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What Impact does Italy Being A Patriarchal Society have On The Characters Of Romeo And Juliet?

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Capulet:"Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch! I tell thee what, get thee to church a'Thursday, or never after look me in the face!" What Impact does Italy Being A Patriarchal Society have On The Characters Of Romeo And Juliet? Between 1591-1595 William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote the famous tragedy 'Romeo and Juliet'. The play involved some very advanced and intricate writing styles for its time. One of the most interesting parts of his play was the idea of the influence of a patriarchal society on the characters and indeed the story. In this essay I will endeavour to show how Italy being a patriarchal society, among other ideas, has the effect it does in the play. 'Romeo and Juliet' begins with a dispute between two families resulting in a fight that has to be broken up by the prince of Verona. He explains that if there are any more fights then they will be executed at once "If ever you disturb our streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace". Then the son of the head of the Montagues, Romeo, goes to the Capulet's ball with his friend Mercutio, and his cousin, Benvolio. Here he falls in love with the daughter of the Capulets "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." Then after a whirlwind romance they persuade Friar Lawrence to marry them in secret. However after Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, accidentally kills Mercutio, Romeo kills him and is banished from Verona by the Prince as a punishment. In the tradition of a patriarchal society, Capulet arranges a marriage between County Paris and his daughter Juliet. ...read more.


It even mentions he does not sleep first, that he just goes from Juliet's house to the Friar's cell. Romeo also says "Thou chid'st me oft for loving Rosaline." Chid'st basically means "told me off" so not only is the friar the father figure through Romeo's dependence on him but also he is the disciplinary figure in his life. The whole of this scene the Friar and Romeo speak in rhymes showing they also have a special link. For example, Friar Lawrence starts this interaction " Or if not so, then here I hit it right, Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night. ?? ROMEO That last is true; the sweeter rest was mine. ?? FRIAR LAURENCE ?God pardon sin! wast thou with Rosaline? ? ?ROMEO ?With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no; ? I have forgot that name, and that name's woe." ? This is also a technique that Shakespeare uses a lot in his plays, this writing device is where main characters when speaking about an important part of the play tell it in verse, whereas lesser characters only rhyme partly. In Act 3 scene 5, Juliet disobeys her father as he has arranged a marriage for her and she doesn't want to be wed (as she already has been). In this scene, it starts with Romeo climbing out of Juliet's window before her mother and father come in and express their joy at having arranged her marriage to Paris. Juliet then voices her sadness at this but in a certain way. She says "Not proud you have, but thankful you have: Proud I can never be of what I hate." ...read more.


So this shows that the patriarchal society has indoctrinated part of him but not all of him because he still feels the loss of Juliet. To conclude, Elizabethan Verona was a patriarchal society where women were traded for power and money through marriage. This is shown in the play when Capulet tries to marry Juliet off to the County Paris for status. It also shows Elizabethan marriage because she is only 13 years old and in normal society people could only marry when they were 18 or 16 with consent. Also illustrated in the play is the idea of total control by the males only because the Prince has the most power and Lord Montague and Lord Capulet follow him. These are all males that are heads of families, which is exactly what patriarchal societies are all about. Shakespeare shows us how th patriarchal society can work but how it can destroy the relationships of young couples and how in some severe cases it can make fathers force their children to go against the law of God E.G. you can only have one spouse. The play in it's entirety is the battle between traditional values and the emotional needs of real people. The line stating about fate is also, in my opinion, a reference to the patriarchal society, as it is like when Romeo says he is "Fortune's fool" it is as if he is saying that because he was born into this society, he was doomed to never receive what he wanted. It would always be up to his parents. However it contradicts slightly as both leaders put their families in danger as Capulet makes decisions, which cause his daughter to rebel and ultimately die whereas Montague makes his family fight and people die. ...read more.

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