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Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare make the audience feel sorry for Juliet in the second part of Act 3, Scene 5? At the beginning of Act three, scene 5, Romeo and Juliet have just spent their first night together. Romeo has to leave for Mantua, because it's morning and if he was found in Verona he would be killed. Juliet, though she doesn't want him to leave, says goodbye to Romeo and is left feeling unhappy. Her father, thinking she is still mourning her cousin Tybalt's death, announces that he is moving her marriage to Paris forward. He expects her to be happier because of this, however when Juliet refuses the marriage, he loses his temper and threatens to throw her out. At the end of the scene Juliet is left with a dilemma, whether she should stay faithful to Romeo and het thrown out of her home, or follow her father's wishes and marry Paris, betraying Romeo in the process. Shakespeare uses contrasting atmospheres for the two halves of the scene. In the first half of the scene, having spent her first night with Romeo, Juliet is content and happy. She doesn't want Romeo to leave her as shown in the line, "It was the nightingale and not the lark." This shows her desire for Romeo to stay, she is so desperate for him not to go that she lies and tries to convince him it is still night time. In the first half of the scene, Juliet feels wanted and loved by Romeo, shown when he says, "Come death, and welcome. Juliet wills it so." He is prepared to risk being caught and put to death by staying with Juliet as she wishes. Even though Juliet would feel frightened that Romeo wanted to put himself in danger, she would be happy that he loved her so much that he would be willing to die for her. ...read more.

Middle

One other language technique Shakespeare uses to create sympathy for Juliet is when Capulet uses a metaphor comparing Juliet to an animal when he says, "Graze where you will." Capulet comparing Juliet to an animal makes the audience feel sorry for her because he is insulting Juliet, making it clear he sees her as less than human. Shakespeare could have also used this to represent the status of Juliet. This is because animals cannot speak and neither can Juliet in the way that she has to do what her parents tell her to and be respectful and docile to them, a bit like a farm animal. Shakespeare is using Capulet's line to emphasise that Juliet's society prevents her from independently making certain decisions, she cannot choose who she wants to marry. This would make the audience feel sympathy for Juliet because she is similar to a farm animal in the way that her father is making decisions about what is essentially her future but she can't speak up without being punished. Nevertheless, a Shakespearean audience would not be against Capulet saying such things, since in Elizabethan society, women were seen as the property of men and men were free to do with them what they chose. One final way Capulet's behaviour makes the audience feel sorry for Juliet, is his use of threatening language. He says "My fingers itch." meaning he really feels like hitting his daughter at that moment. This would make Juliet feel scared and the audience frightened for her. A modern audience would feel the most pity for her because a modern society doesn't tolerate abuse and many people would see hitting a child as going too far. On the other hand, a Shakespearean audience would feel more sympathy towards Capulet because in their time punishing a child for obedience by hitting them would have been seen as normal and acceptable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Juliet being left alone and isolated on the stage at the end creates sympathy from the audience because she has been let down by everyone she has turned to. Her father ignored her pleas even when she lowered her pride by falling in front of him. Her mother said she didn't want anything more to do with her, and the nurse, who Juliet was much closer than with her parents, disappointed her by supporting the marriage. The audience would also feel sorry Juliet as her parents don't know about the dilemma they have created for her. The nurse, if she does know of the dilemma, chooses to ignore it and acts like the decision is simple and straightforward when Juliet doesn't see it that way. The scene overall would leave the audience feeling a variety of emotions about Juliet and other characters present in the scene. Firstly, they would feel sympathy for Juliet because the whole scene has been full of bad events, from Romeo leaving since he was banished, to her facing homelessness if she did not marry. The person she had trusted the most, the nurse, has also let her down. They would also feel frustrated at Capulet and his wife for trying to force into a marriage she clearly does not want. They would also feel this because people in modern society are encouraged more to marry fro love and arranged marriages are generally frowned upon in modern England. However, an audience in Shakespeare's day may feel much less sympathy for Juliet than a modern one would. This is because they would think Juliet was being ungrateful for refusing the marriage, as Capulet says, "My care hath been to have her matched," which implies that he has spent a long time finding her a suitable husband. They would think Juliet not wanting to marry as being extremely inconsiderate to her father, who cared for her enough for him not to choose just any man. Nonetheless, a modern audience and an Elizabethan audience would feel some pity for Juliet being essentially forced by her parents to betray Romeo. ...read more.

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