In Act One, Scene Two Lord Capulet, Juliet’s father, is consulting Paris after he asked for Juliet’s hand in marriage. Capulet believes that his daughter is too young to marry. Capulet says ‘An she agree, within her scope of choice lies my consent and fair according voice’ he is saying that Paris has his approval but it is up to Juliet to make the final decision. The way Capulet handles the situation with Paris shows the love and kindness he feels for his daughter. Capulet allows Juliet to decide if she wants to marry this man. This wouldn’t have happened very often in Elizabethan times as the richer families often married for wealth not love and here Capulet is asking, not telling, Juliet to marry this wealthy man. He doesn’t treat her as a piece of furniture and wants her to be happy with the person she marries, ‘She is the hopeful lady of my earth’ Capulet has lost his previous children and only wants the best for his only daughter.
Then, in Act Three, Scene Four, Capulet arranges Juliet’s and Paris’ wedding saying ‘she shall be married to this noble earl’. Capulet arranges this marriage without his daughters consent because he believes it will help to bring his daughter out of her depressive state, which he thinks is caused by the death of her cousin Tybalt but in reality it’s because of Romeo being exiled from Verona. The sentence Capulet says shows how kind he is to his daughter; Capulet could have chosen the wealthiest man he could get his hands on, however he chooses a ‘noble’ suitor for his daughter to marry. This once again shows that Capulet doesn’t want to use his daughter for money and actually wants his daughter to be happy with the one she marries.
So far Capulet has been presented as the figure head of the perfect father, given the Elizabethan era, however there is a moment when his attitude towards his daughter changes. In Act Three, Scene Five Capulet has just been informed by his wife that Juliet has refused to marry Paris. Capulet then responds with ‘Is she not proud? Doth she not count her blest?’ Capulet then goes on to tell her that he will throw her out and never look upon her again. Now, Capulet’s exclamation could be seen by many to be harsh and unfair, however, given the era the play was written children did as their parents instructed and never had anything else to say on the matter. Capulet asks several questions one after another not waiting for an answer, this suggests that he is panicking and has no idea how he is meant to handle this; this could very well likely be the first time his daughter has defied him. So, given the plays era, Capulet’s outrage is completely understandable, he is shocked, panicked and appalled at Juliet’s behaviour as children never defied their parents, particularly their fathers.
Now I shall move onto the topic of Juliet’s mother, Lady Capulet. In Act One, Scene Three Lady Capulet opens the scene with ‘Nurse where’s my daughter? Call her forth to me’. The way Lady Capulet refers to Juliet as her daughter in this way almost sounds as if she is calling Juliet some sort of object; it’s almost like Lady Capulet is asking the Nurse to bring her a pair of shoes she misplaced. She doesn’t speak as if she loves her daughter at all, if she did she might have said something like “Nurse where is Juliet? Could you ask her to come to me?” The fact that she doesn’t speak to her in this way highlights further how the relationships between parent and child worked in Shakespearian times; parents did treat their children as objects.
The third scene in Act One focuses heavily on Juliet’s relationship with both her mother and the Nurse. In this scene Lady Capulet refers to Juliet as ‘daughter’ and Juliet to her as ‘madam’. This does show how Elizabethan children had to talk to their parents but the strict formality of how they talk to one another suggests that there is no mother-daughter relationship. They don’t refer to each other as “mother” or “Juliet”. However, as I said...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document