Juliet’s Transformation in Romeo and Juliet Essay

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From “the fatal loins” (Prologue.5) of Lord and Lady Capulet, protagonist Juliet is born in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Early on in the play Juliet is portrayed as a very dutiful daughter to her family. After her encounter with Romeo however, she begins a rapid transformation from a naive young girl into a woman. By the end of the play Juliet’s transformation evolves her from a dutiful daughter, into a faithful wife that is willing to desert her family in the name of love.

The audience is first introduced to Juliet in the exposition of the play. Juliet attracts the attention the Count Paris and her father (Lord Capulet) wisely says that Juliet “is yet a stranger in the world” (Act I.2.8) and should be allowed “two more summers” (Act I.2.10) to grow until she is ready for marriage. This implies that Juliet is young and has not yet matured to level where she is eligible to be married. Lord Capulet’s love for his daughter leads him to protect her from the prospective marriage until she is “ripe to be a bride” (Act I.2.11).

The audience’s first impression of Juliet however, is through her interaction with her mother (Lady Capulet) and the Nurse. From the Nurse’s remarks, the audience learns that Juliet is thirteen and “Come Lammas-eve at night shall [Juliet turn] fourteen” (Act I.3.18-9). As Juliet enters the presence of her mother and the Nurse, Shakespeare portrays Juliet as a very faithful daughter. When summoned by the Nurse, Juliet comes promptly then responds politely to her mother “Madam, I am here, what is your will?” (Act I.3.7). When Juliet refers to her mother as ‘madam” (Act I.3.7), the audience also gets the impression of Juliet being compliant to her elder’s wishes. This can be observed when her mothe...

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... Juliet bringing news for Juliet to “hie you hence to Frair Laurences’ cell; there stays a husband [Romeo] to make you a wife” (Act II.5.73-74), Juliet is ecstatic. This portrays Juliet as being disobedient because while she accepted Romeo’s proposal, her family has already arranged a marriage between Juliet and Paris. Juliet’s disobedience continues until her death in scene five when Romeo’s dagger finds “thy sheath” (Act V.3.170) in Juliet’s body.

The significance of Juliet’s change in character is to show her accelerated transformation from a young girl into a mature woman. In the beginning of the play Juliet is unable to make her own decisions. However after her meeting with Romeo, Juliet becomes more assertive and defends her love for Romeo. In conclusion, individuals cannot be forced to love; love is nurtured and nourished but also is always put to test.

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