When Montague and Capulet enter and see the disturbance, they want to fight, too. What do their wives say?

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robertwilliam's profile pic

robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Enter Old Capulet in his gown, and his Wife.
What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!
A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?

My sword, I say! Old Montague is come
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.

Enter Old Montague and his Wife.
Thou villain Capulet!—Hold me not, let me go.(75)

Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe. 

There you have it. And it's important to note that, even at this very first stage of the play, Shakespeare undermines the seriousness of the feud by emphasising the fact that it is being fought by infirm old men, more suited to the crutch than the sword, who are being chased around by their nagging wives. This is - emphatically - not bloody brutality. It's not The Godfather. He's trying to make it funny.

lit24's profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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In Act I Sc.1 just asTybalt and Benvolio begin to fight and "three or four citizens" of the watch try to break up the quarrel, "old Capulet " and his wife arrive on the scene. The aged Capulet flies into a rage and wishes to join in the fight and calls for his "long sword," but he is checked by his wife who sarcastically remarks "A crutch, a crutch!Why call for a sword?" Meaning, 'why do you call for your sword to fight with when what you actually need is a crutch to help you walk properly.' She tells her husband that he is too old to fight.

"Old" Montague also arrives on the scene and he also wants to challenge "old" Capulet to fight with him. But Lady Montague orders him bluntly to remain where he is: "Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe."

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