Juliet’s and Capulet’s Relationship
During the Elizabethan period, it was a patriarchal society where men were considered the stronger sex and women were subordinate to men. Women had no voice in society; therefore their decisions weren’t accounted for. The only control a woman had over her life was if she were to commit suicide. Men decided whom the woman should marry and woman had to obey their father’s or any other man’s wishes. In Romeo and Juliet, Capulet controls Juliet’s life, but what makes it easier is that Juliet is still a child so she could be easily influenced. Women who refused to marry would be disowned and stripped of her status. Despite Romeo and Juliet being set during the Elizabethan period when men were the dominative sex. Shakespeare had decided to make a decision that would have a powerful effect on the audience. He has given Juliet a conscience to think for herself, a voice and a strong will to endure all the suffering she will undergo. This proves that Juliet was the strongest out of her and Romeo despite her gender. Romeo has proven to be weak and crack under pressure. Juliet’s defiance was a huge step forward for the female sex, giving them an opinion besides that of their father. Shakespeare’s decision was a huge statement to the patriarchal society back then. Society wasn’t fair during the Elizabethan period as women suffered in silence, however then same trend still continues today in some countries. Capulet was very reluctant, when it came to Paris asking for Juliet’s hand in marriage because she’s so young; therefore he’s very cautious at first. Also, because of Juliet’s age. Capulet thinks that she is still a child therefore she is vulnerable. We see that Capulet is in control of Juliet’s future and she has no say in this marriage until later, even then it was ignored. Capulet has agreed that if Paris can woo Juliet then she’s all his. In one hand Capulet is in charge by making Juliet’s decisions for her but on the other hand Juliet is given a say, deciding whether or not to marry Paris. “My child is a stranger in the world.” First of all this means that Juliet is still regarded as a child and she is not ready to take on such great responsibilities. When Paris proposes the idea of marrying thirteen year old Juliet, Capulet said that he wants Juliet to marry a man who she loves and it would be her decision. Although Capulet said Juliet was too young the legal age marriage in Shakespeare’s time was twelve for girls and fourteen for boys. “Let two more summers wither in their pride.” He wants Juliet to be sixteen before becoming a bride. By then she would’ve matured. As a father you feel the need to protect your family from any potential danger, therefore Capulet wants to learn more about Paris before giving consent. “The earth hath swallow’d all my hopes but she.” Juliet is his only child and joy. Juliet is his only hope. Even though everything in the world is removed from him, he is left with Juliet which to him is everything. “The earth hath swallowed -” The earth swallowing could mean buried in the earth which suggests he has lost close ones and the world has taken anything of value from him so Juliet is all he has. “An she agree, within her scope of choice Lies my consent and fair according voice.” If she agrees of her own accord, I give you permission. Capulet was in no state of mind to think about letting his daughter marry at such a young age. Capulet himself is in his fifties and Lady Capulet is in her thirties so he probably remembers how much trouble a young wife is. However everyone knew that Paris and Juliet would be a good match. He says that she is a piece of fruit which is not yet “ripe” therefore it’s not sensible to marry. Because she’s a piece of fruit, Capulet implies that she would be “marr’d” (bruised, tainted or ruined) Juliet is too innocent to do such things at this age and her thirty purity is represented in the recent film when she wears an angel costume at the...
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