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One question you may want to address right away is, do you mean the feelings in that scene, or their feelings overall in acts 3 and 4? Act 4, scene 4, should not be the only measure of the parents' feelings. The challenge is to weigh what they say in their last encounters with the living Juliet versus their words to the "dead" Juliet and then make an evaluation. Feelings are complex, as are parent-child relationships. Each scene is a snapshot of one mood of the parents toward their daughter, so you need to weigh all the "photo evidence." Are we getting true feelings here -- can we trust the reactions -- or are they unreliable? Do the final feelings in the death scene prove their feelings overall, or just their feelings in that moment?
You will recall in scene 5 of act 3, here are the final words of Lord Capulet and Lady Capulet:
Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise:
An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend;(200)
An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good.
Trust to't. Bethink you. I'll not be forsworn.
Note his sworn promise: he is fine with Juliet starving and dying in the streets. How would you characterize his feelings toward his daughter here? Also weigh why he is so very angry; does his promised punishment fit this crime?
Juliet rushes her mother and pleads for assistance. Lady Capulet responds:
Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word.
Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.
Wow. Translation? Mother is saying, "I'm done wih you." You have no hope here. Now characterize her feelings toward Juliet, and ask yourself, is this a reasonable reaction?
Then, in scene 2 of act 4, Lord Capulet shows a kinder, more forgiving face. First, he calls her "my headstrong," which in using "my" shows us that he has some ownership and affection, right? (If you really hated someone, would you call that person your own?) Then he says:
My heart is wondrous light,
Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim'd.
How is he feeling? Why? How did he view Juliet's behavior if he calls her "wayward" and says she's been "reclaim'd"?
As you're assessing the parents' behaviors, you might ask, How were daughters expected to behave in Elizabethan England? You probably know that girls were the property of their parents, especially their fathers. This might shed some light on why Lord Capulet sees his daughter as "reclaim'd."
Now, in scene 5 of act 4, Lady Capulet says:
O me, O me! My child, my only life!
Revive, look up, or I will die with thee!
What is your reaction to, in particular, the phrase, "my only life"? What type of emotion is shown here?
Meanwhile, Lord Capulet says:
O child! O child! my soul, and not my child!(65)
Dead art thou, dead! alack, my child is dead,
And with my child my joys are buried!
His grief is commensurate with Lady Capulet's. They are distraught, so much so that the Friar reprimands them.
Interesting how the Friar chastises the two parents here, just like children. (Remember how he was doing the same to Romeo not too long ago, and trying to talk Juliet and Romeo down from desperate and suicidal behavior?)
So, now take these three scenes and draw a conclusion. What are the sum total of these parents' feelings for their daughter?
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