Romeo and Juliet are clearly famous literature characters with definite labels and expectations of both of them.
Before reading the play, a clear expectation of Juliet’s character is respected and holds powerful position in society due to the status of her family. Furthermore I expected Juliet to be a self-conscious character, with a constant worry over her appearance to others. However this is not the case. Juliet acts differently to her expectations to the audience.Juliet first appears in Act 1 Scene 3 when she is called upon by Lady Capulet, her first appearance to the audience is as though she is acting as a servant for Lady Capulet. ‘Madam, I am here. What is your will?’ Surprisingly she shows a sense of loyalty towards her mother, furthermore she appears to commonly act as a servant for her mother by the language she uses when talking to her.My thoughts of a mother and daughter relationship would definitely not involve a servant act, played by the daughter.
This is surprising as my main expectation of Juliet was as a respected individual. Being called upon by Lady Capulet suggests to the audience, that perhaps Juliet has little importance in the play. In addition to this, Juliet is a young girl in a difficult social position.
Her behaviour throughout the play reflects that.A clear lack of closeness can be seen between Lady Capulet and Juliet at the start of Act 1 Scene 3, ‘Nurse where is my daughter?’ Lady Capulet gives off an impression that she is un-aware of Juliet’s actions. She also seems un-comfortable and shows an awkward tone during the presence of Juliet. It seems she isn’t quite sure what her role as a mother really is.
‘Nurse, give leave awhile: We must talk in secret. Nurse, come back again.’ Lady Capulet shows an insecure relationship with Juliet here, perhaps she has always had guidance of the Nurse. A mother daughter relationship should include openness, however Lady Capulet cannot be open with Juliet, the Nurse is used as a kind of surrogate.Unlike Lady Capulet, the Nurse seems to be able to interact with Juliet. The two seem to be able to relate and a clear relationship can be seen by the audience. ‘Go girl, seek happy nights to happy days.
‘ The Nurse wants Juliet to be happy and shows affection towards Juliet. Perhaps this is because she feels it is her duty because she is close to Juliet. In addition she might feel sorry for Juliet because she doesn’t seem to receive any support or real emotion from Lady Capulet. The Nurse seems to understand Juliet; she seems to know what is best for her. Maybe Lady Capulet uses the Nurse to guide Juliet because she thinks the Nurse is better at it.A main expectation I had of Juliet would definitely give her a manipulative and commanding personality. Interestingly she does not give off a commanding side to the audience.
Despite this she does give off a stronger appearance than Romeo. During her first meeting with Romeo, she is the character in the stronger position. A clear anticipation of Romeo before the play is a strong, hero type character. Surprisingly he seems a little weaker and sensitive than expected. During the scene where he is wandering from the rest of the Montague’s, he shows a more affectionate side than the rest of the Montague’s and appears to be different. A major similarity that can be seen between Romeo and Juliet is that they both appear to be detached from the rest. Juliet is introduced off-stage, Romeo is moping about a lost love. They seem to be slightly individual to everyone else and this gives them a more personal appearance to the audience.
They have a different character and are not just average.Interestingly a connection can be seen between Romeo and Juliet immediately at their meeting. A spark can be seen between the two characters. Going against my expectation of Romeo’s strong character, we find him chasing Juliet and immediately showing affection towards her. Surprisingly not for the first time Romeo finds himself in a weak position, within the Capulet party.Juliet expresses a different side during the presence of Romeo. Between them they find themselves almost rebelling against their expectations. Juliet is supposed to be marrying Paris however finds herself falling in love with Romeo.
She shows signs of strength and wants to do what she wants to do. Romeo seems to launch straight into his love for Juliet. ‘Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, for I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.
‘ Romeo shows signs of his affection and sensitivity here and that he is not such a strong character he could be expected to be. A question can be asked that can Romeo really fall in love straight away. Perhaps he doesn’t know what love really means.Unlike Romeo, Juliet doesn’t launch straight into her love for Romeo. She is playing a more ‘hard to get’ role and this is shown in the famous Shakespeare balcony scene. For the second time in the play Romeo finds himself in a weaker position. Juliet has a higher stance and her strong role is represented by her introduction to the scene in a position up high in the balcony. It is as if she is looking down upon Romeo.
This furthermore suggests Juliet has more importance than Romeo. In this scene Romeo again launches straight in to telling Juliet how he feels.He shows a little too much emotion and this suggests he is slightly weaker and sensitive.
‘With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls, for stony limits cannot hold love out’ Juliet simply replies with ‘If they do see thee they will murder thee.’ We are now aware that Juliet is thinking more of the well being of Romeo and the consequences of his actions. She is also scared that Romeo will be caught and would rather him be safe than them share their love. This also shows she is less sensitive, rather more sensible than Romeo. She is showing her intelligent side, which the audience only clearly sees during the presence of her Romeo.Juliet is clearly thinking more realistically than Romeo. She is telling him to think more seriously about his love for her. ‘It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden, too like the lightening.
‘ Romeo keeps coming out with soppy lines trying to impress Juliet and she is telling him to be serious and realistic. This suggests that Juliet thinks more clearly and intelligently, unlike Romeo who tries to impress Juliet. Juliet boldly states that she is worth more than other girls and Romeo will have to do more than come out with soppy weak comments trying to impress her.
At this point Juliet shows her stronger side we only seem to see her express during the presence of Romeo. Our opinions then change from the servant like girl we are first introduced too and are expectations begin to get met.