In this piece of writing I will explain why Act III Scene V is one of the most important scenes in the play.
The scene in question is extremely important in the whole outcome of the play because it is the last time Juliet will see Romeo alive. Also in this scene, Juliet goes against her father’s word for the very first time.
Juliet’s surprise at her mother’s sudden arrival is acceptable, as her mother never visits her in her room. The reason for this is that Juliet was brought up by the Nurse, and so has a much closer relationship with her that her mother. ‘ What unaccustom’d cause procures her hither’.
Lady Capulet has little experience of comforting children as the nurse has always done it for her. So, when she enters Juliet’s room she treats her like a small child, by bringing the new of marriage proposal with a slow almost mocking tone in her voice. ‘ But now I’ll tell thee joyful tidings, girl’. Lady Capulet is unintelligent because she interprets Juliet’s weeping because of the death of Tybalt where it is actually Romeo she weeps for. ‘Evermore weeping for your cousin’s death?’.
Shakespeare’s use of ambiguous language links in with my point in the last paragraph. Lady Capulet thinks Juliet is grieving for Tybalt but it is Romeo instead.
In this scene the characters should express this language in a way so that the person whom they are talking to should be unaware of the double meaning.
Lady Capulet’s relationship with Juliet is not at all flowing. In previous scenes Juliet rarely sees her mother apart from at mealtimes and special occasion (i.e. parties). When Juliet does see her mother, conversation is limited to short answers as if both Juliet and Lady Capulet aren’t trying hard enough to create a better relationship. Juliet has to be a humble daughter so she can’t speak out of turn. Pride and dignity have been hammered into her from the day she could talk but in my opinion, this isn’t her true self. Before the marriage proposal Lady Capulet had nothing to do with her daughter and left everything down to the nurse but since Paris has stated his wishes, Lady Capulet has been trying to become more involved with Juliet.
In the next part of the scene, Lord Capulet enters the room. He also believes that Juliet is weeping for her cousin’s death. ‘What, still in tears?’. At this point he is in a very happy and joyful mood. The reason for this is that he thinks that Lady Capulet has told Juliet the ‘good’ news and that Juliet has taken it well. His attitude is also very positive because he thinks he has found Juliet a high-class match. His tone changes as soon as he hears from Lady Capulet that Juliet has rejected his proposal. He is now furious with Juliet and starts asking many rhetorical questions like ‘Is she not proud?’. The effect of this technique that Shakespeare uses shows us that Lord Capulet is in disbelief about Juliet going against his word. Lady Capulet is frightened because of what Capulet will do when he finds out what Juliet has said. When he enters the room Lady Capulet immediately tells Capulet ‘I would rather the fool were married to her grave!’ The effect of this line is that Lady Capulet is distancing herself from Juliet and taking her husbands side. The reason for her taking sides with Capulet is that in the time of when the play was written, women had little or no rights and were expected to go along with their husbands wishes even if they did not agree with it. If women disagreed, they could expect a severe beating without consequences from the law intervening. Juliet’s attitude to her father is almost ignorance but at the very least extremely stubborn. By looking at Shakespeare’s choice of words for this character, it seems that she won’t be changing her mind very easily at all. This is a very important point in the scene because it is the first time that Juliet has gone against her father’s word. The Nurse thinks that Capulet’s treatment of Juliet is unjustified. She believes that it should be Juliet who chooses who she marries instead of her father. Although this feeling is not expressed in words in the play, Shakespeare implies by giving the Nurse lines that are very opposing to Capulet’s views.
All of the issues covered in this essay are very strong. This part of the scene especially, sets up everything for finale so it is very important. In all of the recent issues in the play, the audience would feel very strongly for Juliet as the way Shakespeare portrays her character and the other characters, it seems she has been hard done by.
In my opinion, the behaviour witnessed in the play was similar to behaviour of different members of a family at the time. The reason for this is that although we would think that kicking someone out of the family for not marrying the person of their parent’s choice would be very harsh. But in the 17th Century the father was the dominant figure in the family and if his children disobeyed his word he would feel that his authority had been breached and would have to take suitable action. In this part of the scene I would direct all the characters to portray a bad mood effect. The effect of this would be that there would be sense of anger in the air and it would show out Shakespeare language a lot better. Lord and Lady Capulet would be angry because Juliet rejected their marital wishes. Juliet would be angry because she loves Romeo and doesn’t want to marry Paris. The Nurse would be angry too because she has been called ‘a gossip’ by Capulet.
Juliet’s final plea to her mother is also important. Juliet tries to change her mothers mind. She thinks she can do this because recently Lady Capulet has paid more attention to Juliet so she might have a soft spot for her. These parts of the scene bring out Juliet’s lack of maturity and ever present childish behaviour. To express this, I would have Juliet on her knees and begging to her mother. When Lady Capulet tells her be quiet and turns to leave, Juliet would cling onto her mother’s legs. The importance of this is that she doesn’t know how to react to being virtually kicked out from the family.
Only the audience has the full picture in this whole play. In Act III Scene V Juliet repeatedly speaks ambiguously- with one meaning for the person to whom she speaks, and another for herself and the audience. For example, the audience knows that Juliet’s parents don’t know about her marriage to Romeo! Later similarly, the audience knows that the Nurse does not know that Juliet is deceiving her. Throughout the whole scene, Shakespeare makes dramatic use of what people do or don’t know (dramatic irony)
Juliet turns to the Nurse, as she is her last remaining friend who has stood by her through these events. The Nurse immediately rejects her plea of help and replies bluntly ‘I think it best you marry with the county’. The Nurse’ advice to Juliet reveals her weakness of character. If the details of Juliet’s marriage were to become known, her position would be very difficult.
The Nurse’s comparison of Romeo, ‘dishclout’ with Paris ‘he’s a lovely gentlemen’ enrages Juliet even more.
It is at his point in the play where Juliet is ore alone than ever before. Betrayal by her last remaining ‘friend’ (the Nurse) leaves her no other option.
‘Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain’, she says and turns to the Friar. The effect of this last conversation changes the whole eventual outcome of the play. Juliet is beyond help unless the Friar can persuade her into another plan of action. All this has been brought about by the argument with her father.
Juliet has gone against her father’s word and the lovers will never see each other again.
The play is still performed and admired today because of the full on use of dramatic irony. In Shakespeare’s plays, the audience always know something that the characters do not. In my opinion, the play is still performed today because of the love for Shakespeare himself and the fact that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is one of the most famous titles in modern history.