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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which characters are static and which dynamic?

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bergcar | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 30, 2012 at 8:33 PM via web

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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which characters are static and which dynamic?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:20 AM (Answer #1)

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While we do not have space in this format to analyze all characters as either static or dynamic, below are some analyses that can help you with your own.

Static characters are characters that do not undergo any sort of change or personal growth, while dynamic characters, on the other hand, do, especially through reaching self-revelations. Frequently, minor characters will be static, while major characters will be dynamic.

One lesser character that is certainly static is Nurse. She is used for comic relief a great deal. She serves as Juliet's helper, but everything she does is with the purpose of making Juliet happy. Nurse does not necessarily approve of Juliet's choice in Romeo, which we learn when we see her say,"[Y]ou know not how to choose a man" (II.v.39-40). She continues to hold on to this belief, even encouraging Juliet to marry Paris after already being married to Romeo. Since Nurse's beliefs and attitude remains the same throughout the play, we can call her a static character.

Other static characters are very minor characters, such as Sampson, Greggory, Peter, etc.

While the dynamic characters will be primarily major characters, below are some smaller characters that are also dynamic and will help you further in your analysis.

It can be inferred that we can consider Romeo's cousin, Benvolio, to be a dynamic character. While Benvolio is presented as the peace maker of the play, even in the first scene, he makes the foolish decision to crash the Capulet's ball, which ultimately breaks peace. However, by the time we see him again before Mercutio is killed on the street, he is again trying to ensure peace by attempting to get Mercutio off the street. Hence we see Benvolio change from making stupid decisions to making wiser ones.

Another dynamic character, even though he does not play a large role, is Prince Escalus. Prince Escalus knows from the beginning of the play that the feud between the Capulets and Montagues is detrimental to the peace of Verona and lays down a severe punishment for fighting again. However, by the end of the play his own family member, Mercutio, is slayed as a result of the feud. Hence, in the final scene, he feels a great deal of remorse for not putting a stop to it sooner, as we see in his lines, "And I, for winking at you, discords too, / Have lost a brace of kinsmen" (V.iii.305-306). We can interpret the phrase "winking at you" as shutting his eyes to the situation, or disregarding(enotes) it. Hence, we see that even Prince Escalus has his own self-realization.

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