In Romeo and Juliet there is an enormous amount of tragic events which allow the play to be both romantic and tragic. There is also the importance of the audience knowing and feeling sorry for Romeo and Juliet because the play is a tragedy and the involvement of romance heightens our empathy for Romeo and Juliet.
Act 3 scene 5 fits in into the tragedy genre perfectly because, in this part of the play Romeo and Juliet first come together (physically) after getting married in the earlier scene, but Romeo has to leave for Mantua, which causes Juliet distress and in the scene Juliet finds out she is promised to Count Paris. All these events are catastrophic for Romeo and Juliet’s relationship and Juliet’s love for Romeo. Juliet’s world is turned upside down; she loses Romeo because he is banished from Verona exactly after their marriage, her nurse wants her to commit bigamy, her mother is not a person to turn to and her father wants to throw her out to the street (Juliet goes from being a girl with everything and then in one scene a girl with nothing).
Juliet’s introduction matters to the audience so they can see her changing in the play. Shakespeare introduces Juliet to the audience first in Act 1 Scene 2 through the conversation between Capulet and Count Paris, when Paris says he is interested in marrying Juliet. Capulet speaks about Juliet saying, “My child is yet still a stranger to the world; she hath not seen the change of fourteen years.” Here Shakespeare draws the audience’s attention to Juliet’s innocence. Shakespeare also shows how Capulet is reluctant for Juliet to marry at this age, because he knows that get marriage at a young age could cause difficulties for her. But later in the play although Juliet is not older, Capulet changes his opinion and this has a terrible effect on Juliet. This creates sympathy for Juliet because at first she has this caring and understanding father, but later on he is like he monstrous father and focusing her to get marriage and therefore we feel a lot of sympathy for her.
Shakespeare creates a connection (a bond) with the audience and Juliet by setting some scenes in the Capulet house (this way we get to know Juliet better; Shakespeare sets various scenes in the Capulet house for example, our first meeting with Juliet was at the Capulet banquet and Juliet bedroom, this practically helps us learn about Juliet’s family life which plays a huge role on how we respond towards her in this scene and because we know nothing of Romeo’s family (how they feel about each other) we can’t really feel sympathy towards him due to the fact that we know nothing about him. Whereas in Juliet’s case we do (Shakespeare creates a friendly relationship between the audience and Juliet), we can feel certain ways about her (basically if you don’t know someone you can’t feel anyway about him; you can’t really care about them).
Juliet shows an obedient personality (as it is ‘normal’ for girl of that time) in the previous scenes, when she is questioned by Lady Capulet about marrying Count Paris. Juliet replies obediently “it is an honour that I dream not of” This shows us that Juliet is very respectful and would do everything told by her parents, this is quiet significant because she becomes disobedient later in the play when told she is promised to Count Paris Shakespeare shows the audience just how ‘strong’ her love must be to disobey her father and this make us sympathise.
Shakespeare shows the audience that Juliet was raised with little bond between her and her mother, Lady Capulet. The fact that Juliet had been breast fed by the Nurse shows how lady Capulet and Juliet have no physical and emotional bond with each other. Owing to this the nurse is closer to Juliet and Juliet later confides in her about her feelings for Romeo. This also allows us to sympathise with Juliet because of not being able to find a best friend within her mother.
Act 3 Scene5’s opening is set in Juliet’s bedroom with both the lovers waking up from having consummated their wedding vows. The mood is romantic and calm but at the same time there is a sense of danger flowing in the atmosphere because, Romeo has been banished and is meant to be on his way to Mantua. Instead he is in the enemy’s daughter’s bedroom. Despite this Juliet is reluctant to let Romeo leave, “wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day, it was the nightingale and not the lark…”
Juliet tries to encourage Romeo to stay by saying the night bird is singing and not morning bird so Romeo can stay longer. Juliet does this because she knows Romeo has been banished and doesn’t know when they will meet again physically. This reminds the audience of Juliet’s affection for Romeo (she is ignoring reality because she is really love).
Dramatic irony is also used to create sympathy for Juliet as in the previous scene (Act 3 scene 4) Capulet agrees for Count Paris to marry Juliet but, Juliet does not know this. The audience will sympathise with Juliet because, they see her in Romeo’s arms, deeply in love and they know that her joy will soon convert to remorse and sadness. She is already married to Romeo and this will leave her two terrible choices: to either commit adultery or defy her parents and face hell. This is terrible because, women in that time were basically owned by their fathers (if Juliet disobeys her father she will get thrown out of the house she will have no were to go, she doesn’t have a choice) or husbands and were expected to do as they were told.
When Romeo and Juliet was written in the Elizabethan Times, fate played a important role in people lives. Therefore, Shakespeare includes this through Juliet’s voice when she refers to fate saying “O, Fortune, Fortune! All men call thee fickle. If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him that is renowned for faith? Be fickle, Fortune for then I hope thou wilt not keep him long, But send him back.” Here Juliet creates an increasing amount of sympathy from the audience for herself by asking fate to return her Romeo. The audience knows Juliet’s fate from the prologue and also knows her and Romeo’s ill fate is written one way and nothing and no one can change it. They therefore feel sorry for Juliet because she will be a victim of fate which is irreversible (due to the fact that Elizabethans believed strongly in fate they would have felt ‘more’ empathy for Juliet than us).
When lady Capulet enters the scene the mood changes, because she is about to tell Juliet some bad news (she has been promised to Count Paris) so the mood on stage become very tense and cold.
In Act 3 scene 5 when Juliet is thought to be “mourning” about Tybalt death but she is really cries for Romeo’s departure for Mantua, Lady Capulet’s response is very unsympathic, and cold. Lady Capulet says,” evermore weeping for your cousin’s dath? What, wilt thou wash him from his grave with tears? And if thou couldst, thou couldst not make him live-therefore have done. Some grief shows much of love, but much of grief shows still some want of wit.”
The quote shows that Lady Capulet is very cold and unsympathic towards Juliet especially when she suggests that Juliet is stupid and is in “want of wit” (an idiot for crying). And with that Lady Capulet shows that she doesn’t feel any extraordinary way about Juliet and shows the audience that probably she did not only not breast feed her due to traditional reasons, but to avoid embarrassment, or because she is by nature a cold, uncaring person.
Shakespeare’s use of double meaning in Juliet’s words creates a bond between Juliet and the audience because, the characters on stage don’t know the real meaning of Juliet’s words. When Juliet says “Madam, I am not well” this could mean ‘Madam, I am not feeling well’ but in Juliet’s case it means “Madam, I am crying for Romeo” . There also is the double meaning word when Juliet says, “Feeling so the loss, I cannot choose but ever weep the friend.” To lady Capulet this means she has lost a friend (the friend Juliet is talking about is Romeo; her lover) but, really in Juliet’s case it means “I have never felt so empty, I have no choice but to cry for my love (Romeo)”. Juliet continually talks of Romeo even it secret, indicating that he is always in her thoughts and heart. Shakespeare continually reminds us of the extent of her love for Romeo through the exploitation of language for dramatic and poetic or even figurative effects.
The audience will comprehend this, but the characters won’t. Shakespeare created a friendship language for Juliet and the audience to understand in secret only. An Elizabethan audience would understand every word Juliet is saying, this is how Shakespeare created the bond between Juliet and the audience.
In their conversation Lady Capulet tells Juliet she will avenge Tybalts death. “We will have vengeance for it, fear it thou not. Then weep no more. I’ll send to one in Mantua, where that same banished runagate doth live, shall give him such an unaccustomed dram that he shall soon keep tybalt company- and then I hope thou wilt be satisfied.” lady Capulet intends to send someone to Mantua to murder Romeo. I strongly believe that Juliet will feel very uncomfortable and anxious when she hears this but just like she is powerless to change her fate, she is powerless to defend Romeo. This encourages us sympathy for Juliet as is so in love and yet so helpless.
Lady Capulet tells Juliet that her father has promised her to Count Paris and responds cold and harshly to Juliet’s refusal of marriage when she says “Here comes your father. Tell him so yourself, and see what he will take it at your hands.” Lady Capulet simply leaves Juliet to face her, Capulet alone knowing he is going to be very angry. Lady Capulet and Juliet have a very distant relationship, this is shown this in Act 1 scene 3 when Shakespeare informs the audience that Juliet did not have physical and emotional contact with her mother. Juliet can’t tell lady Capulet that she is in love with Romeo Mainly because, Lady Capulet is insensitive and unapproachable but also because of the social context. Nowadays daughters’ best friends can be and are their mothers, who they tell every secrets and problems. The way Shakespeare portrays their relationship also creates a huge amount of sympathy for Juliet.
Capulet immediately responds to Juliet’s unwillingness to marry Count Paris in a very angry and abusive way. The actor playing Capulet is likely to raise his tone of voice immediately, frightening Juliet with this. This is also expressed powerfully with Shakespeare’s use of insultive language in Capulet’s speech for example, when Capulet uses abusive words like “..Mistress minion. You green-sickness carrion!. You baggage!. You tallow-face!” Juliet is called a spoilt brat because she wants to have her own way. Capulet also insults Juliet’s appearance calling her sickness, possibly because she makes him ‘sick’ by not doing what he wants. He is trying to make Juliet feel humiliated. He calls Juliet a baggage and a curse probably, because it is Elizabethan tradition for the parents to arrange the marriages of their daughters and by Juliet refusing she will cause Capulet and Lady Capulet great embarrassment and dishonour.
Capulet also says “…or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither” he threatens her and at this point Juliet is likely to feel intimated and over powered. She is becoming more helpless which is also very sympatric.Violent threats are also used to show capulet’s anger and the threats. There is also the use mimicking this makes capulet’s language make the audience feel sorry for Juliet because, mimicking a person is making them feel unreasonable and ridiculous. The actor would have also have use gestures, hand and body movement and language i.e. pointing. His tone of voice would be growing louder and louder as he engages in his threats.
I believe Capulet is angry with Juliet because, he doesn’t understand why she has bcome disobedient and also because in the Elizabethan times it was normal for fathers to arrange marriages for their children. Capulet is also angry with Juliet because he believes he has picked out a wealthy, handsome and good man for Juliet and she is refusing him. Shakespeare explores the theme of parenting with Capulet. Perhaps Shakespeare is suggesting that the Elizabethan times is too forcing, teenagers were not allowed to have a say in what kind of person or who they want to be married to.
The nurse reacts carelessly to Juliet’s cry for help, she gives Juliet careless and bad advice “faith, here it is: Romeo is banishï¿½d -…I think it best you married with the County. O, he’s a lovely gentleman! Romeo’s a dish clout to him. An eagle, madam, hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye as Paris hath…your first is dead, or `twere as good he were, as living here, and you no use of him”.
Here the nurse shows that she doesn’t care that much about Juliet, because if she did she would think about Juliet and not her job and the nurse also insults Romeo ‘Romeo’s a dishclout to him’. However at the same time makes us believe that she says this to also keep her job (because if Juliet is disowned by her parents the nurse will also have to go because her only reason for the job is that she is nursing Juliet).The nurse and Juliet had been very close. Juliet could tell the nurse about Romeo and everything that happened.
The nurse’s behaviour has been much contrasted since the last couple scenes; she is now more selfish than when she was being assistant as she was in Romeo and Juliet’s marragie arrangements. The lack of support form the nurse also makes the audience sympathise with Juliet because the nurse was the only person Juliet could turn to for help and now that the nurse is not caring anymore Juliet is left alone.
Juliet later pleads: “O God! – O Nurse, how shall this be prevented? My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven. How shall that faith return again to earth… Comfort me, counsel me. Alack, alack, that heaven should practice stratagems upon so soft…Hast thou not a word of joy’some comfort, Nurse?” the fact that Juliet calls upon the nurse and God in the same speech showed she had confidence in the nurse’s power to help her. This makes it all the more upsetting when the nurse offers to support.
The relationship between the nurse and Juliet will change due to what Juliet says about the nurse “Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend…” and also because when Juliet is given a sleeping potion by the Friar Lawrence Juliet doesn’t tell the Nurse. Juliet would have told the Nurse things like this before and all this shows that Juliet and the nurse have become distant.
Act 3 Scene 5 ends with a soliloquy which is an appropriate way to end the scene because a soliloquy is a dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener. Due to the fact that Juliet is alone and has no one but herself now it makes it a powerful of ending, which emphasis’s her loneliness. Juliet’s last lines gives the audience the thought that she is desperate she says, “…I’ll to the Friar, to know his remedy. If all else fail, myself have power to die.” As well as emphasises Juliet’s loneliness, it reminds us of her tragedy and ultimate end: ‘death’.
Shakespeare makes Juliet a tragic heroin from this point in the play. She fearlessly takes a potion from Friar Lawrence knowing this could hurt her family emotionally; she lies to Capulet about considering the marriage which she doesn’t want to and finally she takes her own life with a dagger when she thinks that Romeo is dead. She is the heroine of the play, a character whom we can empathise with as she fights for her love.
The effects of the scene are dramatic, tensions and very tragic the audience would have been involved in this because all theses factors help them understand the delivered messages.
Shakespeare has developed Juliet’s character very successfully by making us feel sympathy for her after getting to know her, see her dilemmas from her point of view and bond with her. Shakespeare achieved all this by making Juliet’s character moral, philosophical and socially significant.