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Summary: the Message that Shakespeare Expressed Through the Character of Juliet

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In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet, a 13 year old who ls loved by her family but is forced to marry Paris. Shakespeare presents her as being a level headed, but headstrong character. And on the other side Romeo, a heartbroken teenager who isn’t close to his family at all

These two character, dedicated themselves to each other, they engaged themselves in an impossible love. In this tragedy, Shakespeare also explores courtly love through the character of Juliet.The presentation of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship reinforces several myths and beliefs, for example that love at first sight exists.Something we can notice about the character of Juliet in the play is that she is very self-willed and passionate. While she is respectful to her parents, it’s very evident that she cares very much about her own thoughts and wishes. This can be proven when she says she’d rather die than to marry Paris, “O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,/ From the battlements of yonder tower;”, she is disagreeing with the will of Capulet and saying she’d rather jump off a high building, a suicidal act.

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At the start of the play, Juliet is seen as being very obedient, when Lady Capulet asked her if it would be ever possible that she liked Paris, “Speak briefly, can you like of Paris’ love” and Juliet is saying that she might consider “I’ll look to like, if looking inking move:/ But no more deep will endart mine eye/ Than our consent gives strength to make it fly.”. But as we go further into the play, Juliet becomes less and less obedient. An example of this would be that Juliet marries Romeo despite being fully aware of the possible consequences of her actions, and in this way, Juliet is also very idealistic and also stubborn as she refuses to give up her love regardless of consequences. She is idealistic in the way that she knows that she is taking a lot of risk by marrying Romeo but she makes herself believe that everything will be okay and no one will find out about her marriage.

Shakespeare also presents the character of Juliet as being someone very practical, as she tends to think of the consequences of actions. Juliet is more practical than Romeo because her whole life depends on the choices that she makes as a woman. One bad choice can ruin her reputation and future. It was more difficult in Shakespeare’s time for women to live in a male-dominated world. Back then, marriage was the only foundation upon which a woman could secure her future. Women weren’t able to own property or even inherit their own parents’ money, so choosing a hushing who would show her respect and kindness was very important. This could be one of the reason why Juliet is more practical than Romeo. For example in Act II, Scene 2, when Romeo sneaks into her backyard, she warns him that if he is found he will be killed, “If they do see thee, they will murder thee.” Romeo does not seem to care much, even though we would think he would be more responsible due of his age.

However, Juliet does not continue to be mature and sensible throughout the rest of the play. When Juliet’s father threatens to disown her if she refuses go marry Paris, but Juliet decides to either commit suicide or follow through with Friar Lawrence’s plan to fake her death. The best solution would have been for Friar Lawrence to speak to Lord Capulet on Juliet’s behalf and explain the situation. Even if Lord Capulet had still decided to disown Juliet, she would have still been given what she wanted, the freedom to join Romeo in marriage, which would have saved her life and Romeo’s.

In his tragedy, Shakespeare also uses a lot of language techniques and devices, such as metaphors, similes, personifications epanalepsis and polysyndeton. An example of a metaphor is, “it is the East, and Juliet is the sun!” This metaphor serves to liken Juliet to the sun, portraying her beauty as radiant, which idealises Juliet. A simile that also serves to idealise Juliet in the same way is “For thou art/ as glorious to this night, being o’er my head,/ As in a winged messenger of heaven.”. This simile, comparing Juliet to an angel, serves to idealise Juliet by making her appear to be above him in beauty and morals. Personification is also used to idealise Juliet by capturing the beauty of her eyes, “Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven./ having some business, do entreat her eyes/ To twinkle in their spheres till they return.” Romeo personifies the stars as communicating with Juliet’s eyes, making them twinkle like stars, thereby also comparing her eyes to stars. Epanalepsis is also used, it is created by taking a word at the beginning of a clause and repeating it at the end of the clause. Juliet’s line, “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?,” repeats “Romeo” at both the beginning and end of the sentence. Lastly polysyndeton, it makes use of many conjunctions. The repetition can make a person feel dizzy and overwhelmed. We see polysyndeton with the repletion of “nor”, “What’s Montague? it is nor hand, not foot,/ Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part/ Belonging to a man.” Juliet is repeating the conjunction “nor” to analyse all the things that a Montague is not.

Through his tragedy Shakespeare also shows us that it was impossible to go against society. At this period of time and at the age Juliet is at, it was unthinkable to go against the parents will. In the play of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet rebells against these expectations by having a secret affair with Romeo, him that is from an enemy family, the Montagues. Because of her “sin”, we could say she got punished by society and this is therefore the reason she is dead.

So Shakespeare might be trying to say that if anyone went against life’s expectations they would be punished, the Capulets and the Montagues might represent society and the fact that very fats after Juliet and Romeo’s death they are more worried who will give the best gift than the actual death of their children. “But I can give thee more,/ For I will raise her statue in pure gold,”, this shows how quickly life’s are forgotten and how easily people move on after such an extreme event such as the death of someone. In this play, the main them explored is courtly love. This type of love involves no physical contact and where the man is obsessed with his beloved and willing to risk everything to defend her. The woman, on the other hand, thinks she is better than the other. The first time Romeo sees Juliet he very much acts like a courtly lover, “Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn light!/ It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night/ Like a rich jewel in a Ethiope’s ear,/ Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.” Romeo in this sentence sees Juliet as unreachable, that she is too good for him, he admires her beauty from afar.

Juliet too, like a courtly lover, tells Romeo when he first takes her hand,“Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,/ Which mannerly devotion shows in this”. She compares his hands to those of a pilgrim, who touches saints. But forth in their relationship, the sense of courtly love is rapidly erased because they very fast talk about getting married, “ If they thy bent of love be honourable,/ Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow,”, it is at this point that Romeo is no longer a courtly lover.

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