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How important is the role of the Nurse in `Romeo and Juliet’? Would the play still work without her?

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Romeo and Juliet How important is the role of the Nurse in `Romeo and Juliet'? Would the play still work without her? The Nurse is a highly developed character who is bawdy and humorous. The role of the Nurse is important in many ways and here are many reasons why Shakespeare used such a character in the play. One's initial reaction to the Nurse is that she is in the play as a source of humour even though the play is a tragedy. This gives the play a twist because she changes the mood from one scene to another. In order for as to see whether her presence is essential, important or merely incidental, one should look at each scene in detail and analyse her interaction with other characters and the atmosphere she creates. When the Nurse first makes her emergence she is characterized as a vulgar commoner. The effect the unnamed servant has on the play is momentous. Shakespeare changes her status from a lower class maid to a member of the Capulet household. " No less nay bigger. Women grow by men". This demonstrates the Nurse's crudeness and her use of sexual implication. The Nurse has obviously brought up Juliet since she was a child and has even breastfed her. " Thou wast the prettiest babe that ever I nursed". ...read more.


In this way, the Nurse asserts her concern and support for the well being of Juliet, whilst maintaining her authoritative role. The Nurse is also showing her hilarity by having an argument with the Montague clan. The Nurse has been very courageous to go into the Montague territory and has undertaken all this for Juliet. This again shows how thoughtful and considerate she is to her surrogate daughter. The most humorous scene is Act 2 Scene 5. The Nurse is bantering with Juliet about whether or not Romeo has given the answer concerning the wedding proposal. The Nurse deviates from one point to another to get on Juliet's nerves, and make her worried about whether her lover has accepted her request of marriage or not. The Nurse falsely claims that she is of ill health. This is also done to make Juliet feel uncomfortable. When the Nurse finally tells her she spits it out quickly, thus shocking the desperate Juliet. In the next scene we meet the Nurse, when she narrates the death of Juliet's cousin to the daughter of Montague. She is flabbergasted when she finds out what happened. This scene shows another episode of the play where the Nurse is emotional and is not full of comedy. People may think the Nurse is over reacting compared to the death of Juliet. ...read more.


The Nurse doesn't talk well with the head of the family but she does respect him. The Nurse orders Romeo around but he thinks well of her at first because she helps him and Juliet. In conclusion, the role of the Nurse is an important one as it is she who creates tension. The audience is able to gain a further understanding into the role of both Romeo and Juliet, because of the way in which they interact with each Nurse. Although it may not be apparent at first, it is clear that the Nurse is the character who makes the play work. Her role is such that if her character were absent from the play, the play would definitely not have concluded in the way it does. It is the Nurse who has a major role in developing the relationship between Romeo and Juliet, and at the same time it is her who is partly responsible for their deaths. Despite this, it can be argued the Nurse has many functions. To summarize, these are that that of a go between, a surrogate mother and she also adds to the humour of the play. She creates dramatic irony and enables the development of the plot and other characters. Overall, Shakespeare uses the Nurse as a tool to move the play forward. The Nurse's role is of paramount importance and it can be said that the play would not function without her. AHSAN AHMED ?? ?? ?? ?? AHSAN AHMED 17/05/07 - 1 - ...read more.

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