatically in the space of four days which is not realistic although I do realize this has to happen because it is hard to show the passage of time in the performance of a play. However I did sympathize with Juliet because she had to face a lot of the dangers on her own like taking the drug and after Romeo was banished she had no one to turn to for advice and support. I believe that this is why she made rash and life changing decisions including the one to marry Romeo after only seeing him for a couple of hours. The plot was very dramatic. The "star-cross'd lovers" were destined to take their own lives, this enabled great changes in Juliet's state of mind to take place over the course of the play. I GOT A ...read more.

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