The Relationship Between Parents and Children Presented in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

The Relationship Between Parents and Children Presented in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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The Relationship Between Parents and Children Presented in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare. It is seen
as one of the most familiar of his plays. It is set in Verona, a city
in Rome.

The play is set around a set of two feuding families, the Montagues
and the Capulets. The cause of the feud is unknown, and doesn't become
clear throughout the play. Their hatred for each other however, is
strongly evident throughout the play.

The main characters, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, fall madly in
love with each other at first sight. As they are both young and
impressionable, they begin a passionate relationship, and agree to
secretly marry after only knowing each other less than two hours.

The scene I am focusing on, is the scene after they have just
consummated their marriage. Romeo has to leave abruptly, as his
banishment for killing Juliet's cousin is in force, and if he is
caught, he will be sentenced to death. Juliet apprehensively lets him
leave. Thinking that she will never see him again, she starts to cry.

This is when her mother, Lady Capulet enters. Juliet's relationship
with her mother is seen as quite formal. 'Who is't that calls? It is
my lady mother…Madam. This makes the relationship not as a mothers to
a daughter should be, as Juliet is calling her mother Lady, leading
the reader to believe she is not that close to her mother.

Lady Capulet then tries to console Juliet, as she thinks that she is
crying over the death of her cousin, and not of the separation of her
and her husband. 'Evermore weeping for your cousin's death?' She then
tries to make her stop by saying 'What, wilt thou wash him from his
grave with tears?' This shows that Lady Capulet could be slightly
impatient, and would like Juliet to stop crying.

Juliet is deceiving her mother, as she knows her mother thinks she is
crying over Tybalt. 'Feeling so the loss, I cannot but ever weep for

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the friend.' This statement could be taken in two ways; one is that
she truly is crying over Tybalt, and two is that she is saying her
true feelings about Romeo but her Mother doesn't know.

Lady Capulet then goes on to express the hatred she feels for Romeo
and the Montagues. 'That same villain Romeo…the traitor murderer
lives…we will have vengeance for it'. She then goes on to state that
she will send someone to Mantua (where Romeo is banished to) to kill
him. 'That he shall soon keep Tybalt company'.

Juliet then plays along with Lady Capulets hatred for Romeo. 'With
Romeo till I behold him-dead-is my poor heart so for a kinsmen'.
Juliet is trying to cover up her feelings for Romeo, and by saying
horrible things about Romeo shows her that she truly is crying over
her cousin's death. This in turn tells the reader that Juliet has not
and cannot tell her mother about her marriage to Romeo, as there is
clearly seething hatred towards him in her family.

But in doing this, she also gives her mother a tiny clue of how she
feels for him. 'O, how my heart abhors to hear him named and cannot
come to him'. In saying this, she is stating her true feelings for
Romeo, but as a double meaning. Perhaps this shows the reader of
Juliet's want to tell her mother, but that she cannot.

Lady Capulet then tries to cheer Juliet up by telling her of her
impending marriage to the eligible Paris. 'But now I'll tell thee
joyful tidings, girl'. The use of the word girl shows the
unfamiliarity of Lady Capulet and Juliet having these type of talks,
close and intimate. 'Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy…Marry my
child…the gallant, young, and noble gentleman The County Paris'. The
choice of words shows how Lady Capulet is trying to make out that
Paris is a fantastic, once in a life time opportunity for her
daughter. It is almost as if she is trying to make him sound so
fantastic that Juliet should be lucky to be marrying him.

Juliet then shows her despair at having heard the news, as only she
and the nurse know of her marriage to Romeo. 'He shall not make me
there a joyful bride!' She then goes to make excuses as to why she
should not marry him. 'I wonder at this haste, that I must wed…I will
not marry yet; and when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo, whom you know
I hate, rather than Paris.' She is stating that it is too soon for her
to marry anyone, let alone Paris, and by using the phrase about Romeo,
she is trying to shock her mother, by saying that she would rather
marry some one she supposedly hates than Paris.

She then goes on to ask her mother to tell her father for her. 'I pray
you to tell my lord and father.' This shows the reader of the
authority of Capulet over his daughter, as it shows that she is too
afraid herself to tell him that she does not want to marry the suitor
that he picked out. Lady Capulet refuses to tell Capulet. 'Tell him so
yourself, and see how he will take it at your hands'. This shows that
even his wife is afraid of telling him, so will put all of the
pressure on Juliet. Perhaps she does this to scare Juliet into backing
out of refusing the marriage, further more showing the authority
Capulet has over the family.

Capulet then enters, saying a long speech just to show how happy he
is. He then goes on to question Lady Capulet. 'How now, wife? Have you
delivered to her our decree?' The use of the word 'wife' shows how
impersonal their relationship is.

Lady Capulet informs her husband that Juliet is not willing to marry.
'…She will none, she gives you thanks.' Capulet then becomes furious
to learn about Juliet's reluctance in the matter. Lady Capulet: 'I
would the fool were married to her grave!' Capulet: 'Take me with you,
take me with you wife.' By doing this, they are trying to gang up on
Juliet by making her feel guilty. They are becoming a team, both
wanting her to marry Paris.

Capulet then goes on to continuously insult Juliet.
'Unworthy…disobedient wretch…you baggage.' He also goes as far as to
question her entire existence. 'Wife, we scarce thought us blest the
God had lent us but this only child'. By doing this, he is letting out
his anger over the fact she isn't going to marry Paris. He also tries
to include his wife, again trying to gang up against Juliet. Also, he
is being awful to her to try and make her change her mind, as he might
change his attitude if she changes her mind.

He also threatens to take on physical violence on her. 'My finger
itch'. He is threatening to unleash the anger he is feeling inside
towards Juliet.

He then goes to state that he will fully disown her. 'I will drag thee
on a hurdle hither…never look me in the face again.' He is trying to
guilt her into marrying Paris.

The nurse then gets involved. 'God in heaven bless her!' She is the
only one to come to Juliet's defence, showing her motherly instincts
towards her. 'You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so'. She is
saying its all Capulets fault, as Juliet is too young and vulnerable
to be married. This also backs up the motherly instincts, and shows
that Juliet is closer to the Nurse than she is to her own mother.

The Nurse and Capulet disagree, and Capulet stalks off, furious at
Juliet's refusal to marry.

Juliet then tries to make a last plea to her mother. 'O sweet
mother…delay this marriage for a month, a week.' She is trying to
sweet talk her mother, and is practically begging her to postpone the

She then goes on to threaten to take her life. 'Or if you do not, make
the bridal bed in that dim monument where Tybalt lies'. By making that
threat, she is hoping it will shock her mother, which goes to show how
desperate she is. Lady Capulet just dismisses her, and walks away.
'Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word do as thou wilt, for I have
done with thee'. This shows how little concern Lady Capulet has for
her daughter, and how little she cares for her.

The Nurse and Juliet then talk about what Juliet should do now. 'O
Nurse, how shall this be prevented?' By going to the Nurse for advice,
Juliet is showing the bond that they share is deep, as the Nurse is
only one of two people that know about Julie's marriage to Romeo.

Throughout the play, deception is a strong theme. Juliet's bond with
her parents is not strong, and this is shown by her dependence on the
Nurse, and by how little her parents understand her.

Romeo and Juliet is seen by all as a play of young, great love, and if
Julie's relationship with her parents had been that of a closer one,
perhaps the play would not have come to its tragic conclusion.
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