The Life Of Romeo And Juliets Juliet
Juliet is first introduced to us in Act 1 Scene 3, where we learn a
lot about Juliet’s character. We know she is a polite, obedient,
courteous and pure girl. We can see this in the line where she says:
“Madam, I am here. What is your will?” (Act 1 Scene 3 L78). This
shows that Juliet is a well-mannered girl because she addresses her
mother as Madam. This quote also shows Juliet as obedient and always
willing to help her mother because she says, “What is your will.”
This scene also tells us that Juliet is thirteen and has never
considered marriage. She is still pure and innocent. “It is an
honour I dream not of.” (Act 1 Scene 3 L66). From this scene we can
observe that Juliet has a more motherly bond with the nurse rather
than with her own mother. “Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.”
This example shows how well the nurse knows Juliet and is able to give
Juliet’s birthday in date and hour. Shakespeare shows us that Juliet
is still of the age where she does what her mother asks of her,
without question. In the same scene again she says “Well, think of
marriage now.” Which is a further indication Juliet is a dutiful
dependent girl, because she does what her mother says.
In Act 1 Scene 5 the first conversation between Romeo and Juliet is in
the form of a sonnet, a popular poetic form in Shakespeare’s time.
Romeo and Juliet take it in turns to speak; thus showing how in tune
they are with each other. A good example:
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
Act 1 Scene 5 L92
At the beginning of the love poem, Juliet and Romeo kiss. Romeo use
religious imagery to create an image of each other as a pilgrim in
front of a holy shrine (Juliet). Juliet also does this. This
metaphor holds many functions. Firstly, the use of religious language
to describe their feelings for each other associates her love with
Romeo with the divine and blasphemous. This makes the love pure. An example of this flirtatious, illicit language is after Romeo’s kiss
with Juliet when Juliet says:
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
Act 1 Scene 5 L107
In this instance Juliet says Romeo has taken all her sin and she wants
it back. This is the first real introduction to see how Shakespeare
changes Juliet’s character in the name of love. She changes from a
shy, coy young girl to a witty and romantic girl.
This paragraph is essential in showing Juliet’s love, passion, level
headiness and independence. In Act 2 Scene 2 we know Juliet has
fallen completely in love with Romeo. There are many ways in which
Shakespeare shows us how Juliet has changed since falling in love.
One example of this is in Act 2 Scene 2:
Deny the father, and refuse thy name.
Act 2 Scene 2 L34
Shakespeare shows us how serious and in love with Romeo, Juliet really
is. He shows us that Juliet would be willing to leave her 1. family to
be with Romeo. A vast change, from the Juliet, that use to be a very
obedient girl who relied upon her family. At the beginning of the
play before meeting Romeo, Juliet was a reserved girl but we see in
this scene she has changed, to a passionate, open-hearted woman. We
can see this in Act 2 Scene 2, where she says:
Of, if thou wilt,swear by the gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I’ll believe thee.
Act 2 Scene 2 L113-115
This shows that Juliet is trying to win Romeo’s heart by showing her
own. She is wearing her heart on her sleeve.
Another example of Juliet’s personality change is shown she compares
the love she and Romeo have to a flower, which develops more and
more. We can see this in Act 2 Scene 2 where she says:
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath
Act 2 Scene 2 L121
This is an example of Juliet’s personality change because in Act 1,
Romeo was the only one to use extended metaphors but now Juliet has
started to use them. Here Juliet herself is developing more and more
because she is using her own wit to describe her love for Romeo. This
shows a more mature Juliet. An additional character change
demonstrates by how level headed and independent Juliet has become.
After Romeo has proposed to Juliet she says:
It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden
Act 2 Scene 2 L118
By now Juliet has become a woman who now thinks carefully about the
decisions she has to make and thinks about the consequences of her
actions rather than allowing somebody else to make her decisions for
her. She now has a new-found independence; she has found love. In
Scene 2 Juliet has still not lost all of her previous character
qualities, for example she is still quite insecure.
This insecurity is evident when Juliet says,
“If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.”
Act 2 Scene 2 L94
which illustrates Juliet’s lack of confidence in Romeo’s love for
her. She needs to be able to trust him but does not have total trust
at this stage in their relationship.
By Scene 5 Shakespeare has transformed Juliet from a patient girl to
an impatient lover as she anxiously waits to hear Romeo’s plans of
marriage from the Nurse. As she waits the time drags and these words
betray her impatience:
Is three long hours, yet she is not come.
Act 2 Scene 5 L11
Juliet also uses personification in this scene. The personification
she uses reflects her sexual desire. We also see Juliet become more ill-mannered towards the nurse. We see this when she is waiting for
the nurse’s return, when Juliet impatiently exclaims:
“O, she is lame!”
Act 2 Scene 5 L4
Juliet is portrayed in this scene as a thwarted girl, who still
carries her childish immaturities:
Had she affections, and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball:
Act 2 Scene 5 L12
This quote shows Juliet’s immaturity in the form of selfishness. So
engulfed is she in this relationship she thinks about no-one else’s
feelings, except her own, thus she takes all her emotional problems
out on the nurse.
Here also, Shakespeare introduces a pun, shared by Juliet and her
Nurse in Act 2 Scene 5, lines 45-52, on the sounds “ay”, “I” and
“eye”. This adds to the confusion and eventually Julet relies on the
nurse to explain things clearly:
In Act 3 Scene 2 we see Juliet as a very anxious, confused and
besotted girl. Shakespeare presents Juliet in this condition:
Can heaven be so envious?
Act 3 Scene 2 L40
The question serves to illustrate Juliet’s concern that heaven has
been spiteful and taken away her Romeo. Shakespeare introduces a
confused Juliet. After the news of Tybalt’s death she doesn’t know
what to think. Her first reaction is to use emotive language, as in
Act 3 Scene 2:
Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical
Act 3 Scene 2 L75
This is when Juliet has discovered her cousin Tybalt has been killed
by her love, Romeo. She is overcome by anger towards Romeo but her love for Romeo still surmounts her as well. In this paragraph
Shakespeare suggests that Juliet has transformed from a young girl who
does not think for herself to a woman of character and depth. As the
following quote from Act 3 Scene 2 demonstrates:
O, find him! Give this ring to my true knight.
And bid him come to take his last farewell.
Act 3 Scene 2 L141-142
This is at the end of Act 3 Scene 2 where Juliet apologises to Romeo
for doubting him and tries to justify his actions to herself. She
concludes that Tybalt would most probably have killed Romeo, if given
the chance, so it was better that Romeo struck first. By now
Shakespeare has changed Juliet from a young girl, to a woman of grace
and one who is able to forgive. He has made her a woman of depth who
can think beyond the emotional problems she is faced with. In this
scene Shakespeare uses the technique of personification. A good
example is: “Come, night” – Act 3 Scene 2 L17. Juliet speaks to the
night as a person: this allows Shakespeare to show her impatience for
Romeo’s return. She tells the night to hurry-up which is a command;
an order and suggests that her love for Romeo is driving her
impulses. Shakespeare uses imperatives to show Juliet’s impatience:
Ah me! what news? Why dost thou wring thy hands?
This example shows the way in which Shakespeare uses imperatives to
show Juliet’s impatience because the first thing Juliet demands is
what news and the second thing is another question. The use of the
exclamation mark heightens Juliet’s impatience.
This last paragraph shows Juliet make the decision to break away from
her family. In this scene Juliet changes completely. By working
independently to resolve her problems, she alienates herself.
Shakespeare changes her from a dutiful shy girl to a no longer placid
or obedient and subservient woman. In Act 3 Scene 5, Juliet asks her
mother to delay her marriage to Paris, but her mother just brushes her
off and leaves. So Juliet then turns to the Nurse. Unfortunately for
Juliet her close friend the Nurse tells Juliet to forget about Romeo
and marry Paris. At first Juliet can’t believe what the Nurse says.
She asks her to “Speak’st thou from thy heart” Act 3 Scene 5 L227.
When the Nurse replies”yes” Juliet withdraws into herself. Juliet becomes rebellious. After the nurse leaves Juliet says what she
really means. She curse the nurse for what she said and declares that
their close relationship is over. “Thou and my bosom henceforth shall
be twain” Act 3 Scene 5 L239. Juliet says the Nurse won’t be her
confidant any more. She decides she has to leave her family to get
what the really wants from life.
From Act 1 Scene 3 to Act 3 Scene 5 we can see the transformation of
Juliet from a somewhat immature subservient and obedient young girl to
a more confident, assertive, mature, witty and romantic young woman.
Such change as brought about by her love for Romeo.
Juliet’s character develops from girlish immaturity by an awakening
and heightening of her senses, sharpened by the potency of her love
for Romeo. This love generates an increasing commitment and eventual
dedication to the object of her love and affection. Her shifting
allegiance from family to lover releases her maturity and from that,
she derives a new-found strength of character and broader perspective,
all of which assists in allowing Juliet to overcome the adversities
she finds in allowing full expression of her love. The metamorphosis