What is Paris's personality in Romeo and Juliet? What happens in the play as far as his perspective is concerned?  

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cldbentley | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Paris's personality is that of a soft-hearted, eager-to-please lover.  He appears to be infatuated with Juliet and anxious to do whatever he can to marry her as soon as possible.  He fails to recognize, whether due to ignorance or denial, any signs that might indicate that Juliet is hesitant or unenthusiastic about the prospect of marriage to him.  He is obviously sensitive and tender-hearted, which is evidenced by his reaction to Juliet's "death," after which he goes to her tomb to mourn.  Paris does not seem to possess a great deal of intellectual depth, but his emotional depth is evident.

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

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Paris is a young nobleman, related to the Prince, and has Lord Capulet's approval to marry Juliet at some point in time. Paris seems to be accustomed to getting his way because he pressures Lord Capulet on the subject of marriage right at the beginning of the play. For example, in Act I, Juliet's father reminds him that she is only 13 and needs to wait a couple of years before becoming a bride. However, from Paris's perspective, he's got her father's approval, so all he needs to do is be patient. Unlike Romeo, though, he follows the rules of propriety by first going to Juliet's father for permission to court and marry her. He is also conscious of the whole family's feelings when Tybalt dies because he backs off from courting Juliet to respect the family's grieving process. For example, Paris says that following after Tybalt dies:

"These times of woe afford no times to woo.

Madam, good-night; commend me to your daughter" (III.iv.8-9).

On the other hand, once Paris has Capulet's word to marry Juliet right away (to stop her tears for Tybalt), he seems insensitive to what she thinks about the forthcoming marriage. He prematurely calls Juliet his wife in front of Friar Laurence, and when she says "that may be, sir, when I may be a wife," he counters directly with, "That 'may be' must be, love, on Thursday next" (IV.i.20-21). It's as if Paris's only concern is what Juliet's father thinks and feels rather than what she thinks or feels. This is normal behavior at the time for arranged marriages, though. The men making the deal don't care what the woman thinks.

Finally, in Act V, Paris seems to truly be a man in love because he is grieving at Juliet's tomb. He is insulted that someone would interrupt his grieving, too, when he hears his Page whistle. He says the following:

"What cursed foot wanders this way to-night,

To cross my obsequies and true love's rite?" (V.i.19-20).

This quote shows that he believes that he is the only one who truly loved Juliet and the only one who should be there at her side. After Romeo kills him, he also asks to be placed by her side in the tomb; so it would seem that even though he used his power and influence to wed her, he may have actually loved her. Unfortunately, Paris's perspective is that of a clueless outsider who does not know Juliet's true feelings and dies in ignorance.


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