No Heir In Romeo and Juliet

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Within Romeo and Juliet, parental neglect is the key factor causing the death of the star-cross’d lovers. Today, the effect of abuse is more apparent than it was in the 1500‘s. Children who have been subjected to parental neglect, verbal abuse, or physical abuse are scarred for life. Shakespeare gives the audience a look inside the family dynamic of Capulet. In fact, it can be seen as the direct cause of Juliet’s untimely death. With a family who’s primary focus is wealth and publicity, Juliet never experiences a healthy relationship with her parents. As was custom for wealthy families, Juliet is given a Nurse to take care of her. The Nurse acts as Juliet’s mother figure, however, their relationship cannot fully substitute the biological connection between Lady Capulet, Lord Capulet, and Juliet. Textual evidence shows that the true tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, at least in the adults’ eyes, is the loss of an heir to both families. Friar Lawrence makes this point in Act Five Scene Three. FRIAR LAWRENCE: “All this I know, and to the marriage Her Nurse is privy. And if aught in this Miscarried by my fault, let my old life Be sacrificed some hour before his time Unto the rigor of severest law.” (V iii 280-284)
The word miscarried does not only refer to the fact that the Friar’s plan did not work. It also refers to a miscarriage; in this case Juliet’s suggested unborn child. From the beginning of the play, Capulet’s main goal is to secure an heir. The great irony in the play is that the heir to both families could have been carried by Juliet. Thus Friar Lawrence’s true plan to end the feud is discovered. The miscarriage is his fault and had Romeo known that Juliet was alive, the houses of Capulet and Montague would have been brought together as a new family. With Juliet’s death, the families not only lose their children, but they lose their heirs, which is more important to them anyway. It is European tradition that when the head

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