I am doing a character analysis for The Nurse from Romeo & Juliet. I need to know character traits for the Nurse, and evidence behind them.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I will provide a couple of character traits of The Nurse, according to eNotes' Romeo and Juliet study guide and I will give some places where you can find evidence for them:

  1. The Nurse is bawdy and vulgar.  She doesn't worry about being proper or polite even around her master or mistress.  So when we first see her in Act I, Scene 3, she swears "by my maidenhead, at twelve year old."  This is clear evidence of her being bawdy -- you wouldn't think someone would refer to sexual matters around their boss.
  2. She talks a lot and in a sometimes confused manner.  Later on in this scene, Juliet's mother talks about how old Juliet is and The Nurse goes off on this long discussion of how she knows how old Juliet is.  Finally, Lady Capulet has to just tell her to shut up.

These seem to me to be her two greatest character traits if you are just talking about what she's like as a person, as opposed to how people see her, etc.

I hope that helps...

archteacher's profile pic

archteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

If you are writing the character analysis, you actually have to do some detective work to find out what the nurse's character traits are.  You can examine the following:

The nurse's actual words.  Check out the nurse's longer speeches in particular.  You'll notice that she makes lots of jokes/puns.  What kind of jokes are they?  What do they say about her personality?

The nurse's relationship with Juliet.  This is her closest relationship, so it should show the audience something about her.  Is she caring or uncaring?  Loyal or not?  Selfish or selfless?

The ways in which the nurse helps Romeo and Juliet.  Is the nurse acting with forethought, or is she being hasty?  Does she handle things in an intelligent fashion?  Does she make good or bad decisions?

The nurse's behavior around Romeo and his friends in 2.4.  Is she behaving like a servant addressing a group of young noblemen?  What does this mean in terms of her self-image?

There is lots of other information to work with, but hopefully this will give you a good start.

Good Luck!

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