In Romeo and Juliet, and what is the significance of the passage in Act IV, scene 1, lines 18 through 44?
Why did Shakespeare include these lines?
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Shakespeare added the dialogue that takes place between Paris and Juliet in Act IV, Scene 1, lines 18 through 44 to give us the opportunity to see just how strong Juliet’s character actually is. These lines are important because, in them, we see that Juliet is not just a weeping, love-struck woman who is struck with tragedy. She is actually a very strong woman, capable of defending herself and of not being bullied into submission by Paris, despite how frightened and distressed she is by her situation. To everything that Paris says to her, she responds with witty retorts and denials. For instance, when Paris greets Juliet as his wife and she denounces being his wife (“that may be, sir, when I may be a wife” line 18). When Paris announces in line 20 that she must become his wife on next Thursday, Juliet denounces the necessity of becoming his wife by illusively saying “What must be shall be.” Paris continues the conversation by telling Juliet not to deny that she loves Paris and Juliet denies that she loves him by saying, instead, that she loves the friar (line 26).
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