What is the general reaction of Lord Capulet, Lady Capulet, and Paris after they discover Juliet dead in Act 4, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The general reaction of Lord Capulet, Lady Capulet, and Paris is the same:  to grieve loudly and wildly at the discovery of Juliet dead on her wedding day.  According to the Capulets, Juliet has repented of her disobedience, gone to Confession, agreed to marry Paris, and gotten ready the evening before.  When they discover Juliet dead on the morning of the wedding, they share similar sentiments.  First, Juliet's mother discovers Juliet:

Accursed, unhappy, wretched, hateful day! / . . . But one, poor one, one poor and loving child, / But one thing to rejoice and solace in, /And cruel Death hath catched it from my sight!  (4.5.49-54)

Then it is Paris' turn to lament:

Beguiled, divorced, wronged, spited, slain!  Most detestable Death, by thee beguiled, / By cruel cruel thee quite over thrown! / O love!  O life!  not life, but love in death!  (4.5.61-64)

And finally, Lord Capulet joins in:

O child!  O child!  my soul, and not my child! / Dead art thou, dead! alack, my child is dead, / And with  my child my joys are buried!  (4.5.68-70)

Apart from the fact that all of them personify death in the midst of their grief, all of them proclaim loudly and with such force that it's difficult to tell their responses apart.  I find this incredibly ironic, considering the last argument where the parents threaten to disown their daughter for her lack of desire to marry Paris.  Suddenly, now that death has been the reason behind the divorce, they lament their daughter.  Even Friar Laurence chides them for this action:

The most you sought was her promotion, / For 'twas your heaven she should be advanced; / And weep ye now, seeing she is advanced / Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself?  (4.5.77-80)

Although it is not customary to consider a young girl's desires at the time, it is the parents' obstinate behavior that leads her to this "death."  This leads me to wonder whether the parents are more upset that their plans are disrupted than that their daughter is dead.  The Friar's response, of course, attests to this.  Of course, Friar Laurence has the knowledge that Juliet will wake in the arms of her true love, Romeo.  Little does the Friar know how things will vastly go awry.

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