The Capulet Parental RelationshipHow effectively does Shakespeare present Juliet's relationship with her parents to an audience in Romeo and Juliet?
In my opinion, as I read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet I get a powerful representation of the relationship between Juliet and her parents, much more so than Romeo and his.
I see a girl who feels somewhat trapped by their approval and set course for her life. Although in Act I they like to make it feel like she has a say in things like marriage, as stress mounts in their life, they take more and more control of their maturing daughter. We watch Juliet feel as if she can say what she feels for the most part, but then decides to hide a big secret. We know she is willing and feels comfortable expressing her opinion because she risked her father's wrath in Act III.v. If she was fully trapped, she wouldn't have even expressed her thoughts. As is, she did, and she got squashed for doing so. Juliet's relationship with her parents feels like a typical relationship for a teen to have: pushing boundaries and searching for the balance of what things in life can be shared, and what can't. Shakespeare accurately and very effectively portrays Juliet's relationship to her parents.
As is typical for Renaissance families of wealth, the daughter has a nurse/maid to care for her and accompany her. In many Renaissance families, the nurse was often an indigent single relative who is thus provided a home. For Juliet, the Nurse is more of a mother than her actual parent as she confides closely in the Nurse. There does not seem to be much of mother/daughter relationship with Lady Capulet and Juliet, who responds perfunctorily in the first act to her mother regarding marriage with Paris: "I'll look to like if looking liking move." After she says this, the mother does not inquire into Juliet's feelings. Then, in the fourth act, Lady Capulet again shows no concern for her daughter's feelings when she tells Juliet that she is to marry Paris. When Juliet demurs, Lady Capulet dismisses her,
Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word.
Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.
Shakespeare effectively portrays a rather distant, cold relationship between Juliet and her parents.
When things are going smoothly in the Capulets' home, all is well. This is probably typical of most homes, actually. Everyone is jovial and easy to get along with with--no obvious pressures. Once things get a little rough, dad takes over, mom acquiesces, the nurse is silenced, and Juliet must do what she is told. That's probably always been the case in this house, but there were no important decisions or pressing problems to force the players to assume their roles as the story begins. As the pressures mount, so does the tension. This is not a home where everyone may speak freely and do as they please unless there are no stresses in the offing--and there are plenty of stresses in this tragedy.
VERY effectively. As I read this tragedy, it almost seemed as though Juliet and her parents had more of a "friend-to-friend" relationship instead of a "parent-to-child" relationship. They really didn't interact well with each other at all. The part that comes tomind the most, is when Lady Capulet, Nurse, and Juliet are all in Juliet's bedroom getting her ready for the ball. Lady Capulet barely knew her daughter it seemed like. Nurse was the one who knew what Juliet felt, and how she thinks about certain things. Lady Capulet kept pressuring Juliet to get married to Paris, and Juliet DID NOT want to. She even told her mother that, however, Lady Capulet completely ignored what her daughter said, and continued anyway. It was Nurse who came to Juliet's rescue, and stuck up for her- this angered Lady Capulet. At this point, one can definitely see tension between Juliet and her parents. All in all, Juliet barely knew or understood her parents, and vice versa.