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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what is Juliet's state of mind in Act 4, scene 1?...

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chrisketavong | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:26 PM via web

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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what is Juliet's state of mind in Act 4, scene 1? Please explain with textual evidence.

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:13 PM (Answer #1)

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In Act 4, scene 1 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is suicidal. In the span of just a couple of days, she has been secretly married to Romeo,her favorite cousin, Tybalt, has died, and she is forced to marry Paris or be cast out from her family. It is understandable that a 13 year-old would be deeply stressed at this point in her life. In order to communicate her feelings to Friar Lawrence about her situation, she threatens, "Be not so long to speak; I long to die/ If what thou speak'st speak not of remedy" (IV.i.68-69). Clearly, Juliet is on the verge of doing something extreme if she is not permitted to remain with Romeo and avoid marrying Paris. Her suicidal tendencies are actually first manifest when she asks the nurse about who Romeo is at the beginning of the play: "Go, ask his name.--If he be married,/My grave is like to be my wedding-bed" (I.v.140-141). By the time she reaches Act 4 and goes through so much turmoil, she's ready to put her belief-system to the test.

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