Desperate Times Call for Drastic Measures
“Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!” howls Lord Capulet to Juliet in William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet. Capulet’s words take readers by surprise in Act three Scene five since Capulet has never behaved furiously towards Juliet. Because of Capulet’s selfish interest in his own happiness, his fury towards disobedience, and the simple fact Juliet disobeys him, Capulet turns abruptly brutal towards his daughter when she refuses to marry whom he picked.
Lord Capulet only has one daughter to keep the family going, that is why he is so careful for Juliet’s future, because he is only thinking about his heirs. His selfishness is prominently shown when Capulet is speaking to Lady Capulet about how Juliet balked his own arranged marriage plans, “Wife we scarce thought us blest that god lent us but this only child” (3.5.170-172). Capulet only has one child and inheritor, in one way or another, he is solely thinking about himself. Capulet is pensive about Juliet’s future only because he wants to have grandchildren and a wealthy son-in-law. Lord Capulet only cares for his future, not his daughter’s content. After Lord Capulet finds his “dead” daughter, he says to himself, “Death is my son-in-law. Death is my heir my daughter he had wedded I will die and leave him all. Life. Living all is death’s” (4.5.38-40). Capulet’s selfishness perhaps is shown at its finest in this scene, he only cares for anything that has to with himself, like his inheritors. The language in this scene suggests readers to have a better understanding of the narrow-minded Capulet. Death has not only taken his daughter, but also all the family he could have had. Capulet is selfish in the sense that at his own daughter’s death, he cares more about his loss of heirs. Lord Capulet’s narcissistic attitude suggests he is not the best father figure, he does not want anyone to ruin his joy, not even death itself. Capulet’s dominant and...
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