Analyzing Juliet’s Relationship with Her Birth Parents and Nurse in Romeo and Juliet
A parent and their child may have many problems throughout their lives. Although troubles arise, a relationship between a parent and child should always be out of pure love. In the play Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, Juliet and her birth parents have no real loving connection, but Juliet’s “maid” cares for her throughout the play as if she was Juliet’s own parent. This surpasses the conflict by multitudes. Shakespeare uses a great deal of imagery and applies detailed background information, allowing the reader to develop a decent sense of characterization in the play. There are multiple conflicts within Juliet’s parental relationships. Juliet’s real parents care more about money, fame and fortune than they do their own child. This allows the relationship of Juliet and Nurse to be even more real and include more emotion within their truly “mother-daughter like” relationship.
Before Juliet is even introduced in the play, Capulet, Juliet’s father is making plans for her to marry someone while she is only thirteen years of age. The text states, “She hath not seen the change of fourteen years, /Let two more summers wither in their pride, /Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.” This shows that Juliet’s father did not care for his own daughter’s consent with the situation. Although it was very common at the time for females to marry at a young age, it just goes to show that Capulet could not care less about what Juliet thinks as long as his family stays with fame and fortune and away from the Montagues.
Once Nurse heard of this news she was very concerned. She loved Juliet like her own daughter. Nurse was telling Lady Capulet that she was too young, as a real mother should consider her own daughters age when contemplating marriage. However, Lady Capulet was strict on the idea of Juliet marrying. One shocking point brought out in the play was that Lady Capulet did not even know Juliet’s age. She had to ask Nurse for the child’s age, who then was infuriated with disbelief and anger that Lady Capulet did not know Juliet’s own age. This scene partially derived the conflict of the story by including key points that a parent should know about their child: their child’s age. Imagine if a child’s own biological parent forgot their age. A large amount of heartbreak and astonishment would fill a person’s heart to hear of that.
Although Lady Capulet is explaining everything in such an intriguing way, she surprisingly asks Juliet how she would feel about marrying. Juliet’s response was plain, clear and simple, “It is an honour that I dream not of.” Even after this act of somewhat endearment, Lady Capulet goes on to discuss thing such as the age that she had gotten married, the fact that other girls around her were also getting married and how it would be beneficial to Juliet because the person she was to marry was Paris. Paris was to be considered as a gentleman and “a flower” as Shakespeare had written. With all of Lady Capulet’s unneeded persistence, Juliet still had no interest, but sadly her mother nor father was not concerned with her interests.
As Romeo was being introduced into the play his father, Montague mentioned that Romeo is very secluded and by himself. The text states, “But to himself so secret and so close, /So far from sounding and discovery, /As is the bud bit with an envious worm, /Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, /Or dedicate his beauty to the sun. /Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow. We would as willingly give cure as know.” This piece of text, stated by Montague, shows a sense of longing and sincerity towards his son. It may seem as though Montague wants his son to be happy and playful. It shows how Montague seems to differentiate from Capulet. The personal conflict between Romeo and his father contributes to the play by having a similar relationship to that of Juliet and her parents. Juliet wants her parents to care about her, while Capulet and Lady Capulet could not care less about what Juliet has on her mind. Likewise, Montague wants Romeo to be less introverted at the moment, while Romeo remains uninterested in that thought of action.
Juliet’s lack of real parents had advanced the plot of the play. Once Romeo and Juliet had begun their young and flirtatious romance, Nurse was the first one to know about it. Of course Romeo and Juliet’s parents on either side would be against their relationship so they were forced to keep it secret from most people. Since nurse was in an extremely awkward position being that of Lady Capulet’s housekeeper and Juliet’s mother-like figure, she chose to help Juliet with the relationship and tried to maintain it as quiet and secretive as possible. Nurse cared for Juliet far more than that of her feelings towards the Capulets. Many would say that the wise thing to do, in Nurse’s situation, would be to stop the relationship before it got too serious, but Shakespeare’s characterization of Nurse does not lead her to do that. Throughout the relationship of Romeo and Juliet, Nurse urges Juliet to marry Paris instead while Juliet insists on loving Romeo.
Nurse’s parental figure in the play allows the audience to recognize her sense of love towards Juliet. When Juliet decides to do something of moronic and idiotic decent, Nurse puts her input in Juliet’s mind, just as a parental figure should do, mind even though Juliet may reject it. If Nurse had not been there for Juliet, there would be no basis to the play. Nurse’s role in Juliet’s life has impacted her so much that it can be inferred, if Juliet were to lose Nurse at one point she would care more for her than anyone else because of the mother-like statue in Juliet’s mind. Although Juliet’s real parents have conflicted and gradually deteriorated their relationship with Juliet over time, Juliet’s relationship with Nurse figuratively bandages that gap in Juliet’s life. Capulet’s not being there for their daughter has allowed Nurse to take their place, which in turn advances the plot and moral of the play while also deeply contributing to the meaning of Shakespeare’s work.