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With Particular Reference to Act Two, Scenes Four and Five of 'Romeo and Juliet', Discuss How Shakespeare Presents the Nurses Character to the Audience.

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Daisy Donald 11F With Particular Reference to Act Two, Scenes Four and Five of 'Romeo and Juliet', Discuss How Shakespeare Presents the Nurses Character to the Audience. In every good play, there must be a comical character. The Nurse is very good at playing this role in Romeo and Juliet. As the play is a romantic tragedy, it does need some humour, to 'lighten the air.' In the Heinemann Educational Books edition of Romeo and Juliet, there is a short description of the Nurse. It says 'The Nurse is the privileged old servant, devoted to Juliet, prompt to venture an opinion whether called for or not, to speak home truths to the master of the house, to help herself to food in the pantry and no doubt to aqua vitae as well, Her long garrulous account of Juliet's weaning is admirably and vividly authentic. It reveals her professional pride, her struggle to preserve the properties in the face of lapses which she excuses with 'God save the mark', her side-slipping into irrelevances, her complacent self-esteem yet occasional trite humility, and her relish for her late husband's course jest.' We first meet Nurse in Act One, Scene Three. Even, her first line gives us an idea of how nonsensical and coarse she is; 'Now by my maidenhood -at twelve year old-/ I bade her come.' (Lines 3-4). ...read more.


She also appears quite violent and rowdy in this scene, again giving her away for a servant, and not a fine lady, 'I'll take him down, / an 'a were lustier than he is, and twenty such Jacks' (lines 134-135). Again, as in previous scenes, Nurse is inappropriately crude 'O there is a nobleman in/ town, one Paris, that would fain lay knife aboard.' (Lines 181-182) However, in this scene, we do see that the Nurse does truly care for Juliet, and gives her word of warning to Romeo. 'But first let me tell ye, if ye/ should lead her in a fool's paradise, as they say, it were a very/ gross kind of behaviour, as they say; for the gentlewoman is/ young, and therefore if you should deal double with her, / truly it were an ill thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, / and very weak dealing.'(Lines 147-152) In the lines 179-186, the Nurse mainly spouts a load of nonsense. 'Doth not rosemary and Romeo begin/ both with a letter?' (Lines 185-186). She completely changes the subject halfway through her train of thought. This again may be a giveaway of her stupidity. This also shows the way her mind works. How she starts to talk about one thing, and then completely changes the subject. This is a common theme for Nurse throughout the play. ...read more.


(Lines 223-226) Even though she is trying to make Juliet feel better about Romeo's banishment, she somehow comes across as being completely unsympathetic. By suggesting that everything is fine, as she has a better 'back-up', she has made Juliet even more upset that she was before. This is shown when Juliet ironically says 'Well though hast comforted me marvellous much.' (Line 229) Here, I think the audience would feel sympathy for Juliet. She is obviously very upset, and the Nurse only appears to be making matters worse. Overall, I think that the Nurse was created as a character to influence an air of humour in the play. She is not put there to be liked, as she has a certain number of characteristics. But I feel that she could be many audience members favourite character. Being so crude and irritating, she is certainly funny, and it is humorous to watch the other characters reactions to her Daisy Donald 11F characteristics. She plays no major part in the plot of the story, except for occasionally causing more than necessary upset to Juliet. But, it is clear from the first time we meet her, that she does deeply love and care for Juliet, and its only her stupidity, not her will, to make Juliet upset. ...read more.

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