In Romeo and Juliet, to what extent is the Nurse to blame for the tragedy?
In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse, by her thoughtless support of the affair between the lovers and fickle counsel, is partly to blame for the tragedy. However, it is not one factor alone that brings about the death of Romeo and Juliet, but a combination of significant actions and underlying forces.
In spite of this, is certain that the Nurse played a serious role in encouraging the lovers? relationship to blossom. Instead of advising Juliet on the dangers of a love that is ?too rash, too unadvis?d, to sudden?, she continues to place Romeo upon a pedestal, proclaiming his ?face be better than any man?s, his leg excels all men?s, his [body parts] are past compare?. Her haste for Juliet to ?hie hence to Friar Lawrence? cell?, and preparations for ?cords? to be brought for Romeo to ?convoy [to Juliet] in the secret night?, are gestures that illustrate her desire for their relationship to progress quickly. Therefore by offering her approval of Romeo, the Nurse inadvertedly strengthens Juliet?s devo...
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In the play, Romeo and Juliet, many characters were to blame and some to be pardoned. Friar Laurence and Lord Capulet were the most responsible for the problems Romeo and Juliet face. Where as the Nurse tried helping and did the what was best for the couple although it was not what Juliet wanted. The nurse did the most realistic mature thing by telling Juliet to simply marry Paris.
Nurse was a fickle character, her changeability was significant in partly causing Juliet’s pseudo death. Juliet confided in Nurse when she met Romeo. Nurse not only encouraged the marriage, but went as far as arranging it. However, when Capulet made plans for Juliet to marry Paris, Nurse told Juliet that Paris was better for her.
The Nurse was a go between the two lovers so therefore was helping and encouraging the relationship. The nurse however was very careful in her encouragement and made sure that it was as secretive as it could be ‘I am the drudge, and toil in your delight’ here the nurse feels that she is doing right by being Juliet’s messenger but as we learnt at the beginning of the play in the prologue the lovers will end in disaster. ‘a pair of star crossed lovers take their lives’ this provides dramatic irony as we are aware that once they in love it will end in disaster.
The theme that the best designs can go awry is evident in many societies throughout the ages. In Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse's actions exemplify this aphorism. She is cognizant of the draconian penalties that would befall the lovers if their forbidden love is uncovered. Because she loves Juliet and wants her to be happy, the Nurse decides to keep Romeo and Juliet's relationship a secret. By not informing Juliet's parents, the Nurse shows more fidelity to Juliet than to Lord and Lady Capulet. The Nurse’s assistance advances the lovers' relationship from an infatuation to a marriage, “I am the grudge, and toil in your delight;” (II. v. 75). Romeo and Juliet’s feelings for each other burgeon until the two become inseparable. Following Romeo's banishment and the announcement of Juliet and Paris's arranged marriage, Juliet seeks counsel from the Nurse as to what her next course of action should be. Benighted of the intensity of Juliet's feelings for Romeo, the Nurse tries to nullify Juliet's sadness by attempting to divert her...
The Nurse has a stronger relationship with Juliet over her own mother, Lady Capulet. The nurse really cares for Juliet and loves her like a daughter because she lost her daughter Susan. “Susan and she-God rest all Christian souls!-/Were of an age: well, Susan is with God…”(Ⅰ,ⅲ,20-21). The Nurse lost her daughter, Susan, and she was born on the same day as Juliet. This leads me to believe that the Nurse must be replacing her own loss with the life of Juliet. The Nurse did do many things that only mothers do. “She was wean’d,-I never shall forget it…”(Ⅰ,ⅲ,26). This quote says that the nurse will never forget the day that Juliet was weaned off of her breast milk. Breastfeeding is something
... marriage to Romeo). “Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’s cell; There stays a husband to make you a wife. [...] Hie you to church; I must another way, to fetch a ladder, by the which your love must climb a bird’s nest soon when it’s dark” (II. v. 69-77). Nurse is willing to go to certain extents to help Juliet because she is like a daughter to her. She brainstorms the plan so the two young lovers can be together. Also, her actions improve the tale overall. “This afternoon, sir? Well, she shall be there” (II. iv. 175). In a way, Nurse is Juliet’s ‘wing-man’. She helps her get the chance to be with her suitor, which is what the whole plot revolves around.
Juliet's nurse shows amazing concern for the young girl's well being. She, in some ways, takes the place of her natural mother ("Examples of Love in Romeo and Juliet"). Lady Capulet treated Juliet as a naïve young girl with no knowledge and feelings of her own. Nurse recognized the maturity of Juliet and helped to make her truly content. During the entire traumatic experience of arranging a marriage between Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, the nurse aided the two young lovers in their quest to be together. She acts as a messenger from Romeo, Juliet, and the friar ("Examples of Love in Romeo and Juliet"). Despite the nurse's efforts the plans go array because of the arranged marriage between Juliet and Paris. At this time, the nurse shows her love for Juliet once again. She goes to Juliet's defense and stands up to Lord Capulet by saying: "God in heaven bless her!/ You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so."(Act III, Scene 5, Line169-170). One is easily able to see the motherly care the nurse shows for Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.
The Nurse possesses many qualities. For example, she is very hearty towards Juliet, kind, protective, compassionate and a loving lady. In some parts of the play The Nurse can be long-winded, insensitive, arrogant, insecure and stupid at times but she loves Juliet very much, partially as she imagines that Juliet is a substitute for her own daughter Susan. She has a bawdy sense of humor, which brings out the naturalness of sex and childbearing. This is seen when she tells Juliet to look for love, - “Go girl, seek happy nights to happy days';. This displays a realistic attitude to love. Such bawdy realism is, like the ribaldry of Mercutio and company, a contrast with the tender, romantic and passionate feelings of Romeo and Juliet. The Nurse is a practical but rather stupid woman at times. She loves Juliet like her own child. Throughout the play The Nurse is very talkative. She will usually do what she believes is right or what Juliet wants, like secretly meeting with Romeo and arranging the wedding of Romeo and Juliet.
The Nurse was also responsible for the tragic ending of the play. When Romeo and Juliet met, the Nurse became their messenger. She helped them be together even though she knew Romeo was a Montague and that Juliet's family would disapprove. The Nurse brought news to Juliet from Romeo telling her to sneak out so they could get married. She helped Juliet get out of her house by bringing her a rope ladder to climb off her balcony with and telling her parents that she went to shrift. The Nurse kept Romeo and Juliet's marriage a secret from the families. When Juliet's parents said she should marry Paris, the Nurse agreed and said that Juliet should forget about Romeo because he was in Mantua. With the Nurse no longer on her side she had no one to help her and back her up but the Friar. In this way she had a large impact on the terrible ending of Romeo and Juliet.
The suicides of Romeo and Juliet reflect their hasty and impulsive decisions as well as the dishonesty of Friar Lawrence and the Nurse. Romeo’s haste in drinking the venomous poison, Friar’s cowardice in handling the consequences as well as the Nurse’s choice of standing against the relationship of Romeo and Juliet contribute equally to their fatal end. Therefore, dishonesty and haste can result in undesirable circumstances to any individual.
She arranges the wedding of Juliet, exiting the Capulet household to locate Romeo to inform him about “[proposing] to [Juliet], which [she thought was] the gentlemanly thing to do”. Now that the two ‘star-crossed’ lovers were married, their bond in the sense of love was absolutely unbreakable, introducing more unique actions they would commit simply to physically be near each other. She was constantly supportive of Juliet’s feelings and strived to “find Romeo To comfort [her]” whenever they were separated due to the town’s banishing of Romeo. Coordinating the unity of Romeo and Juliet under the circumstances of two families possessing an immortal hatred for each other wielded many risks and potential sacrifices for the Nurse. The risk resides within her efforts to support Juliet in pursuing a relationship with Romeo and the irony of the second quote. Her motive to find Romeo was simply for the sake of “comforting” Juliet, however taking the risk of having her cling to this long distant relationship resulted in an abundance of tragedies rather than the long awaited comfort. She risked her connection with the Capulet family, as well as her personal relationship with Juliet. Due to the Nurse, Juliet was submerged into an environment of a true ‘star-crossed’ love, causing her thoughts and emotions to be hindered by the influence of her new
The Nurse’s job is take care of Juliet and raise her; however, upon learning that Juliet is romantically involved with their family’s enemy, she doesn’t provide any form of counsel to Juliet.” I must another way, To fetch a ladder by the which your love Must climb a bird 's nest soon when its dark.” (2.5.77-79). The Nurse aides Romeo by telling him a way to Juliet’s room showing her approval of the relationship. She did not provide any form of counsel to Juliet or inform Capulet or Lady Capulet about Juliet’s relationship. Due to the fact that the Nurse does not do her job and doesn’t tell Juliet to end her relationship with Romeo, it caused this ill-fated relationship to continue. To add to the issue, the Nurse later betrays Juliet when Juliet begs her for help. “I think you are happy in this second match, For it excels your first, or, if it did not, Your first is dead, or 'twere as good he were, As living here and you no use of him.” (3.5.226-238). The Nurse goes against her previous actions and expects Juliet to forget about Romeo by dispraising him. Juliet wants to remain faithful to her husband and this betrayal along with Capulet’s ultimatum causes Juliet to act hastily and want to die if she wasn’t with
...give you happiness. This is also referring back to the Romeo and Juliet effect because the nurse wants Juliet to find someone else although this just makes Juliet like Romeo even more. Juliet took this advice by staying with Romeo that led to more conflict thus leading to Juliet’s death. Therefor, the nurse is once again responsible for Juliet’s death.