Examine how Shakespeare presents the treatment of Juliet by Romeo and Capulet

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Examine how Shakespeare presents the treatment of Juliet by Romeo and Capulet

Through the play, Juliet’s treatment by Romeo and father can be quite surprising and ambivalent. Shakespeare portrays this by the use of language and different actions they use towards Juliet.

Her father, Lord Capulet comes across as a considerate and concerned father. Shakespeare shows the audience this caring nature towards Juliet in the first act of the play.“ But woo her gentle Paris, get her heart”. You could say that Capulet is more or less giving Juliet a slight choice in what she does with her future, he tells Paris to win her love instead of giving Juliet no other options but to be married to him. He tells Paris that his consent ‘is but part’ of the arrangement. It is quite unusual that Capulet is considering Juliet’s feelings and caring for her so much and therefore it can be argued that his caplets treatment of Juliet is quite surprising for the Elizabethan audience as this was not expected from any father to care about their daughters, but for us as our society is much different today it is usual as it’s obvious paternal love expected from any father. It’s natural for a father to arrange a healthy and happy life for their daughter but not in the Elizabethan era.

Moreover, Lord Capulet treats Juliet as a possession. Shakespeare portrays this by the way Capulet discusses Juliet and first introduces her into the play.

“My child is yet a stranger in the world”- the use of the possessive pronoun ‘my’ indicates how Capulet sees Juliet; she belongs to him , this is typical for an Elizabethan father. Also the use of ‘yet’ suggests that he is aware of her innocence and inexperience. Additionally the word ‘stranger’ suggests that she is unaware of what the world, especially the world of marriage and a relationship is like. The idea of marriage was in the Elizabethan era and so fathers would not care very much for their daughter’s happiness or wellbeing as they are more like objects than family, but on the other hand Capulet’s treatment of Juliet is the complete opposite. We know that Paris is ‘a man of wax’ and that any girl should find herself lucky to be married to him. Yet, Capulet asks Paris to take his time with Juliet.

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Although Capulet treats Juliet as a possession, he also treats her with respect. This is shown by Capulet’s thoughtful and loving behaviour. “Earth hath swallow’d all my hopes but she”. Shakespeare personifies ‘swallow’d’ to state that life took his other children and buried them into the earth, but not Juliet and she is his only hope. As Juliet is his only child left, she is very precious to him and he is hesitant on loosing her. This gives us the view that Capulet is not too keen on Juliet getting married just yet as he thinks she is too ...

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