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Using Act 3 Scene V as a Focus Examine The Role of Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Using Act 3 Scene V as a Focus Examine The Role of Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet In the early scenes Lord Capulet was shown as the head of his family and although elderly wanting to keep the feud between his family and the Montagues going. The prologue tells us that the feud was "an ancient grudge" but no one seemed to remember how the feud began. As a father, in Act 1 scene 2, he was initially unusually kind and understanding of the feelings of his daughter Juliet , but later in Act 3 scene V we see a different much tougher side to him when he insists his daughter obeys him or be disowned. This tough treatment of his daughter probably led to the tragedy of the play and the suicide of his daughter. Lord Capulet is from a noble household , rich and respected and his position in society explains some of his actions. We know he is elderly because his wife says in Act 1 scene 1 when he calls for a sword " a crutch, a crutch; why call you for a sword ?" This tells us that she is realistic about his age and health and knows he should not take part in a fight. As the speech was said in a mocking tone she was laughing at her husband rather than being frightened for him. The marriage is obviously not a love match and she probably finds being married to an older man unsatisfactory. Not only is Capulet's relationship with his wife distant, because she is much younger than him, less than thirty, which we know because she says in Act 1 scene 3 that she was younger than Juliet when she gave birth to her but they obviously do not discuss with each other their daughter's needs or feelings about their plans to marry her to Paris. ...read more.

Middle

He tells Paris he should "woo her ... get her heart" , for if Juliet fell in love with him and that would make life easier for everyone. The second piece of good advice was that he invites Paris to the masked ball he is giving that evening and tells him to look at all the ladies present and compare them to Juliet to make sure she is the person he wants to marry. In times when marriage was seen mainly as a financial contract to enhance a family's status this advice seems sentimental and very modern. Capulet's reasonable side is also shown at his masked ball in Act 1 scene 5 . Here he is a welcoming host even when his nephew Tybalt wants to throw Romeo out when he discovers he is a Montague and a gate crasher. Capulet tells Tybalt to "let him alone" alone as long as he causes no trouble. Capulet says that he'd heard that "Verona bragged of him to be a virtuous and well-governed youth". This shows that Capulet was capable of thinking that not all Montagues were bad people and should be killed. In his own home,Capulet, in contrast to Tybalt, is relaxed and doesn't want any trouble. Later, after the death of Tybalt he reverts more to the stereotype of the head of a household with complete power over his family, worried about what his contemporaries might think of him and little concern for the personal happiness of his daughter. In Act 3 scene 5 Capulet's attitude to his daughter is completely changed and although shocking to a modern audience it is more realistic behaviour for a father in those times. Having said in Act 1 scene 2 that "she is the hopeful lady of my earth" and precious to him and as his only living child after the "earth had swallowed all his hopes" he now says unless she does exactly as he says he will disown her completely. ...read more.

Conclusion

The ironic fact is that, unknown to Capulet, Juliet has already married Romeo and nothing her father says is going to make any difference. Although the audience know that Juliet has betrayed her family by her marriage to Romeo and there is no chance of her family ever accepting her actions there is still a sense of shock at the violence of the language Capulet uses on Juliet and the threats he makes. Lord Capulet's role in the play is a traditional one . He is male and head of his household and more important than any woman in his family. He has almost godlike powers over the members of his household. We see him in varied situations so Shakespeare allows us to see more of his character than we see of his wife. She might have given some help to Juliet by appealing to her husband to be kind to their only child but she has no sypathy with her daughter. She thinks that because she has suffered by having to marry too young her daughter should have the same unhappiness. It is a cruel way for a mother to behave. There is no evidence that Lord Capulet would have listened to his wife. There is a twist in this play because we know from the beginning what the outcome will be and nothing that Lord Capulet says can change this. On the other hand once Juliet had decided to marry an enemy of the family and a murderer she chose her own fate. However much Capulet was a loving father and even if he had wanted to forgive his daughter andaccept she had chosen her own husband he would have been unable to do this. The society that Capulet lived in would not have accepted such an outcome. Family pride and family honour, especially for men was the most important thing in their lives and came before even the happiness of a daughter. It was generally accepted that a daughter had to be obedient to her father's wishes or suffer the consequences. ...read more.

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