‘Romeo and Juliet/Catrin/Sweet 16/Follower’ Controlled Assessment: Examining the presentation of parental relationships from the literary heritage.
‘Romeo and Juliet’ written by the great man William Shakespeare is a title that everyone knows about. It’s a story that talks about both love and conflict in different types of relationships. Parental relationships are an eternal issue which often involves tensions even conflict. Relationships differ even today between parent and child, and the way it may be interpreted is affected by women’s role in society in Elizabethan England. In Elizabethan England, women were expected to adjust social restrictions by showing obedience and respect to the men in their lives. We describe this as being a patriarchal society, where men are more dominant. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare explores the effects of being part of a patriarchal society. In this assessment, I will examine just how the way Shakespeare presents the relationship from the literary heritage between Juliet and Lord/Lady Capulet with backed evidence.
Lord Capulet: the very wealthy patriarch of the Capulet family, he is the character who is as rightfully dominant and says the final word; he is the man of the house, stronger than his wife and Juliet. What the alpha male of the house said was certain and not arguable; any argument against his word would suffer drastic consequence, as we later discover in Juliet’s revolt and rebellion to marrying Paris. In Act One, Scene 2, Capulet and Paris are discussing whether Juliet can be married; Lord Capulet is uncertain and persuasive in allowing his daughter to cherish her childhood before getting married too young. Furthermore, Capulet says: ‘My child is yet a stranger in the world’. From the moment I read it, the word that catches my attention is ‘stranger’. This suggests that she hasn’t experienced much in her life. In addition, Capulet says: ‘And too soon marred are those so early made’. The word ‘marred’ means spoilt, Capulet is indicating that Juliet may be too fragile; after all she is only 13. Also we start to see a sense of innocence of Juliet. From Lord Capulet’s quote, ‘Let two more summers wither in their pride’, it shows that he is willing to allow Paris to marry Juliet in two years time, maybe this is so that Juliet can fully mature and gain more experience of the world.
In particular, Juliet also adopts the society’s historical expectations, referring to her mother as ‘madam’; not the common ‘mother’. The use of the word ‘madam’ shows that Juliet is very respectful and polite to her mother. This was typical of Elizabethan times. Most of all, she is brought up in a home which demands respect to be shown to her elders. Juliet further demonstrates her purity and sweet nature in response to her mother’s proposal to consider marrying Paris as she sensibly replies, ‘It is an honour that I dream not of’. Her response is genuinely respectful therefore meaning that she understands her responsibility as a daughter and her place in a male dominant world. On the other hand, some may argue that the use of ‘madam’ shows that Juliet and Lady Capulet had a distant relationship. It has been said that Juliet was raised by the nurse, as a matter-of-fact the nurse is respected as her mother figure. Juliet is aware Lady Capulet is her mother, but possibly Juliet has not established the loving attitude and connection of a mother to a daughter so it is strictly a simple relationship.
Shakespeare’s use of the Lady Capulet is strong, she is the only parent of Juliet that keeps somewhat a stable communication with her. Linking back to historical context, I noticed that Lady Capulet has taken most commonly the name of ‘Lady Capulet’, however, she can be also known as ‘Capulet’s wife’, which I find rather interesting. Immediately I thought of a previous study of the story ‘Of Mice and Men’ which I did last year: where a character is known as ‘Curley’s wife’. This shows that through...
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