In Act 1, Scene 3, why does Lady Capulet visit with Juliet and what questions does she ask her?
Lady Capulet calls Juliet to her room in this scene to find out how she feels about marrying the character Paris. The scene begins with a discussion of Juliet’s age. Although she is not quite fourteen yet, it is not shocking that in this time and place her parents would be looking to find her a husband. The first question her mother asks is:
How stands your disposition to be married?
It is a formality that she is being asked, because it is certainly her parents expectation that she will do as they wish. However, Juliet is less than enthused about the idea.
A little later in the exchange, Lady Capulet, sensing Juliet’s hesitation, asks the question a little differently:
Speak briefly, can you like of Paris' love?
Juliet’s mother is, in effect, asking if she can agree to be married to Paris anyway.
This scene creates the foundation for what will become the dramatic conflict that forms the basis of the rest of the play. Juliet is committed to Paris but wants Romeo, which leads to the need for deception that causes so much trouble.
In this scene, Lady Capulet visits with Juliet because she wants to talk about marriage. Specifically, she wants to know Juliet's feelings ("disposition") about getting married. Despite Juliet's young age, Lady Capulet informs her that many other girls from noble families are already married and have a child.
Lady Capulet then goes on to talk about Paris. She asks Juliet if she thinks she could love him. After all, as Lady Capulet explains, Paris is a fine man ("Verona's summer hath not such a flower"), and he is very handsome. Moreover, she says that Paris is lacking only a wife, and that any woman who marries him will be just as liked in society as he is. More importantly, his wife will share in his abundant material wealth and possessions.
Again, Lady Capulet asks if Juliet could love him, saying, "Speak briefly. Can you like of Paris, love?" In response, Juliet consents to consider him as a potential suitor.