November 1, 2011
Love in Excess: The Distress of Juliet
Juliet endures an enormous amount of suffering trying to please her loved ones in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Juliet is pressured by her parents to marry Paris and by the Friar to carry out his plan to help Juliet escape marrying Paris. She is anxious and terrified by the possibility that everything could all go wrong.
Juliet’s suffering caused by her parents is from the prospect of marrying Paris. Lord and Lady Capulet clearly want their one and only daughter, Juliet, to be married off to nobility, as they are one of the top two families in Verona, and Paris, to her parents, seems to be the perfect match for Juliet. After Tybalt’s death, Juliet’s parents want to make Juliet happy again. But Juliet’s unhappiness is not from Tybalt’s death, but from the prospect of marrying Paris! When she tells her father how she feels, he is extremely angry, saying, “Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!” (839). Juliet suffers because she wants to please her parents, but she does not want to marry Paris. Juliet also wants to please the Friar by carrying out the Friar’s plan to prevent her marriage to Paris. When the Friar gives Juliet a vial, telling her, “And this distilling liquor drink thou off” (848), Juliet is in distress about whether she should drink the mysterious liquid. Juliet feels that she can trust the friar, and wants to satisfy him, so she follows the plan. But when it is all over, the Friar, who Juliet thought she could trust, leaves her by her dead lover’s side. All of the suffering builds up inside her and she lets it out by committing suicide to be with Romeo. Shakespeare respects Juliet because she greatly cherishes the people she loves and will do anything to try to please them. However, he does not admire that she killed herself because of her eternal love for Romeo. Shakespeare is saddened by Juliet’s decision of suicide, as he writes: “For never was there...