Romeo and Juliet: To what extent does Shakespeare present Capulet as being to blame for the death of his daughter?

9 June 2009

A pupil’s essay with teacher comments

Capulet’s character is very deceiving form the very beginning and Shakespeare makes it very clear at the end that both Capulets and Montague’s actions were to blame for the outcome as, “heaven found a means to kill your joys with love”. This quote COMMENT BY THE PRINCE – REMEMBER TO EXPLAIN THE CONTEXT — puts a huge guilt trip on both men but especially upon Capulet as earlier on in the play he caused a lot of grief for Juliet and Shakespeare highlighted some of the most animalistic and aggressive qualities in him.
The first impression the audience receive from Capulet is an extremely positive one. When he is speaking with Paris about the marriage of his daughter Juliet he is very calm and friendly, and appears to put his daughters wishes first when he states that Paris should “woo her”, “get her heart // My will to her consent is but a part”. Here Capulet makes out that he only wants what his daughter wants but contradicts himself later in the play as he forces Juliet into a marriage she does not want. He appears to have a very good relationship with his daughter but this is a façade as he in fact pushes her in a very dictatorial manner. At this point in the play however the audience are lured into a very nice impression of Capulet. Once at Capulets “old accustomed feast” where it is Paris’s job to “woo” Juliet, we first see the beginning of Capulet’s aggressive tendencies. He speaks angrily to Tybalt of being a “saucy boy” and scolding him heavily. Though what his intentions of keeping the peace are very noble, his sudden fury shocks Tybalt into a retreat and his unpredictable temperaments is highlighted once more. This is again proven when Capulet calls for his sword to battle against Montague when another brawl began in the “streets of Verona”. Though Shakespeare jokily diverts the attention off of Capulet when Lady Capulet jokes about calling for a “crutch” humorously, it is still small indications of his temper. It is this temper which he uses upon Juliet to force her to marry Paris in the play after Tybalt’s death.
Quotes HERE AGAIN OPEN BY USING THE 5 Ws TO EXPLAIN THE CONTEXT such as “Mistress minion you” and “unworthy as she is” are displaying his aggression and rage when Juliet’s refuse the marriage. This is an example of how he contradicts himself, as he earlier said he did not want to force her, and his aggressive, forceful nature with which he overpowers his family. He works himself into a stress and begins to force Juliet, the apparently “disobedient wretch” into a marriage, not for her own good but for the principal of the matter that he should have the right over his daughter to tell her what to and what not to do. This is also shown when he states, “and you be mine and I give you to my friend // and you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets!” Here is has come to the end of his rage as he storms out of the room furiously and this is when we see his true mannerisms as he treats Juliet as an object he may just, “give” to his friend Paris, instead of treating her as a human being who if forced will be starting a lifelong marriage on the wrong grounds. DISCUSS USE OF IMAGERY HE CALLS HER A BAGGAGE, GREEN SICKNESS CARRION, INDICATING HIS UTTER DISGUST FOR HER, LIKE SHE IS A DISEASE, His overall characteristics are which push Juliet to have to resort to faking her own death to go and live with Romeo in Mantua and in the process die. Shakespeare highlights this as it is his personality which is to blame.
Other reasons which in play show that it is evident that Capulet is to blame for his daughter’s death come when Shakespeare highlights the feud and how this has affected the society. Capulets feud with Montague, the cause which Shakespeare does not reveal, making it seem to be even more trivial, is the whole reason why Juliet cannot be open about her love for the only son of her “great enemy” and so has to resort to a secret marriage and fake death. Her fear of her father, the pressures of living without Romeo who is now banished seem to overtake her as her emotions become too much and she attempts suicide in Friar Lawrence’s cell. Here Shakespeare brings together the problem of Capulet’s attempt at trying to force Paris and Juliet to marry each other and shows it as the last thing which brings Juliet to such an end and in the end causes her death. This is another example of how Capulet is blamed for Juliet’s death. It ids Capulets hatred which Tybalt grew up with that also was another root cause as Tybalts hatred for Romeo caused him to fight with Mercutio. When Mercutio died, Romeo “slew” Tybalt and so was banished and as a result Juliet took the potion to try and live a life away from Verona with Romeo. If Capulet did not persist his hatred or Montague the younger generation would not have become involved in there feud as Friar Lawrence predicts that “wisely and slow, those stumble that run fast” meaning that those who do not think about the consequences of their actions and act responsibly, wisely and like an adult will receive punishment later on causing much larger problems with more dangerous after-effects.
Overall Shakespeare puts a lot of blame upon Capulet and his use of imagery and aggression throughout he play concerning him as a very bold character in fact highlights him as one of the root causes of his daughters death and so fulfils the prophetic prologue that predicts that Romeo and Juliet will both die due to their love. This is what greatly affects the dramatic and tragic irony which continues throughout the play.

A grade essay. To attain an A* you need to explore the IMAGERY of CAPULET IN MORE DEPTH, and analyse it.

To what extent does Shakespeare present Capulet as being to blame for the death of his daughter?
I believe that Capulet plays an important role in the event of Juliet’s death. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to help inform the reader of how he has represented Capulet as being the blame for Juliet’s death. Although other characters can also be linked to the reason of Juliet’s death, such as Friar Lawrence or the nurse, it does appear that Capulet is a key character to blame.
In act 1 scene 5, Paris is talking to Capulet. Although Capulet tells Paris that she has to win Juliet’s love by wooing her, he also says; ‘lies my consent’. This indicates that this is seen as an arranged marriage. This can be in the form of dramatic irony as in the prologue the reader knows that Juliet will fall in love with someone that will upset her parents. This cannot be Paris, as Capulet has shown fondness for him, as Capulet is prepared to give his daughter to him. At this moment in time it does not appear that Shakespeare has indefinitely showed that Capulet is to blame for Juliet’s death, as in this scene it appears that Capulet shows love for his daughter by telling Paris to ‘woo’ her, while on the other hand he is giving him permission to marry her, even if it is in several years time.
Another section of the play shows how Capulet could be to blame for Juliet’s death. USE THE 5 WS TO EXPLAIN THE CONTEXT OF THE QUOTE In act 3 scene 5 Capulet has told Juliet that she is to marry Paris. However Juliet pleads with her father to allow her not to marry. Although Capulet or his wife does not know, the reader AUDIENCE knows that she does not want to marry Paris because she is already married to Romeo. Here the reader sees how Capulet takes a very dominant role as the father. He orders her that she will ‘go with Paris to St. Peter’s church. When Juliet protests further Shakespeare demonstrates how self centred and selfish Capulet is and remarks that is she does not marry Paris, whether she would be lying on the streets or hanged/ For by my soul I ne’er acknowledge thee.’ These quotes show how Shakespeare is beginning to portray Capulet as a more nasty and dominant character. MORE ANALYSIS NEEDED HERE, YOU INTERPRET THE LINES This is a different character persona as at the party, Capulet is shown as a kinder person, remarking that there would be no fight with Romeo, and even compliments on his character. However now Capulet is seen as a vicious dominant father, who has no consideration for anyone, even his daughter. This character change is both detrimental to the play, and a chance for Shakespeare to show how influenTial Capulet is for the death of his daughter Juliet.
It can be seen that by Capulet forcing Juliet to marry Paris, when she did not want to, it had driven her to see Friar Lawrence. They both conjured a plan, that due to unfortunante circumstances did not work and resulted in her death.
Although Capulet is not the only party to blame, he does play an important role in Juliet’s death.

B+ grade. In order to attain an A grade you need to analyse your quotes in more depth, and use the 5Ws to explain the context of the quote. By Michael Lazenby

1 comment

  1. it doesnt have any info on capulets relations with juliet after her fake death

    from Dina Nasser

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