What conclusions would Shakespeare's audience reach about the relationship between Juliet and her parents?
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From viewing the play Romeo and Juliet on stage, Shakespeare's audience would draw the following conclusions:
- Juliet is a rich, spoiled little brat. She whines and pouts when she doesn't get her way. She bosses the Nurse around mercilessly. She rants against her father's decisions. Obviously, Juliet is used to getting her way. The one decision that backfires against Juliet is when she refuses to marry Paris. Lord Capulet renounces her and tells to die or beg in the streets.
- Juliet is closer to her Nurse than she is her mother, not only because Juliet confides her secret marriage to the nurse, but because Lady Capulet is a "hands off" parent who cannot abide children. Lady Capulet is more concerned with parties and high society; she doesn't even know Juliet's exact age.
- Juliet is a prize for her father to marry off. Lord Capulet negotiates her arranged marriage to Paris as if he were selling cattle. Even though this process was common at the time, Lord Capulet views Juliet more as an economic opportunity than a loved daughter to protect.
- Juliet is the possession of men, literally and figuratively. Not only would a young boy play the role of Juliet, but male actors would play the roles of Nurse and Lady Capulet. Obviously, the stage is a male-dominated microcosm of the male-dominated society at large.
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