Romeo and Juliet Writing Journal

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The story of Romeo and Juliet is set in 16th century Verona, the Elizabethan era. What was socially acceptable in this era was very different than present day, especially the role of women. In the 16th century, a female's parents or husband made all the decisions for them, they had to be very obedient to their husbands and male figures and their marriages were arranged. This is demonstrated in the play when Lady Capulet says to Juliet, "Speak briefly, can you like of Paris, love?" when Juliet had never even met Paris. (1:3:98) Her parents decided that Paris was a good match for her and arranged for them to marry without even discussing it with a Juliet. "Here comes your father. Tell him so yourself, and see how he will take it at your hands." (3:5:124-125) is another example of how women have no power in this era. When Juliet tells her mother she doesn't want to marry Paris, her mom has no power to say anything except see what your father says. Males are dominant in this time period making women be perceived as weak and powerless.

Juliet is faced with conflict when her parents declare that she will be marrying "the valiant Paris" (1:3:76). The date of the wedding was established after Romeo and Juliet were married in secrecy and it was immoral as well as illegal to be married to more than one spouse in Verona at the time. "An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend. An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets, For, by my soul, I’ll ne'er acknowledge thee, Nor what is mine shall never do thee good." (3:5:192-195) Capulet says to Juliet that if she decides to act like his daughter, he will let her marry Paris, but if she doesn't, she will be thrown out into the streets to beg, starve and die. She can't not marry Paris because she will be disowned by her parents but she also can't marry Paris because she is already married to Romeo. According to Juliet, "O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris, from off the battlements of yonder tower."...
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