The Nurse comes and warns Juliet that her mother is coming. Then Lady Capulet comes in and thinks that Juliet is sad and downhearted because of Tybalt’s death. Juliet also pretends that she wants to kill Romeo because she can’t admit to her mother that she has married him. Then the Capulet comes into the room as well and starts telling Juliet how vitally important is for her to get married to Paris. The whole scene occurs just after Romeo and Juliet married. Only the Nurse knows about the secret marriage from all of the Capulet’s. This is important to the play because the Nurse has taken the role of Juliet’s mother and Juliet confides everything with her instead of Lady Capulet.
This scene relies for its dramatic impact partly on the fact that some people know certain things that must be hidden form other people. For example the only people that know about the wedding of Romeo and Juliet are Friar Lawrence and the Nurse. Another example is that only Capulet, Lady Capulet and the Nurse know about the arranged marriage between Paris and Juliet. The dramatic effect of the audience knowing all that has happened is called dramatic irony.
This means that the audience knows things that are unknown for some of the characters in the play and then the audience sees how these events happen even though they know before. Shakespeare has used a lot of dramatic irony throughout the whole play because that involves the audience much more into the action and it was also fashionable at that time to write in this style. In this particular scene Shakespeare has used dramatic irony when the Nurse tells Juliet that her mother is coming, but the audience already knows what the message is that her mother is bringing. By using this technique the writer makes the audience feel sympathy towards Juliet.
Another key point in this scene is the way Juliet uses speaks and the words that she uses. The words and phrases that she uses are ambiguous. “Madam, I am not well”. Her mother’s response is immediate and she is obviously thinking that Juliet is sad because of Tybalt’s death, but actually Juliet is downhearted because of Romeo. This shows us another side to Juliet’s character. Before she had seemed young and eager to please her parents. A good example is when she agrees and accepts Paris for here husband before the ball where she meets Romeo. She has done that only to please her parents and not for self satisfaction. But since she has met Romeo and fallen in love with him she is showing rebelliousness and her willingness to stand up to her parents and defy them. Even though it is a very short period according to Shakespeare she has matured even though she is very young. In my opinion this is done because in the Elizabethan period people used to live to a much lower age than people do nowadays and a mature person was considered in the age group of thirteen to fourteen. Also people used to get married at the age that Juliet is in the play.
We also see another side of Juliet’s parents and the Nurse in this scene. Previously Lord Capulet has been against young marriage and for his daughter to get married, but things quickly change as Paris appears. Because Paris is the perfect boy for in his views, Lord Capulet will want to marry his daughter to him because he sees benefits form this marriage for the whole family and also it is the perfect husband for Juliet. Form this, the audience can judge the character and realise that Lord Capulet doesn’t actually care about how happy his daughter is. Lady Capulet also fails her daughter. She is supporting her husband in terms of making Juliet marry Paris and although Lady Capulet used to listen to what her daughter actually wanted now this has totally changed. “Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn,The gallant, young and noble gentleman,”. No matter what Juliet says Lady Capulet is definite for their marriage with Juliet.
When Juliet doesn’t get any support in what she wishes she seeks help and advice from no other but the Nurse, as Lady Capulet has swapped roles with the Nurse of being a mother. Until now she has been the most supportive figure in Romeo and Juliet’s relationship and she has been the closest person to Juliet as well. However, when Juliet decides to look for an advice the Nurse tells her to forget about Romeo and that she should see if she likes Paris. “I think it best you married with the county. O, he’s a lovely gentleman!” Here the Nurse shows her admiration towards Paris and she, just like Juliet’s parents, think that Paris is the prefect man. Juliet is appalled by what the Nurse has sad, because the audience knows that Juliet is still deeply in love with Romeo and this once again is one of Shakespeare’s techniques to make the audience feel sympathy toward Juliet and her relationship with Romeo.
In the 21st century we might be appalled by this treatment of Juliet, but in the in the 16th century when the play was actually written, the audience might not find it so strange. Lord Capulet is angry with Juliet because the marriage to Paris which Julie refuses is really important to him and the benefit of the whole family. Also the authority the father had over the children was much more different then it is nowadays. As for lady Capulet, her role as wife would be just to serve her husband and to do what he says and what he thinks is right. During the Elizabethan period women were treated very differently form men and their roles I society were very limited. Women were regarded as “the weaker sex” not just physically but emotionally as well. Shakespeare has created Lady Capulet’s character to show the audience how women were being treated at that time.
The audience might be surprised at the Nurse’s attitude because of her close relationship with Juliet, but she is a servant and therefore no matter how close and important she is to Juliet, she still has a relatively low position in the household, and the fact that she relies on Lord Capulet for her employment makes her even more dependant to Lady and Lord Capulet for her employment.
Overall this is one of the most dramatically important scenes in the play because form here the play significantly changes and Juliet’s position changes as well. The scene is also significant because it sets out the basics for the rest of the play as Juliet doesn’t want to marry Paris and Friar Lawrence gives her a potion so that she could pretend she is dead. At the start of Scene V the mood is romantic as the audience meets Romeo and Juliet in their first night together after marriage, but by the end of the scene the audience starts to sense the anger and betrayal that some of the characters show. From now on till the rest of the play Juliet can no longer rely on any help or support from her household and also what makes it even worse for her is that Romeo has been banished.