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'Juliet is by far the most powerful figure in the play.' To what extent do you agree or disagree with this assertion?

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Introduction

'Juliet is by far the most powerful figure in the play.' To what extent do you agree or disagree with this assertion? '...O sweet Juliet, Thy beauty hath made me effeminate And in my temper soften'd valour's steel.' It is said that Shakespeare created a masterpiece in the development of Juliet, who appears, at first, as being a sheltered, obedient, na�ve child; 'Madam, I am here, what Is your will?' - She addresses Lady Capulet, her mother, in such a manner. Needless to say, her delicate beauty and personal charms are amongst the finest in literature. Juliet is at an age on the edge between immaturity and maturity; almost 14. Indeed at that time many girls of her age would get married, as it seems did her mother. Despite this, Juliet sees it as 'An honour that (she) dream(s) not of.' Indeed, when Lady Capulet mentions Paris' interest in marrying young Juliet, Juliet retorts that she will 'look to like, if looking liking move,'; a dutiful, if not childish response, which signifies her immature conception of love. We can assume that she has no friends that are of her age, and is apparently uncomfortable when the topic of sex is discussed. When the Nurse rambles on about a sexual joke claiming that Juliet 'wilt fall backward when (she) ...read more.

Middle

She is classed as 'young baggage' and a 'disobedient wretch', and is threatened to be disinherited. The irony is that in her own mind she has already been exiled from her family when Romeo left Verona. Although she may have power over her mother, over Lord Capulet she evidently has little, if none altogether. Her decision to cut herself loose from her past social standing in order to attempt to reunite with Romeo by going through with what seems a mad plan concocted by Friar Laurence , shows the extent of her determination and also her powerful imagination. Nonetheless, at the start of her exceptional soliloquy she appears in control, even at that time: 'My dismal scene I needs must act alone. Come, vial.' Romeo's death is a much more immeasurable disaster for her than when he was banished; she doesn't then kill herself out of feminine failing, but rather out of an intensity of love, just as her love did. The fact Romeo had 'Drunk all, and left no friendly drop To help (her) after' her suicide actually requires a greater amount of bravery than his: for while he exclaims, 'Here's to my love!' and drinks poison, she stabs herself through the heart with his dagger: 'O happy dagger. This is thy sheath. There rust, and let me die.' ...read more.

Conclusion

In Juliet's tomb, he states that there 'Will (he) set up (his) everlasting rest And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars'. When Juliet rises, Romeo has already drunk the Apothecary's 'fatal' poison and Friar Laurence states that 'A greater power than (they) can contradict Hath thwarted (their) intents.' This can be interpreted to suggest that he speaks of fate. Juliet is powerful in the sense that she has great determination and intelligence to a ridiculous degree. Indeed her transition from an obedient girl, inexperienced in love, into a strong young woman whose love for a rash Montague 'is as boundless as the sea,' is quite remarkable. Unfortunately, her character isn't infallible and her flaws are somewhat dictated be fate, itself. In the end, it was the death of the two 'star-cross'd lovers' that ended the 'ancient grudge' of their parents but it was but, as the Prince points out, 'A glooming peace'. 'Fate' is arguable the most powerful character in the play. Their actions may have been preordained, but they were their own: '...fate can only take you so far, the rest is up to you.' They may not have realized the consequence of their love, but even if they did, they didn't heed it. Fate needs the action of its 'puppet' just like the puppet needs the puppeteer. One cannot exist without the other. However, fate had determined that neither of the lovers would obtain happiness during their lifetime, which displays true power indeed. ...read more.

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