Romeo and Juliet | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Act 3, Scene 4

Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Act 3, Scene 4 of William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet | Act 3, Scene 4 | Summary



It is late at night, and Paris has dropped in to speak to Lord Capulet and find out if Juliet has made a decision regarding his marriage proposal. Lord Capulet explains that everyone is tired and he has not yet had a chance to hear from Juliet because she is mourning Tybalt's death. As Paris is about to leave, Lord Capulet suddenly makes a decision: "I think she will be ruled/In all respects by me." He then decides he will tell his wife to inform Juliet that on Thursday she'll wed "this noble earl." Paris responds, "I would that Thursday were tomorrow."


Juliet's father partially respects his daughter's despair, though he also callously dismisses the need for that despair, remarking, "We were born to die." Whether he acts based on an inflated sense of his patriarchal power or the desire to please Paris, Lord Capulet employs the privileges of age and authority and advances the plot. The impending marriage serves as a ticking clock. Juliet and Romeo no longer will have the time they need to untangle from all of their troubles.

Paris's requests to Lord Capulet reveal little about his character, except that he is eager to marry. He doesn't impose himself or make strong demands; instead, he first shows respect for the Capulets' mourning: "These times of woe afford no times to woo." However, once Lord Capulet changes his mind, Paris offers no objection and indeed wishes the wedding could take place immediately.

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