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Romeo and Juliet - Are Lord and Lady Capulet good parents?

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Romeo and Juliet - Are Lord and Lady Capulet good parents? Ideas of good parenting have dramatically changed from the 16th century to the 21st century. The ways in which Juliet acts and speaks through the play show us how the parent - child relationship worked in the 16th century. Juliet, at the beginning, is very obedient to her parents. She addresses her mother as 'Madam' (P63 Line 6), which is very formal. Today, we address our mothers as 'Mum'. 'Mother' would be the most formal word that we use today. 'Madam' implies a distance between them but also shows how Juliet thinks her mother as important to her. However, Juliet addresses her father as 'father', which would imply that he is closer to his daughter than his wife is. In Act 1 Scene 2, Lord Capulet has the interview with Paris where he asks for Juliet's hand in marriage. At first he refuses because he feels she would be "too soon married...she hath not yet seen the change of 14 years" (P57, Line 9). Capulet knows the age of his daughter whereas Lady Capulet had to ask the nurse, which again implies how Juliet is possibly closer to her father. He seems to be a generally easy-going man; but we know from Act 1 Scene 5 that Capulet can lose his temper very quickly when defied (here by Tybalt). ...read more.


We see the best upbringings as those where both parents are with the child to teach and support. However, in the 16th century, it would have been normal for aristocratic families like the Capulets to employ a nurse as a wet nurse. Some families continued to employ the nurse but others left. So, in their fashion, the Capulets are good parents.oweveHH But Juliet takes the example of none of the people who brought her up. When she falls in love with Romeo, she is following neither her mother nor the nurse's beliefs. Much of what she says contains sexual references. In Act 2 Scene 5, the nurse has anticipation for Juliet for the sexual pleasures of her wedding bed; "You shall bear the burden soon at night" (Line 75). Her mother, as already stated above, believes in marriage for security and wealth. Juliet is independent of both of these views and decides to marry for love. Her parents are totally unaware of her love for Romeo, so without asking, naturally assume that she mourns Tybalt's death. In Act 3 Scene 5, Lady Capulet pays an unaccustomed visit to Juliet in her bedroom, again showing her distance from her daughter. Instead of offering sympathy, Lady Capulet plainly tells her to stop her mourning: "Therefore have done; some grief shows much of love, But much of grief shows still some want of wit." ...read more.


Love is also a frequently mentioned word. Because of the language, we take the side of Romeo and Juliet and dislike the parents. In Act 4 scene 5, Juliet's parents seem to express their grief at Juliet's apparent death in a superficial way. Their pity is more for themselves than for their daughter: " Uncomfortable time, why cam'st thou now to murder, murder our solemnity?" (Lines 60/1) Nevertheless, in the final part of the play their grief appears more genuine as they realise what has happened: " O me, this sight of death is as a bell, that warns my old age to a sepulchre." (Lines 205/6) The final scene is a triumph of love over hate. The love of Romeo and Juliet has a fitting memorial in the reconciliation of their families. Parental love seems to win through, too. Their remarks, although brief, are full of love, grief, and guilt. I feel that Lord and Lady Capulet are good parents for the period in which they lived, in the way that they made sure she was well looked after, was taught good manors and courtesy, and in general, had a good upbringing. However, when Juliet decides to rebel, or not do what her parents want, they don't understand and refuse to listen to her views. They end up arguing and their only daughter dies, so they pay the price for not being good parents at this point, even though they think they are only doing what is best for her. ...read more.

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