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What is the Role and the Function of the Character of the Nurse?

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Introduction

What is the Role and the Function of the Character of the Nurse? The Nurse is first introduced into the play in Act I Scene III. She is a trusted family servant to Lord Capulet in Verona and she maintains an active voice in their family affairs. The Nurse has been with the Capulet family for at least fourteen years, the entirety of Juliet's life. The Nurse had a daughter, Susan, born on the same exact day as Juliet. Susan died, and since her death the Nurse has taken care of Juliet and become more like a mother to her than Lady Capulet. From the beginning of the play it is clear that the Nurse is Juliet's equivalent of Romeo's Mercutio. Like Mercutio the Nurse does not change or develop however does supply a large amount of humour. Throughout the play, the Nurse is portrayed as a mother figure to Juliet. It is like Juliet is the Nurse's own daughter as she knows every detail of her life including her age and when she broke her brow - "I can tell her age unto the hour"(Act I Scene III Line 12). ...read more.

Middle

The Nurse's desire is simply to keep fourteen-year-old Juliet content. Her obstacle is her sense of duty to Lord and Lady Capulet, though this never seems to deter her actions. After Romeo is banished the relationship between the Nurse and Juliet changes. When the Nurse suggests that Juliet should forget about Romeo and marry Paris, she loses Juliet's trust and confidence. Juliet decides to seek the help of Friar Lawrence; thereafter she no longer involves the Nurse in her secret plans. Even though the Nurse knows everything about Juliet she does take a long time to get to the point even Juliet's age in Act I Scene III and also when she tells Romeo what she has come to speak to him about in Act II Scene V. This can be seen as a deliberate unwilfulness and the Nurse seems to have little regard to others feelings. The Nurse's garrulousness is a clear contrast to Juliet's unequivocal directness. Shakespeare makes the character of the Nurse like this for comedy, but also to lighten the tragedy. However, the Nurse's attitude to love contrasts with that of the hero and heroine. ...read more.

Conclusion

Normally, Juliet would agree however, in Act III Scene V Juliet does think the Nurse's idea of forgetting Romeo and marrying Paris is conformable which leaves Juliet to fend for herself. Similarly, unlike Juliet the Nurse changes her mind with rapidity. She supports Lady Capulet in praise to marry Paris ("Nay, he's a flower, in faith, a very flower") but then helps to arrange Juliet's and Romeo's wedding in Act II Scene IV. After Tybalts death, the Nurse agrees when Juliet raves against Romeo as deceitful- "There's no trust, No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured, All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers. Ah, where's my man? give me some aqua vitae: These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old. Shame come to Romeo" (Act III Scene II Lines 85-90) However after Juliet brings herself together, the Nurse commences with bringing Romeo to her. Shakespeare makes the Nurse do this to make Juliet feel that the Nurse is still on her side and will not desert her. "Hie to your chamber, I'll find Romeo to comfort you, I wot well where he is. Hark ye, your Romeo will be here at night I'll to him, he is hid at Lawrence' cell. ...read more.

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