Romeo and Juliet, a story of two lovers, was written by William Shakespeare between the years of 1594 and 1596. The basic plot of the play was discovered as early as 3 A. D. and Italian novelists of the 15th century gave it specific features and detail. The names of Capulet and Montague are indeed the historical names of two significant households in ancient Italy but the character names and attitudes are all fictional. The Italians stress that the story is indeed a factual tale and that places such as the Capulet tomb and the Balcony of Giulietta are the places where the tragic tale took place.
Juliet doesn’t appear in the play until act one scene three where her mother introduces the idea of marriage. This seems strange as she is the heroine of the play yet doesn’t appear for a while after most of the others characters (Romeo appears in mid scene of Act one Scene two). In this scene we see the strange, unfamiliar relationship shared between Juliet and her mother we can see this clearly when lady Capulet asks the nurse “thou knowst my daughters of a pretty age”.
This shows the distant relationship as lady Capulet has to inquire about her daughters’ age, the nurse replies that she can tell her age up until an hour, which reflects the closeness and familiarity between the Nurse and Juliet. We can also see the literal effect of this as the Nurse breast fed Juliet when she was new born and has been her carer almost ever since. Lady Capulet seems nervous to address the idea of marriage with her daughter. We see this as she asks the Nurse to leave her and Juliet as they must talk in private, but contradicts herself and calls the Nurse back again.
This shows that she feels uncomfortable being alone with Juliet and that possibly she doesn’t know how to address the subject with someone so close in blood but distant in companionship. For the majority of the scene Lady Capulet addresses Juliet through the nurse to discus the particular subject. The nurse is garrulous, she continually rambles; this shows how familiar she is with Juliet as she can ramble about Juliet’s past. She also speaks in a way of familiarity which proves quite rude and is unapproved by Lady Capulet and Juliet.
Juliet disagrees with her mothers’ idea of marriage, she says that she has not thought of the idea before but leaves us to think that there is still room for though this gives her the picture of a young girl, rather than a young women. In Act One Scene Five Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, he questions his presumed love for Rosaline and he says that “I ne’er saw true beauty till this night. He compares Juliet to “a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear” or a torch that burns brightly.
From the beginning of the sonnet (a poem which is self-contained, seems like it is almost occurring in brackets, they are oblivious to the world around them poem, can rhyme) he holds her hand, it’s almost immediate upon meeting and she doesn’t pull away this show their shared love. We can see that they are both wary of their feelings as they almost hide behind religion; Shakespeare uses this religious environment to show the significance of Romeos emotions. The religious approach shows sincerity, and formality of the occasion. Romeo says that to rid himself of his sin he must kiss her and she uses the same excuse to kiss him.
This event was rare in the specific era – to kiss someone upon meeting them for the first time was not etiquette ad by including this Shakespeare shows through drama the immediate emotions that hit them upon meeting. Immediately after the party Romeo leaves his friends, and climbs into the Capulet courtyard. His friends had been taunting him due to his feeling for Rosaline. They hadn’t yet realised that Romeo was no longer yearning for Rosaline, but for Juliet. He sees her through her window and over hears her soliloquy. A soliloquy is a powerful dramatic devise used to see within the characters mind.
During this Romeo and the audience discover that indeed she feels the same way about Romeo and she longs for him as much as he for her. We see the depth of their love through the similes Juliet uses to compare her love for Romeo; she says that “My love is as boundless as the sea”. This means that her love is endless and has no restrictions. Act two scene five and act three scene two are both parallel in content, in both Juliet awaits news from Romeo and in both dramatic irony (where the audience knows more than the characters in the play) is used for excitement in act two scene five and for tension in act three scene two.
Most of the play has revolved around the effects of dramatic irony and these two scenes are great examples of this. Both of the scenes prior to the scenes in question take place in the market place. Each time the market place has appeared in the play there has been confrontation between the Montague’s and the Capulet’s, it occurred in act one scene one, act two scene four and act three scene one. So you could say that it is expected that when each of the scenes preceding the two scenes in question occur in the market place there is conflict between the two households.
In both scenes Juliet opens with a soliloquy. In the first scene she discuses the nurse and how long it is taken her to retrieve the message from Romeo. During her soliloquy she use a lot of time related language. This shows Juliet’ eagerness to hear from Romeo through the type of language she uses for example she says that if only gods messengers could move as quickly as thoughts. It then continues and the Nurse returns but withholds information from Juliet on purpose to tease her.
Juliet quickly gets agitated by this and demands to know she says “Nurse, tell me” we can see from the rest of the phrase, that the sentence structure has been specially designed to show Juliet’s distress, it pauses and jerks to show the desperation in her voice. This can be particularly effective whilst being performed. The occurrences in this scene are mirrored in act three scene two as again the scene has the same form. It also begins with Juliet and a soliloquy, but she doesn’t await the Nurse now she is waiting for Romeo for its there wedding night and little does she know he has just been banished.
But again the Nurse arrives and brings news, but this time the information given isn’t precise, despite the fact that it’s not on purpose. The language used has changed from being jerky resembling agitation to containing many exclamations and questions showing her despair. She has misread the Nurses message and believes that Romeo has been killed – this also shows us the how much she adores him because of how upset she is. In act three scene five Romeo and Juliet say goodbye to each other.
Once Romeo has left Lady Capulet comes to Juliet’s room Juliet questions this and it seems like it’s an unusual occurrence in the Capulet house hold. This also shows the strange relationship they share as Lady Capulet must not often come to see Juliet in her room. Throughout the play Shakespeare has stressed in different ways the strong, familiar relationship between Juliet and the Nurse and the strained, tense relationship with Juliet and her mother. Throughout this scene we see the complete isolation of Juliet from her family.
The death of her cousin in act three scene one has bought strange ideas to the Capulet household. Before, Capulet was unwilling to force Juliet into marriage. He believed she was too young, he told Paris “let two more summers wither in their pride ere we may think her ripe to be a bride”. Paris wasn’t content with this and so Capulet agreed to allow Juliet to decide her suitor. We saw in act three scene four that Capulet had already agreed that Paris could marry Juliet this has completely contradicted his views from act one scene two.
Juliet is depressed her husband has just left her and she doesn’t know whether she will ever see him again. She begins to cry and becomes hysterical. Lady Capulet believes that it is because of the recent death of her cousin. Juliet speaks at cross-purposes with her mother for a while during this scene as it’s her only way of relieving herself from this burden that she has bottled up. When Lady Capulet tells Juliet of the “joyful tidings” she almost snaps and tells her her secret. She is angry and we can see this from the presumed aggressive tone conveyed from the text.
She says “I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear it shall be to Romeo” she quickly recovers and says “whom you no I hate” Lady Capulet seems so angered by this that she tells her to go and tell her father herself and soon after she leaves. This idea of cross-purposes also occurs with Juliet and the Nurse in Act Three Scene Two Now that Romeo and Lady Capulet are out of the picture Juliet tries to reason with her father but her seems to have his mind already made up. He says to her to prepare herself and go next Thursday or he “will drag thee on a hurdle thither”. He then begins to call her offensive names.
He “scolds” her and the Nurse steps in. The Capulet that we see here is not the same as the man that we saw in act one scene five who condemned violence between Tybalt and Romeo, yet act aggressive here with Juliet, the daughter he was so protective of and so willing to allow her to make her own decision. The last person available for Juliet to turn to is the Nurse. She asks the nurse for help and comfort a few times before the nurse begins. The Nurse gives a point of view that Juliet doesn’t want to hear. She says that she thinks that Juliet will be happier with Paris and so she curses her own heart by it.
When Juliet says “amen” she means let it be cursed and from this point on Juliet is left alone. Juliet reacts in different ways to her mother, father and Nurse. To her mother she is aggressive and forthright, to her father she shows fear and even begs him she says “I beseech you on my knees” and to the Nurse she shows little respect but less hostility. Juliet agrees to the marriage but secretly works out a plan with the friar. She must drink a potion which will allow her to appear dead before taking this potion Juliet say another soliloquy in which we see he deepest fears and thoughts of the friar and of the vault.
She begins in a rather calm manner but as she draws nearer to taking the potion she works up an excitement she begins to see things. She wonders whether the friar has tricked her or whether she won’t wake up, that she will awake the wrong time or that it will just not work at all. She fears of being alone in the vault and going crazy from the fear. By this time she has worked up such a frenzy she thinks that she has seen Tybalts ghost she screams “stay, Tybalt, stay! ” she believes he is out to seek revenge on Romeo and so she warns Romeo and in doing so “drinks to thee” and takes the potion.