Juliet.pdf - Edexcel English Literature GCSE Romeo and...

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All images sources from Edexcel English Literature GCSE Romeo and Juliet: Character Profile Juliet
Juliet Capulet INTRODUCTION Juliet is the female protagonist of the play. She makes up the “...pair of star-crossed lovers…” the tragedy is centred around. Although Juliet is only 13, Capulet arranges her marriage to Paris in the first scene she is mentioned. Thus, Shakespeare presents her as an object of desire whose only function is to be married. Although she is seen in such a reductive way, the character displays complexity and maturity which contrasts with her young age. The protagonist can be perceived as an anomaly in the play, as she is the only character who attempts to reject the societal pressures she faces: she insists on marrying for love and takes action against her circumstances . Juliet becomes the catalyst that causes the metamorphosis of Romeo from a Petrarchan lover to a Shakespearan lover . Ultimately, the two lovers meet a tragic end, but Juliet’s action at the end of the play signifies the lengths to which the character is able to go in order to assert her freedom. CHARACTER IN CONTEXT The Nurse Juliet’s close relationship with her Nurse directly contrasts with how distant she is with her mother. This reflects how many upper-class mothers did not raise their own children. Instead, the Nurse carries out the role of the traditional mother ; she gives Juliet advice, looks after her and even elaborates that she breastfed Juliet. This can be seen in the quote, “For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,” outlining how Juliet’s relationship with the Nurse is more naturally maternal than with Lady Capulet. Furthermore, the Nurse has to sleep in the same room as Juliet as a way of preserving Juliet’s chastity ( her virginity ). This shows Elizabethan patriarchal views of female sexuality . Female sexuality was seen as dangerous , therefore it was important to subdue female sexuality. Sonnet form Traditionally, the sonnet form was used by men to write about women. The women were usually portrayed as objects within the poems and therefore had no agency . However, Shakespeare subverts the form as Juliet, a female character, speaks to Romeo in the sonnet form. Juliet’s ability to communicate with Romeo on an equal footing would have been unusual at the time which
would have shown the audience that she wasn't a stereotypical Elizabethan woman. In this play, although still written by Shakespeare himself, Juliet participates in constructing the Sonnet form, for example, the first 14 lines of dialogue between Romeo and Juliet is a sonnet. Shakespeare thus allows a woman, who is seen as an object by the male characters within the play, to become the subject within this dynamic. Through giving his female character agency Shakespeare's use of the sonnet subverts the patriarchal dominance over the form. Through giving his female character a typically male voice Shakespeare has allowed female agency to take place within the play. (Shakespeare gives many of his female characters agency, can you think of

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