Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is a play in which my attitude towards one of the main characters changes many times throughout the play. The character who changes is Juliet herself. Shakespeare portrays the changes in Juliet well by use of language, imagery and key speeches.
The first time we meet Juliet is when the nurse is reminiscing about Juliet’s childhood. From the nurses recollections of Juliet’s childhood I can gather that she is like a mother figure to her.
Lady Capulet, Juliet’s mother, enters and asks Juliet how she feels about marrying a bachelor called Paris. Juliet’s response is, “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move: But no more deep will I endart mine eye than your consent gives” This shows us that Juliet is an obedient and dutiful daughter, as she will go to meet Paris because her parents have asked her to. It shows that she is something of a perfect daughter for her parents. She also seems very polite and well mannered towards her mother, almost as if she was a stranger to her.
This effectively makes us think that Juliet is a good child who would never disobey her parents. Furthermore, we first see a change in Juliet when she meets Romeo at the Capulet ball.
Romeo and his friends attend the mask ball without being invited.
This is because it is being held by The Montague’s sworn enemy the Capulets. The masks help them to enter the ball unrecognised. Romeo does not want to dance or take part in any of the partying so he offers to be a torchbearer. This is because he is in love with a girl called Rosaline and his love for her is unrequited.
The first conversation between Romeo and Juliet is a shared sonnet. The sonnet is unusual as it is shared mutually and usually the woman would be being adored and is silent as the man talked. Juliet answers back which is abnormal. It shows that she is equal to Romeo in terms of wit and intelligence. “ Romeo: Have not saints lips holy palmers too? Juliet: Ay pilgrim lips that they must use in prayer.
Romeo: O then dear saint, let lips do what hands do They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair”
The fact that the sonnet is shared stresses that they will play equal parts in their relationship. Romeo is never the dominant member in the relationship. They will love and suffer together throughout their relationship. We see Juliet changing from the obedient, perfect daughter to an independent young woman who knows how to take care of herself.
Moreover, we see further development in Juliet’s character when she is on her private balcony after the first time she meets Romeo. Juliet thinks she is alone but Romeo has climbed the walls of the family home and is listening into her conversation with herself. When Romeo is listening to Juliet thinking out loud he gets to know her true feelings towards him and the fact that she is prepared to give up her name to be with him. When Romeo finally shows himself the first thing Juliet wonder is how he got into the garden. He says that as long as Juliet loves him he can overcome any obstacle.
He begins his elaborate praise of her again but she makes it clear that she would rather he spoke plainly and honestly.
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