3 Answers | Add Yours
In Act I, Scene 3, when the Nurse hears Lady Capulet say that Paris wants to marry Juliet, the Nurse says, "As all the world. Why, he’s a man of wax/Verona’s summer hath not such a flower" (I.3.78-79). The Nurse means that Paris is as perfect as if he were carved out of wax and that even summer flowers are not as physically perfect as he is. Lady Capulet believes that it's time for Juliet to be married because Juliet is almost 14 and there are girls from noble families who are her age or younger who are already expecting babies. It is clear that Lady Capulet wants Juliet married because it's what is expected of girls from noble families. The Nurse, however, truly loves Juliet. She says, "Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed. /An I might live to see thee married once, /I have my wish" (I.3.62-64). The Nurse wants to see Juliet married because she has always loved Juliet and wants to see her happy.
One of the most famous comic confidants of Shakespeare's play, the Nurse is certainly also the most loquacious, and she delights in hearing herself talk. For instance, when Lady Capulet asks the Nurse where her daughter is, the Nurse launches into a three-line response:
Now, by my maidenhead, at twelve year old,
I bade her come. What, lamb! What, ladybird!
God forbid! Where's this girl? What, Juliet! (1.3.4-6)
When Juliet does respond, Lady Capulet asks the Nurse to leave, but then calls her back, an indication that there is some tension between the mother and daughter on the subject of marriage. And, by having the Nurse present, they both can argue in favor of Juliet's marrying Paris. When, for instance, Lady Capulet describes Paris as valiant, the Nurse adds that "he's a man of wax," meaning that he is as beautiful as a wax figure. Then, she underscores Lady Capulet's observation "Verona's summer hath not such a flower" by saying "Nay he's a flower; in faith a very flower" (1.3.79-80).
Lady Capulet then applies the book metaphor to Paris, but the images also allude to the marriage contract that would benefit the Capulets with "gold clasps," "locks," and Juliet's making herself "no less"—that is, improving her social position. The Nurse expands on the "no less" by employing a sexual pun on pregnancy with her earthy humor enjoyed by the groundlings: "No less! nay, bigger; women grow by men" (1.3.97).
While the Nurse is certainly a comic figure and a bit foolish, there is no question that she loves Juliet and that she is favorably impressed with Paris as a suitor.
In Act 1, Scene 3, Lady Capulet seeks out Juliet to have a conversation with her about marrying Paris. Although Lady Capulet initially asks the Nurse to leave, she then quickly calls her back into the room. After Lady Capulet tells Juliet that Paris would like to marry her, the Nurse chimes in and says, in part, "As all the world-why he's a man of wax" (1.3.82). This means that Paris is the ideal man; similar to what an artist would make out of wax. The Nurse is trying to support Lady Capulet by further saying, "Nay, he's a flower, in faith, a very flower" (1.3.84). This is a general compliment towards Paris. in his plays, Shakespeare uses many references to nature and this is one of many. In this scene, the Nurse, has nothing but positive remarks about Paris.
We’ve answered 317,448 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question