Lord Capulet in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Lord Capulet in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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In the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare Lord Capulet is a very prominent character. He is wealthy and a leader in his community. He is a very loving father to his daughter Juliet, he is a very contradictory person, and he trusts everyone to do as they are told and to act appropriately.

Lord Capulet is a loving father who deeply cares for Juliet. When he arranges the marriage between her and Paris, he is just trying to do what he feels is best for her. He knows Paris, being handsome and rich, will make a good husband to Juliet. When she refuses to marry Paris he goes into a violent rage, saying things he doesn’t mean. “Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch! / I tell thee what: get thee to church o’Thursday, / Or never after look me in the face.”(3.5.166-168). He feels that the marriage of the two will be beneficial for Juliet and he loves her so much that he doesn’t mean to hurt her feelings. When Juliet “dies” he laments. “Despised, distressed, hated, martyred, killed! / Uncomfortable time, why cam’st thou now/ To murder, murder our solemnity? / O child! O child! My soul and not my child! / Dead art thou! Alack, my child is dead, / And with my child my joys are buried.” (4.5.65-70). He cries out in a pain and anguish for his lost daughter Juliet. By showing emotion on account of her death and for her disobedience, Capulet shows that he really does care for Juliet and that he is a good father, wanting the best for her.

Lord Capulet is a very trusting. He trusts Paris with his daughter, knowing that he would be a good husband to her. “Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender / Of my child’s love. I think she will be ruled / In all respects by me. Nay, more, I doubt it not-“ (3.5.13-15). He believes that Paris will keep his word and love Juliet. After the death of Tybalt, he is sorrowful, and I think that is one of the reasons he trusts that Juliet will agree with this marriage. When Romeo, at the beginning of the play, shows up at the Capulet party, Tybalt is angered. He tells Capulet that he would kill Romeo if he had his permission. Even though Romeo was of the Montague family, he still trusted him not to do anything bad at the party.

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“Content thee, gentle coz. Let him alone. / He bears him like a portly gentleman / And, to say truth, Verona brags of him / To be a virtuous and well-governed youth. / I would not for the wealth of all this town / Here in my house do him disparagement.” (1.5.74-79). He knows that Romeo will do nothing to ruin the party so he tells Tybalt to let him be and to ignore his existence. He trusts people will do the right thing and that being the right thing is what he wants them to do.

Lord Capulet is a contradictory person, meaning he has many opposing qualities in his personality. He is a mellow man, yet when he is provoked he can be very angry. At the masque he is very happy and mirthful. “Welcome gentlemen. I have seen the day / That I have worn a visor and could tell / A whispering tale in a fair lady’s ear, / … A hall, a hall, give room! – And foot it, girls.- / More light you knaves and turn the tables up,” (1.5.25-32). He is provoked by the disobedience of Juliet, in her not agreeing to marry Paris. He yells and throws a huge fit. He also wants to fight with the Montagues, but he also wants to keep peace with them. At the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, a street fight breaks out when the servants of the opposing families start to quarrel. Capulet comes running in shouting:

Capulet. “What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!”
Lady Capulet. A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?
Capulet. My sword, I say. Old Montague is come
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.” (1.1.76-80).

He wants to fight, yet later in the play, after the fight on the street he says, “But Montague is bound as well as I, / In penalty alike, and ‘tis not hard, I think. / For men so old as we to keep the peace.” (1.2.1-3). He says there that it will not be hard to keep the peace, so meaning he will keep the peace between his family and the others. Another example of him being peaceful in the play is when Juliet and Romeo really do die:

Capulet. “O brother Montague, give me thy hand.
      This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more
      Can I demand.
Montague. But I can give thee more,
      For I will ray her statue in pure gold,
      That while Verona by that name is known,
      There shall no figure at such rate be set
      As that of true and faithful Juliet.
Capulet. As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady’s lie,
      Poor sacrifices of our enemy.” (5.3.306-315).

It took such a loss for him to be peaceful. Lord Capulet has many contradictory aspects in his personality.

Lord Capulet is a very important character in Romeo and Juliet. He plays the loving father, obedient citizen, mirthful friend, and the grieving family member. In all of these roles his different personality traits come out. His lovingness for his daughter and his trusting the other characters in the play are proof that he is a good man all in all.

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. New York; Washington Square Press, 1992
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