Elizabethan daughters were the possessions of their fathers. How does the language in act 3, scene 5 of "Romeo and Juliet" support this?

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The language in Act 3 Scene 5 reveals Lord Capulet's distant and domineering relationship with his daughter Juliet.  This relationship supports the idea that daughters were the possessions of the fathers.

First, Capulet demands that Juliet marry Paris, hastily, because of the sadness in the kingdom over Tybalt's death.  He does not consider his daughter's feelings (or lack there of) for Paris, nor her wishes at all in the matter of marriage.

He also reveals that all he has done for most of his life is seek for her a suitable husband, as if this is hisduty:

Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play,(185) 
Alone, in company, still my care hath been 
To have her match'd; (187)

When she refuses to obey his direction, he gives her no choice, nor does he even listen to her feelings.  In anger, he begins issuing threats.  He threatens to "cart" her to the wedding himself:

But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next 
To go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church, 
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. (158)

He then threatens to disown her if she refuses:  

An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend;
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. (203)

Futhermore, he calls her all sorts of distasteful names, which, because he is her father, are even more offensive.  He uses words like "green sickness carrion," "tallow face," "baggage," and "disobedient wretch" 

Juliet is treated like property, not like a human.  None of her feelings are considered.  Instead of patiently listening (or knowing his daughter in the first place through a relationship built over time), he simply threatens and uses wealth and security as his leverage.


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