William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet takes a look at characters that undertake parental responsibilities due to their deficient family relationships. Both Romeo and Juliet are seen to have incomplete relationships with their parents and view other characters as parental figures. Romeo’s distant relationship with his parents allows him to progressively become closer with Friar Lawrence throughout the play, continuously seeking him for guidance. Likewise, Nurse undertakes the motherly role for Juliet as her mother has an apathetic and formal relationship with her. The absence of both Romeo and Juliet’s parents make them view other characters as their role models, and confide in them during times of hardship.
To begin, Nurse undertakes the motherly role for Juliet as her mother has an apathetic and formal relationship with her. Lady Capulet shows no pity or sympathy towards Juliet when she is in distress. This is illustrated when Lady Capulet announces “Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word./Do as thou wilt, for I am done with thee” . This displays her lack of sympathy toward Juliet as she disowns her because of the fact that she will not agree to marry Paris. Although Nurse is not the biological mother of Juliet she shares a strong motherly connection with her ever since Juliet was a baby. This is evident when Nurse says “Tis since the earthquake now aleven years/ And she was wean’d – I never shall forget it -/ of all the day of the year, upon that day;/ for I had then laid wormwood to my dug/ sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall./ My lord and you were then at Mantua” . This exemplifies her motherly connection with Juliet as she breastfed and took care of her as a child opposed to Juliet’s real mother. Finally, Nurse cares deeply about Juliet’s happiness. This becomes obvious when she says ”Hie to your chamber. I’ll find Romeo/To comfort you, I wot well where he is” . This shows that she is willing to bring Romeo and Juliet together even though she knows that Romeo is a Montague. Nurse is not the only character who is invested in the love life of Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo’s distant relationship with his parents allows him to progressively become closer with Friar Lawrence throughout the play, as he continuously seeks him for guidance. To start off, Romeo’s relationship with his parents is seen to be undeveloped and insignificant to him. This is evident when Juliet tells him to “Deny thy father and refuse thy name” and Romeo responds with “Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;/Henceforth I never will be Romeo”. This shows that he views his family as insignificant as he is willing to so carelessly forget about his family name without any consideration. This is obvious that he does not have a strong meaningful relationship with his parents to want to keep his own name. Rather than his own parents, Romeo trusts Friar Lawrence and confides in him about everything including his love life. This is evident when he says “I have been feasting with mine enemy,/Where on a sudden one hath wounded me/That’s by me wounded; both our remedies. Clearly, Romeo trusts Friar Lawrence as he is revealing that he loves someone from the opposing family. Additionally, this displays that he is closer to Friar than he is to his own parents as he is the first person he verbally reveals this information to. Friar Lawrence cares about Romeo and comforts him when he is upset. This is shown when he says to Romeo “What, rouse thee, man! Thy Juliet is alive,/For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead:/There art thou happy. Tybalt would kill thee,/But thou slewest Tybalt: there art thou happy./The law that threaten’d death becomes thy friend,/And turns it to exile: there art thou happy”. This shows that he cares for Romeo like a father would care for his son as he provides him with reasons to be happy.
In conclusion, Romeo and Juliet view other characters as role models due to their incomplete relationship with their parents. Juliet has a stronger bond with Nurse than her real mother and Romeo progressively becomes closer with Friar Lawrence. Juliet’s mother is apathetic and cold so Juliet views Nurse as more of a motherly character. Romeo as well becomes close to Friar Lawrence, continuously seeking his advice and guidance, due to his distant relationship with his parents. Children need parental role models to look up to and to confide in during times of both happiness and distress. Therefore Romeo and Juliets distant relationship with their parents makes them view other characters they are close to as their parental figures.