How can one compare and contrast Nurse and Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One thing that can be said concerning the similarities between Nurse and Juliet is that both feel very devoted love. While Juliet would do anything for her Romeo, so would Nurse do anything for her Juliet. She would even go so far as to traipse across Verona to retrieve a message from Romeo for her, help her become married to him in secret, and go out to Friar Laurence's cell to beg Romeo to come and comfort Juliet. Mind you, she did all this while believing in her heart that Juliet has actually made a bad choice, which brings us to some of the central differences.

Nurse actually thinks that Paris is very handsome and would make a desirable husband. We see this in one of the early scenes in which Lady Capulet tries to entice her daughter to think of marrying Paris at her young age. Nurse contributes, "A man, young lady! lady, such a man as all the world--why, he's a man of wax," intimating that she thinks Paris is very handsome (Act 1, Scene 3). Later, after she has relayed to Juliet about Romeo's plans to marry her that afternoon, she tells Juliet that she thinks she is making a foolish choice when she states, "Well, you have made a simple choice. You know not how to choose a man. Romeo! No, not he" (Act 2, Scene 5). Nurse later even confirms her preference for Paris when she says, "I think it best you married with the county. O, he's a lovely gentleman! Romeo's a dishclout to him" (Act 3, Scene 5).

Hence, the similarity between Nurse and Juliet is their devoted love, but their central difference is that they disagree on Juliet's choice of whom to love.


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