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Romeo and Juliet Essay

In the beginning of the play Juliet is like any other young, naive, girl in the Elizabethan times, who were not given much freedom, independence and were not treated with much respect. In the Elizabethan times Young middle class girls were married of at the age of fourteen and they were expected to be obedient and shy by the society, back then status, honour, and pride meant a lot to rich families such as the Capulets and Montagues, and marrying a mortal enemy was completely disgraceful even if it was for your child’s happiness.

Parents were more concerned about their pride and honour rather than the happiness of their children. Wealthy families such as the Capulets and Montagues had to worry a lot about what the society thought of them and had to keep a good reputation for the eyes of the society. Honour was the most important thing to them. In the play Juliet is of an age that stands on the border between immaturity and maturity.

At the beginning of the play Shakespeare portraits her character to be merely an obedient, insecure, sheltered, naie child who would leave all her life decisions up to her parents. ”I’ll look to like, if looking liking move (… ) than your consent gives strength to make it fly” Here Juliet says she will not even fall in love without her mother’s consent, this proves how much she listens to her mother and values her beliefs and commands. Though many girls Juliet’s age, including her mother got married at a very young age, Juliet has not given the subject of love and marriage any thought.

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When Lady Capulet mentions Paris’s interest in marrying Juliet, Juliet unquestioningly responds that she will try to see if she can love him, a response that seems childish in its obedience and immature in the conception of love. ”I’ll look to like, if looking liking moving” In addition, even in Juliet’s dutiful acceptance to try to love Paris, there is some seed of strong determination. Juliet promises to consider Paris as a possible husband to the precise degree her mother desires. While an impression of obedience, such a statement can also be read as a refusal through passivity.

Juliet will agree to her mother’s wishes, but she will not go out of her way to fall in love with Paris. Juliet is not to romantic and inexperienced at first when her mother asks her about love in Act 1 Scene 3, she responds by saying ”It is an honour that I dream not of” This shows Juliet’s state of mind and outlook towards the issue of marriage, by this she does not seem like a girl who is interested in love. She isn’t like any other fourteen year old girl who is in search to meet the love of her life, in fact by her speech and tone she does not seem to bother about her marriage.

However in Act 1 Scene 5 when she meets Romeo for the first time this propels her full-force towards adulthood, this is obvious because when she meets Romeo and he flirts with her she flirts back after they kiss she says ”then have my lips the sin that they have took” She is hinting for another kiss and then they kiss again and then she compliments his style of kissing by saying ”you kiss by th’book”. In this scene her character changes completely romantic which creates a romantic mood from the previous scenes and she is also calling Romeo a good kisses.

As she is very excited to know who Romeo is she says to the Nurse ”go ask his name; if he be married my grave is like to be my wedding bed. ” These lines shows Juliet’s romantic side and urge to find out who Romeo is, as she is saying she would rather die than marry anyone else, this was not expected by how the audience saw her before in the play, this surprises the audience because Juliet does not seem romantic but seems very hard to get or woo by any man.

Juliet’s feelings towards Romeo do not change even when she finds out that he’s a Montague ‘My only love sprung from my only hate! (… )That I must love a loathed enemy” even after reality of her one and only love hits Juliet her feelings still remain the same towards Romeo which is unexpected because Juliet does not seem like the type of girl who falls in to the trap of love. In Act 3 Scene 2, as Juliet speaks to herself, she has become more romantic which is obvious through her speech.

All she could think about Is Romeo and how he would come, ”Leap to these arms, untalk’d of and unseen (… if love be blind, It best agrees with night” These lines show that she just wants to be with Romeo and spend the night with her one and only love. In Act 3 Scene 2 you can see that Juliet’s character is more defensive, mature and confident bearing in mind that women were not equal to men. She is also a girl from an aristocratic family, she has none of the freedom Romeo has, such as roaming around the city, climbing over walls in the middle of the night, or get into swordfights, and even so she shows amazing trust in Romeo with her life and future.

The closest person to Juliet is the Nurse and Juliet is willing to remove the Nurse from her life, the moment the Nurse turns against Romeo, especially when the nurse calls Romeo shameful for murdering Tybalt, Juliet gets furious and feels offended by this and shouts at the Nurse and goes against her ”Blister’d be thy tongue for such a wish! He was not born to shame (… ) O, what a beast was I to chide at him! ” She also calls herself a beast to be angry with him, and feels bad. This shows how much she is in love with Romeo and also shows that she is defensive if anything was to be said against her husband.

Her behaviour towards the nurse is immensely different from the previous scenes. Juliet also speaks her mind more and is very expressive of what she thinks, at first when spoken about love in Act 1 Scene 3 she would give short responses such as ”It is an honour I dream not of” Juliet’s character in this scene is not very easy to understand, the audience do not see her inner feelings and true emotions towards the issue of love and marriage and it is left as a mystery because she does not speak her mind. Nevertheless in Act 3 Scene 2 she speaks a lot, in this scene Juliet speaks to the audience in a soliloquy.

Her language is very expressive when she assumes that Romeo is dead. ”can heaven be so envious” This shows her strong feelings towards Romeo, she expresses her feelings very freely, and is not in fear of anyone, ”Give me my Romeo; and when I shall die (… ) he will make the face of heaven so fine” She’s very expressive of her thoughts and feelings and her tone sounds very romantic. At first Juliet is a sure, certain person who knows what she wants, and she is very straight forward with Romeo. In Act 2 Scene 2 she says to Romeo ”to cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief”

She is telling Romeo not to play games with her, and she wants a committed serious relationship and if Romeo can’t offer that he should leave her. Here Juliet’s character is very certain of what she wants, though profoundly in love with Romeo, Juliet is able to see and criticize Romeo’s rash decisions and his tendency to romanticize things, she still thinks and considers about Romeo’s commitment towards her.

Later on in Act 3 Scene 2 she seems very confused and troubled after the death of Tybalt. ”Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband? ‘ She does not know how to feel this may be because of the shock or Romeo’s banishment and Tybalt’s death, she does not seem to be aware of reality. After Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished, Juliet does not follow him blindly.

She makes a logical and heartfelt decision that her loyalty and love for Romeo must be her guiding priorities Another thing which changes about Juliet is her patience and wanting to take things slow and easy for the betterment of her and Romeo’s relationship in Act 2 Scene 2 she tells Romeo to take things more slowly ‘It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden” This shows that she’s nervous and in a trap of confusion therefore wants to take things slower and wants Romeo to be more patient.

However Juliet’s character changes into a very impatient person in Act 3 Scene 2 as she can’t wait to meet Romeo ”bring in cloudy night immediately. Spread thy close curtain, love performing night” Here she does not seem nervous at all, and she knows what she wants and it is obvious that she is definitely very impatient to meet Romeo.

So basically Juliet’s character changes in many various ways. She becomes more experienced because at first she was inexperienced. After meeting Romeo her character changes romantic and from a little girl to an independent woman, Romeo’s love was what bought her to such independence and also the tragedy of her cousin’s death. By the end of the play Juliet’s character is full of confidence and she is expressive of her thoughts, and she values love and marriage more.

Shakespeare shows this maturation directly after Juliet’s wedding night, as she faces a sexual experience, at first Juliet seems to have no friends her own age, and she is not comfortable talking about sex, as seen in her discomfort when the Nurse goes on and on about a sexual joke at Juliet’s expense in Act 1 Scene 3. Having a husband makes her feel more confident and mature as she is in a relationship. She is more independent in a sense that she makes her own decisions and her parents can’t make her do as they wish anymore.

Later on in the play when Juliet wakes in the tomb to find Romeo dead, she does not commit suicide out of feminine weakness, but more out of an intensity of love, just as Romeo did, when he assumed she was dead. Juliet’s suicide truly required more courage than Romeo’s: while he swallows poison, she stabs herself through the heart with a dagger. Juliet’s development from an insecure young girl into a self-assured, dedicated, and capable woman is one of Shakespeare’s early triumphs of characterization.

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