Describe the character of the Nurse and her role in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

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Jonathan Beutlich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The nurse is a great character, and she is quite multifaceted within the play. She is Juliet's primary caregiver; therefore, she and Juliet have a close relationship. What's really interesting about the relationship is that it functions quite differently throughout various points of the play. At times, she is like a mother to Juliet. Other times, the nurse is more like a giddy friend. When Juliet is in the process of falling for Romeo, the nurse is quite encouraging of Juliet's clandestine meetings with Romeo. Additionally, the nurse isn't afraid of making the occasional sexual joke around Juliet. This does a lot to show audiences the depth of their relationship, but it also does function as general comic relief to the audience. Regarding her motherly aspects, the nurse is fairly dependable when it comes to helping Juliet make decisions that will be best for Juliet. The nurse cares for Juliet's well-being. At the beginning of the play, the nurse's goal leans more toward Juliet's happiness. This is why she doesn't discourage the Romeo relationship, and it's also why she bluntly questions Romeo's intentions. She wants Juliet happy, and she doesn't want Juliet hurt. The nurse will eventually recommend that Juliet abandon Romeo and just marry Paris. This could be because she fears Lord and Lady Capulet , but I also think it is because she sees the wisdom in marrying Paris. Paris is good-looking and wealthy. He's also liked by the family. There are plenty of worse choices. Paris can care...

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