In Act 3, Scene 5 Juliet’s love for Romeo is potent to the degree that she opposes and defies her father when she states ‘Not proud, you have; but thankful…” Women had the ability to refuse marriage that was commonly arranged in the Elizabethan Era, however, they would be disowned by their families. It is at the end of the scene; Juliet becomes aware that she is a woman in a male-dominated world. She proclaims, “If all else fail, myself have power to die. ” She has recognised the little power she holds in society and that suicide would be the way of controlling her life.
Following this defiance Capulet becomes ireful, saying, “Proud me no prouds…” This is a pun he has utilised inventively by incorporating ‘proud’ as both a verb and a noun, conveying the message that he does not want to be told this and that Juliet is ungrateful of him. The repetition of the word also reinforces the point he is making. Lady Capulet initially appears concerned for Juliet but after she defies her father she seldom speaks because of what can be interpreted as fright. At first she seems concerned for her daughter, but when Juliet defies her, she passes the problem on to her husband.
She does not know how to interact with Juliet. Furthermore, Capulet uses many pejorative Elizabethan terms such as ‘green-sickness’ which suggests he was implying Juliet was anaemic; it was believed in the Elizabethan era that it was only young women who were at puberty who were afflicted by the illness. Therefore, he is insulting her by demoting her to a child, claiming she is imprudent and weak although he is instructing her to marry Paris; an act of an adult. His insults reveal the extent to which his confidence in her has been degraded.
Moreover, Capulet also makes himself clear through the device of antithesis. For example, he states, “Unworthy as she is…. ” Which is followed by, “So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom…” This adds a tone of aggression and poise whilst showing is status in society and the household. Capulet also states that Juliet is ‘a whining mammet. ’ He is saying that she is incompetent of thinking for herself and that she is subordinate because a ‘mammet’ or a puppet does not work itself and has to be controlled by somebody in order for it to work.
This is also highlighted several times again including when Capulet says, “I’ll give you to my friend…” His daughter is only an item to him which is proved through his objectification of “give. ” He thinks of her as a commodity that he can give away to boost his social status and career. Capulet’s use of the phrase “chop-logic,” meaning deceptive argumentation which is logical only in appearance, is a reference to sophism; he could see that she was well-reasoned but in truth actually fallacious and insincere.
Juliet says, “Not proud you have but thankful that you have…” She uses complicated sentence constructions in order to intimidate her father into agreement out of fear that she will be made to marry Paris. When Capulet exits his power is emphasised; he decides what happened and the women of the household have no further power. In Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet, Capulet acts aggressively and only appears threatening as there is no physical action involved unlike in Zeffirelli’s.
This because the director wanted to appeal and identify with the audience or Generation X who is not familiar with this kind of abuse. However, in Zeffirelli’s he hits many of the characters to the surprise of the audience which is how women of the Elizabethan era would have been treated to the audience’s surprise. It is through the actress who portrays Juliet and her reaction in this version of Romeo and Juliet that the audience know abuse is a regular occurrence in the household because Juliet hides behind the Nurse who protects her like a mother, knowing what he would do to her.
Luhrmann also avoided violence where Zeffirelli had not when the Nurse arrives to tell Romeo of the news on the wedding. In Zeffirelli’s version, Romeo’s friends act brutally towards her whilst in Luhrmann’s they only light-heartedly ridicule her. Status is also shown through Shakespeare’s employment of iambic pentameter again in this scene. It is usually reserved for upper classes, however, the Nurse has one line that is written in the form: “You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so…” She questioning the lack of upbringing Juliet has had from her father.
By stating that Lord Capulet is culpable for Juliet not wanting to marry Paris, the Nurse’s love and affection for her are apparent. Luhrmann kept the use of iambic pentameter in Romeo and Juliet to appeal to a wider audience and show how universal the language and themes of Shakespeare are and how they still are present in today’s society. However, he cut much of the dialogue to appeal to the teenage audience of today with one four hundred years ago. He wanted them to be able to identify with Romeo and Juliet and understand it. By keeping some its touching, poetic innocence was not lost.