Romeo And Juliet Gender Essay

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The societal roles and expectations forced upon Juliet regarding her identity impact her actions and decisions. Juliet’s expected contributions to society are based on her gender, her age, and her family name.

Considerable expectations are placed on Juliet due to her gender. As a female, Juliet is expected to marry the man of her family’s choosing, granting her no control over her future. Capulet and County Paris discuss whether Juliet is fit to be a bride. Although age plays a factor in this decision, Capulet is deciding his daughter’s fate based on the expected gender roles of her being the sole female daughter of the family, “ She hath not seen the change of fourteen years;/Let two more summers wither in their pride/ Ere we
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It is expected of her to do as her father declares, as the good obedient daughter she is. In this day in age, it was unheard of for the woman to choose the man they wanted to marry. These strict gender roles inhibit Juliet from choosing her own path, and holds an influence in her rebellion against her family. Juliet understands what is unfairly expected of her as a female, but continues to fight a losing battle of breaking free from those stereotypical duties. In a conversation with her mother, she inquires what Juliet’s position is on marriage, “Lady Capulet: Tell me, daughter Juliet,/How stands your disposition to be married? Juliet: It is an honour that I dream not of” (I.iii.64-66). This is one of the first and only times where anyone considered that Juliet may have a say in signing away her future. Perhaps it is Lady Capulet who asks as she too was expected to marry at a young age, so she can best understand what Juliet is going through and the pressures put on her. Juliet realizes that an arranged marriage into a good family is an honour, but it does not seem to be something that she is looking for in life. She does not want to marry a man simply because it is expected of her. Later in the play, Juliet is the…show more content…
Juliet’s age is associated with when she is expected to become a mother. Paris is talking with Capulet, and says that Juliet’s age should not stop her father marrying her off, “Younger than she are happy mothers made” (1.2.12). Paris' argument to not wait for his and Juliet’s marriage is that there are many girls who are even younger than Juliet who are married and have already started a family. Juliet’s age puts her in a place where she is expected to contribute a child. This may be why she was in such a rush to get married to Romeo. Marriage of her choosing to Romeo prevents the marriage against her will to Paris. The influence placed on Juliet by her family is itself shaped by expectations of Juliet’s age group. When Juliet tells her father she does not wish to marry Paris, her father replies harshly commenting on her reasoning being due to her age, “A whining mammot, in her fortune’s tender/To answer I’ll not wed, I cannot love,/I am too young, I pray you pardon me” (3.5.185-187). Juliet’s father lacks empathy for Juliet’s position, and so continues to hold the high expectations that are required of her because of her age. Juliet never told her father she would not wed because of her age or her inability to love, so perhaps her father is projecting his guilt as he knows it is unreasonable to expect marriage and children from her
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