Does Lord Capulet really love Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?
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I would definitely argue that Capulet does indeed love his daughter Juliet. However, he also has his character flaws. He is prideful, arrogant, and very hot tempered. Not only do these character flaws show up earlier in the play, more importantly, they show up in Act 3, Scene 5 when Juliet refuses to marry Paris. Hence, Capulet's ungoverned display of character flaws in this scene makes it seem like he doesn't truly love her. We must also remember that in this time period, parents expected absolute obedience of their children. An offspring showing his/her own opinion simply wasn't tolerated, and his reaction to Juliet's insistence on following her own mind also makes it seem like he does not truly love Juliet.
The first evidence we see showing that Capulet truly loves Juliet is with respect to his first answer to Paris's plea for her hand in marriage. In the very second scene of the play, through Capulet's response to Paris's request, we learn just how important Juliet is to Capulet. We learn that as his only child left, Juliet has become very important to him, and he is not just yet willing to let her grow up. We also learn that he values his daughter's opinion, and will only consent to Paris's request if she agrees as well, which is positive proof that he does indeed love is his daughter, as we see in his lines:
My will to her consent is but a part.
An she agree, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice. (I.ii.17-19)
However, while he does love her, he also has character flaws that make it seem like he does not. We see his flaw of having a fiery temper in the very first scene when he is presented as the first one to join in on the servants' fight. He even blames Montague for the fight, even though Montague joins the fight after Capulet. Placing blame on Montague also shows us his character flaw of excessive pride and arrogance. Hence, it's no surprise that these three character flaws emerge when Juliet refuses to marry Paris, especially considering he made the decision to have her marry him because he saw it as a healthy distraction from what he perceives to be her severe grief over Tybalt. The fact that he considers her excessive grief to be a danger to her and wants to help her out of her grief again shows us just how much he loves her, despite the fact that his character flaws also drive him to threaten to disown her.
The patriarch of the Capulet family, father of Juliet, husband of Lady Capulet, and enemy, for unexplained reasons, of Montague. He truly loves his daughter, though he is not well acquainted with Juliet’s thoughts or feelings, and seems to think that what is best for her is a “good” match with Paris. Often prudent, he commands respect and propriety, but he is liable to fly into a rage when either is lacking.
I think that Lord Capulet thinks that he loves Juliet. He believes that he is acting in the interests of one who loves his daughter. Yet, I think that one can find much in way of evidence to suggest that Lord Capulet's interests are more in line with preservation of his name and family's status, as opposed to the welfare of his daughter. When Parris asks for Juliet's hand initially, Lord Capulet makes the decision unilaterally that she is too young. When the notion presents itself later on in the drama, he jumps at the potential for an alliance. In either situation, Lord Capulet never takes his daughter's voice into account. He is more concerned with his actions being respected and swiftness demonstrated more than the voice of his daughter.
No better is this seen than in Act III, sc. 5. It is here in which Juliet demands her voice be heard and Lord Capulet is fairly intense in his response. He insults her. When he confronts his daugther's voice as a young woman, Lord Capulet speaks in a manner that is hardly that of love:
Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch! / I tell thee what—get thee to church a Thursday / Or never after look me in the face. / Speak not, reply not, do not answer me! / My fingers itch.
The manner in which Lord Capulet's beliefs are revealed are ones that show love to be absent. Even if one were to concede that he was angry more than anything else, it is difficult to make a case that Lord Capulet demonstrates a sense of unconditional love towards his daughter.
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