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How Far Does Juliet's Character Change And Develop In Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet?

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Introduction

How Far Does Juliet's Character Change And Develop In Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet? Romeo and Juliet was written at the end of the 16th century. Shakespeare set the play in Verona, Italy during a period when women were treated as possessions and objects, not as equals to men. They were expected to be housewives when they were married and before that, their father's property. Italians were renowned for their short temperament and passionate behaviour, which is possibly the reason for Shakespeare choosing Italy for the setting of this play for they are the main traits of all the characters in this play, including one of the main characters, Juliet. Juliet Capulet, a thirteen-year-old girl, is a main character of the play and although we are not introduced to her until Act I Scene 3, she features in the play before this point. She is first portrayed as a typical girl during this time period. When she is first mentioned to us, her father is talking to Paris who is asking him for Juliet's hand in marriage. Lord Capulet treats Juliet, during this conversation, as being a very independent girl with her own mind, her own free will and as if he cares very much about her. "She's the hopeful lady of my earth." Although Lord Capulet is the one who is typically meant to choose Juliet's husband, he tells Paris that it is partly Juliet's choice and says, "But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart, My will to her consent is but a part; And she agreed, within her scope of choice Lies my consent." This shows that he values Juliet's opinion and thinks very highly of her as he talks about Paris needing consent from both of them. It seems quite strange that Lord Capulet would break away from the normal proceedings of marriage while in most other aspects he is a typical Italian man of the 16th Century. ...read more.

Middle

This shows that she is very much in love with Romeo and cares so deeply for him, that she will stop being part of her family so that she can be with him. Romeo comes to Juliet and they talk of their love for one another. Juliet's language becomes very bold as she talks more to him. She begins to forget that she is a girl talking to a boy and that she must not have strong feelings on any subjects and she tells him, "Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won, I'll frown and be perverse and say thee nay So thou wilt woo." Although she has not known Romeo for a very long time, she feels able to talk to him with a certain amount of familiarity, which she would not use when talking to her father whom she has known all her life. This shows that she feels close to him for she does not worry about his opinion of her so much that she must behave politely towards him. Juliet is even so bold as to ask him to marry her. "If that thy bent love is honourable, Thy purpose marriage, send word to me tomorrow." That is a rarity in the twenty first century, let alone in the sixteenth century. This proves that she cares very deeply for him and does not want to lose him. She has already changed greatly from the (supposedly) shy and polite Juliet that we were first introduced to. Juliet is deeply in love as she feels as if not hearing from Romeo until early next morning is too long to bear. "'Tis twenty years till then." Juliet sends the nurse to find out about her marriage to Romeo. Whilst she is awaiting the Nurses return, she becomes very agitated and aggravated that it is taking the nurse such a long time to return. ...read more.

Conclusion

She tells her parents she will marry Paris and goes to visit Friar Lawrence. As she arrives at the church, Paris is there talking about wedding plans. She is evasive and somewhat dismissive towards his flattering approaches. Paris "Happily met, my lady and my wife!" Juliet "That may be, sir, when I may be a wife." When she addresses Friar Laurence, she is very desperate for help. She sees him as her only way out and if he cannot help her, she will kill herself. This shows bravery on Juliets' part and also determination. She would do anything to be with Romeo. "Things that....have made me tremble- And I will do without fear or doubt, To live an unstained wife to my sweet love." As Juliet is alone in her room, she wonders about what will happen to her. Friar Lawrence has given her a poison to take the night before her wedding to give her the look of death. Although she trusts Friar Laurence, she still has doubts that the poison will work. She is scared about taking it but does for Romeo. "Romeo, Romeo, Romeo. Here's drink. I drink to thee." Juliet wakes two days later in the Capulets tomb. She sees Friar Laurence standing where she expects Romeo to be but finds him dead next to her. Juliet is devastated by Romeos death and kills herself with her dagger so she mustn't live without him. This shows true love and bravery. In conclusion, Juliet has displayed her individuality and strong sense of self throughout the play. Her determination to remain true to herself and to her feelings strengthened as she faced adversity. As her relationship with Romeo developed, her emotional maturity developed too, and became obvious. She became more single minded during the play and stopped trying to please everyone and started to please herself. Although this behaviour was always there, it was more evident as the play advanced. As situations arose, Juliet had to use new techniques to deal with them. In some cases, these techniques were ones that she already possessed but needed strength added to them. ...read more.

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