How are Lady Capulet's feelings for Juliet shown when Nurse and she discover Juliet's "death" in Act IV, scene v of Romeo and Juliet?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act IV, scene v of Romeo and Juliet, Nurse has entered Juliet's chamber on the morn of Juliet's marriage to County Paris. Nurse is trying to rouse Juliet from sleep with jests and exclamations. Finally she uncovers Juliet. This is when she discovers that Juliet is dressed and her flesh is cold. Nurse calls for help, and Lady Capulet enters. Considering that in Act III, scene v, Lady Capulet has sworn that she finished with Juliet because she refuses to wed Paris, Lady Capulet's reactions to Juliet's seemingly lifeless form are very important to understanding Lady Capulet and the things that follow. Nurse is yelling:

Alas, alas! Help, help! my lady's dead!
O, well-a-day, that ever I was born!

Then, Lady Capulet enters and cries out:

O me, O me! My child, my only life,
Revive, look up, or I will die with thee!
Help, help! Call help.

The audience is here relieved to know that Lady Capulet does in fact have natural feelings of love and motherhood for her daughter: It is clear that Lady Capulet is in deep shock and dismay at finding Juliet thus.
Shakespeare goes further to show Lady Capulet's feelings by having her continually lament in an alternating chorus with Nurse, whose love for Juliet we have never doubted (thus giving an added measure of sincerity and authenticity to Lady Capulet's outcries):

Alack the day, she's dead, she's dead, she's dead! ...
O woful time! ...
Accursed, unhappy, wretched, hateful day!
Most miserable hour that e'er time saw ...
And cruel death hath catch'd [Juliet] from my sight!

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question