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The nurse is an extremely popular character with audiences of Romeo & Juliet how important is her role in the play in your opi

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Introduction

The nurse is an extremely popular character with audiences of Romeo & Juliet how important is her role in the play in your opinion? The nurse's role in 'Romeo and Juliet' is a vital one. Firstly, the nurse is a trusted servant to Juliet and will act as a help-mate so that Juliet can communicate with Romeo. Secondly the nurse is a character who understands Juliet very well indeed and has been with the Capulet family for at least fourteen years. When Juliet was born the nurse's function was as a 'wet-nurse', to give Juliet her own breast milk as wealthy ladies like Lady Capulet did not want to feed their own children. As the nurse had born a daughter, Susan, (who had died) it was possible to wet nurse Juliet, making the bond between nurse and child very strong. Shakespeare's audience would have enjoyed the nurse on stage because she adds vital comedy to a play which has a tragic ending. The audience has to try visualise the appearance of the nurse is which is an important factor in 'Romeo and Juliet', the way the audience will see her is large, that she waddles and she is seen on stage to be an immense character with vitality and bawdy humour. Shakespeare's audience would have enjoyed the rudeness and the laughter which Shakespeare creates in his character of the nurse. ...read more.

Middle

Her language is an important sign of her adoration for Juliet. 'My mistress is the sweetest Lady ... but she good soul.' Her words in praise of Romeo's love convey her closeness to Juliet and the audience will understand why she does not quite trust Romeo at this point in the play. Once more in act 2 scene 5 the audience would certainly enjoy the banter between the nurse and Juliet. However, the dramatic tension is shown by Juliet's language as she waits for the nurse's return and the message from Romeo. Juliet is almost cursing the nurse because she is old. 'But old folks - many feign as they were dead; unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.' Again her words are significant because they are stated in poetry and with the entrance of the nurse; Juliet is desperate for news of Romeo. At this point in the play, Shakespeare creates a further comic role for the nurse. The old nurse will not communicate with Juliet; she stops talking and begins to grumble. She says 'Do not see that I am out of breath?' her question is comically humorous because Juliet only wants news of Romeo. Now Shakespeare shows the nurse thoroughly enjoying herself by teasing Juliet. Again onstage, the audience would take delight in the performance of the nurse and once more Shakespeare is showing her importance of her role to the play, as she is not only the messenger but the comedy maker. ...read more.

Conclusion

The secrets the nurse holds will again be noted by the audience and they will understand the nurse's fear and sorrow now that Juliet is no longer around to give her a role in the Capulet household. The nurse may be terrified of discovery and also distraught at Juliet's death. I do feel therefore that the nurse is an extremely popular character with modern audiences and would have been very popular with Shakespearian audiences. Her role in 'Romeo and Juliet' is a varied one. Onstage in her comic pose, she will create a huge figure of fun with her sexual jokes, creating a humorous atmosphere for the audience. Yet, the nurse is used by Shakespeare as a contrast to the very dark and dramatic scenes in 'Romeo and Juliet' so that there will be some relief in this otherwise totally tragic play. Shakespeare's nurse carries the messages between Romeo and Juliet and faithfully creates a situation where the two lovers can be together. Juliet perhaps does not appreciate the love and loyalty of the nurse and may not understand how the nurse panics at the end of Act 4 Scene 5 because she wants the best solution to Juliet's troubles. I feel that without the nurse in 'Romeo and Juliet' the play would lack the intrigue, the information about Romeo and Juliet for the audience, the information regarding Juliet's younger days and the huge humorous character onstage who is Shakespeare's nurse. ...read more.

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