‘What do we learn from Juliet’s relationship with her father? ’ 17. 03. 13 William Shakespeare’s, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ provides an insight of the experience of women in an Elizabethan society. The play was written in the late 1600’s, and is about two feuding families whose children fall in love. Their love leads to marriage, however, Juliet’s decision to marry Romeo was against her father’s will, this made life even harder for her, as in the 1600’s a women did not have the privilege to choose her husband. This decision was made by her father only.
Moreover, she was not allowed to refuse to get married as this meant being disowned by her family. This shows us the unjustness that occurred in the Elizabethan period. Therefore, this essay will be discussing ‘what we learn from Juliet’s relationship with her father? ’ At the beginning of the play, Paris asks lord Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage. However, lord Capulet replies ‘my child is yet a stranger in the world’. This shows us that lord Capulet does not agree with Paris and Juliet’s marriage, he has proven this to the audience by describing Juliet as a ‘stranger in the world’.
By using the word ‘child’ and ‘stranger’, lord Capulet is implying that his daughter is not mature enough and that she still hasn’t seen the world properly. Nonetheless, Paris replies ‘younger than she are happy mother’s made’. This shows us how desperate Paris is, in marrying Juliet. Not only that, but it is also demonstrating how Paris is trying to persuade lord Capulet by saying ‘younger than she’. This suggests the fact that Paris believes Juliet would make a good mother even though she is fourteen and that many girls ‘younger’ than her have been made ‘happy mothers’ too.
However, lord Capulet is not too keen on having his daughter married to Paris at such a young age. This shows us how protective he is of Juliet, which is why he invites Paris to his feast the following night, so he can ‘win her heart’. This shows us what a good father lord Capulet is, as he wants Juliet to be happy when married, which is why he wants her to choose her husband herself. This was a really uncommon act in the 1600’s as a woman was not allowed to make this decision herself. Despite the fact that lord Capulet was against Paris and Juliet’s marriage at the beginning, he soon changes his mind.
This is proven by the quote; ‘A ‘Thursday let it be- a ‘Thursday, tell her, she shall be married to this noble earl’. The reason towards lord Capulet’s haste was because he did not want his daughter to grief over Tybalts death. This shows us how much he cares for Juliet. In addition to this, lord Capulet believes that Juliet would accept this marriage, as he is all a girl can wish for; wealth and a high status. However, lord Capulet himself is nearly fifty years old while lady Capulet is in her thirties, so he has good reasons to thinking a young wife is trouble.
On the other hand, Juliet is his only surviving child, so when young Tybalt is killed unexpectedly in his duel with Romeo, lord Capulet remembers how easily young people die in medieval Verona - and decides that he wants Juliet to marry Paris as soon as possible. This shows us how Capulet’s concern towards Juliet’s future is overpowering his concern towards her feelings. In act 3 scene 5, lord Capulet approaches his daughter Juliet with the marriage proposal to Paris, through his wife. Lady Capulet enters Juliet room, and mistakes her tears for grief towards Tybalt.
She tells her to stop crying and that she is to marry Paris. Juliet’s response is that if she was to marry, it would be to Romeo, not Paris. However her mother then replies saying ‘here comes your father, tell him so yourself’, this shows us how Lady Capulet was insignificant compared to lord Capulet. They had to abide by lord Capulet rules and could not make any decisions by themselves. This is, again, an example of a women’s life in the Elizabethan era. When lord Capulet enters, he tells Juliet to calm down and stop crying so much, he also believed her tears were towards Tybalt.
However, he thinks that by telling her about her upcoming wedding, she would be happy and forget her sorrow, but he is mistaken; ‘Doth she not give us thanks? Is she not proud? Doth she not count her blessed, Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought so worthy a gentleman to be her bride? ’ this shows us how lord Capulet is disappointed at Juliet’s ingratitude. The phrase ‘is she not proud’ is implying the fact that a women had to depend on her husband’s wealth to stay alive. This is why lord Capulet went through a lot of hardship and ‘wrought’ her a ‘worthy gentlemen’.
This shows us that lord Capulet cares for his daughter even though his daughter is disobedient. He is surprised and fuming when he hears that she does not wish to marry him. He does not stop to ask for a reason but instead he lets out a flow of insulting, intimidating and unpleasant words. This can be proven by the line 161-164, ‘Hang the, young baggage! Disobedient wretch! I tell the what- get thee to church on Thursday Or never look me on the face. Speak not, reply not, do not answer me! ’ lord Capulet’s fury could have been triggered because he did not like it that Juliet was being obstinate.
Not only that, but in the 1600’s women were to be seen, not heard. The phrase ‘or never look me on the face’ could be referring to Juliet being disowned by her father. Capulet was threatening Juliet in this manner due to his outrage at her. This shows us that the relationship between Juliet and her father is getting weaker towards the end of the novel. Act 3 scene 5 is one of the few scenes where Romeo and Juliet are together. Not only that, but this scene is also a feature of tragedy. This can be proven by the line ‘O God, I have an ill-divining soul. Methinks I see thee now, thou art so low.
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb. Either my eyesight fails, or thou look’st pale. ’ From this we can infer that Romeo looks pale, Romeo responds to this by saying ‘and trusts me, love, in my eye so do you. Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu, adieu! ’ By the use of the phrase; ‘dry sorrow drinks our blood’, Romeo is signposting that their sadness takes away their colour. Shakespeare has used the word ‘drink’ instead of ‘take away’ as it is giving ‘sorrow’ human characteristics (personification). Romeo could also be implying that their families are ‘drinking’ their happiness.
Romeo and Juliet was first written as a morality tale to youngsters, demonstrating to them what the consequences of disobeying your parents are. However, modern society views it as a ‘romance novel’, where two star-crossed lovers death reconciles two feuding families. From the above it is apparent that at the beginning of the play, Juliet was more obedient and loyal towards her family, this however changes to her becoming disobedient and disloyal. The reason towards lord Capulet wanting Juliet married to Paris, was because he wanted to see her settled and married to a man he approved of and also to raise spirits after Tybalts death.
However, Juliet’s refusal was because, at the time, having two husbands was a disastrous act and lead to hell. Lord Capulet’s outrage at his daughter gave her no choice but to commit suicide. This shows us that lord Capulet did not allow his daughter to have a say in her marriage as he believed she was ‘ungrateful’ to everything he does for her. Juliet and her father have a relationship where the father is too protective of his daughter, whilst she is disobedient. This shows us that not allowing women to make their own decisions can lead to them doing it in secret and thus, causing a lot of problems as a result.