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In the scenes with Lady Capulet, Juliet and the Nurse, Shakespeare presents his audience with a true-to-life set of relationships. Do you feel any empathy with these three women?

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Introduction

In the scenes with Lady Capulet, Juliet and the Nurse, Shakespeare presents his audience with a true-to-life set of relationships. Do you feel any empathy with these three women? "Nurse, where's my daughter? call her forth to me.". This begins our relationship with Shakespeare's three principal women of this play, Romeo and Juliet. We cannot always sympathise with these women, we can see why they are feeling the way they do. We can empathise with these women because their relationships are a reflection of real life situations. One of the most obvious traits of these relationships is the fact that Juliet's relationship with her mother is distinctly formal. Juliet replies to her mother's call with, "Madam, I am here, what is your will?", she refers to her mother as 'madam' and from the outset seems desperate to please her, immediately asking what is wanted of her. Perhaps Juliet is slightly scared of her mother; she clearly does not know her very well and maybe she would be threatened with physical violence if she did not do what her parents asked of her. Again, when Juliet and Lady Capulet discuss marriage, Juliet answers her mother with, "I'll look to like, if looking liking move; But no more deep will I endart mine eye Than your consent gives strength to make it fly." ...read more.

Middle

Juliet shows no hesitation in revealing her love for Romeo. The fact that Juliet trusts the Nurse with this dark secret clearly demonstrates a strong bond between these two women, particularly as Juliet's parents are present but she chooses to confide in the Nurse. This could be due to the Nurse's lesser part in the family feud and also the fact that the Nurse knows and loves Juliet and is much less likely to react badly to the situation. This aspect of their relationship is developed as in Act 2 Scene 5, the Nurse teases Juliet as Juliet tries to flatter news of Romeo out of her. The Nurse has seen Juliet grow up and clearly wants happiness for her, after all she is going back and forth on behalf of Juliet's love for Romeo. Just how dire this situation could turn is hinted at when the Nurse breaks her talk of Romeo with "Where is your mother?" If Lady Capulet were to find out that the Nurse had been keeping things from her, she would not hesitate to fire her and jobs like this would probably be rare, and would be especially hard to find after the Nurse had been fired for being untrustworthy in a previous job. ...read more.

Conclusion

She sends the nurse away with "Go in, and tell my lady I am gone," She is now commanding the Nurse, and treating her as a servnt rather than a friend. Comparing this stiff conversation to their jolly chat earlier in the play, it is clear that Juliet has grown up a lot and perhaps replaced the anchor of the Nurse with Romeo. And finally, in Scene 5 of Act 4, we see that despite her formality and commanding nature, Lady Capulet was very attached to her daughter. "O lamentable day!" she cries, when she believes Juliet to be dead. Perhaps, she had been surpressing a motherly instinct towards Juliet to obey the etiquette of the time. Things are perhaps even worse for the Nurse, who thought Juliet would marry Paris and things would, at last, go well. This aspect of the play has a lot of social significance, because the relationships translate into real life, and in empathising with these three women we can empathise with people around us. Also, in comparing the set of relationships at the beginning and end of the play, we can see how easy it is to turn a stable situation on its head. This play would probably have been even more significant at the time it was written, when the etiquette and relationships were even more relevant to real life than they are today. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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