How is control shown in Romeo and Juliet? (Quotes and analysis)

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Romeo and Juliet, a play in which impetuosity and failure of judgment prevails, there is little control. However, within the society of Verona, there is a patriarchal control exerted. In the first act, for instance, when the feuding servants and then Tybalt and Benvolio and Lord Montague and Lord Capulet and other citizens enter into fray in the street, Prince Escalus and his train enter. Angered that his citizens are "enemies to peace," he addresses the crowd,

Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets
And made Verona’s ancient citizens.....
Cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate.
If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. (1.1.79-87)
 
Prince Escalus re-establishes control by dispersing the crowd with the threat that the next person who breaks the peace will be seriously punished. That the prince holds authority is underscored by Lord Capulet's remark to Paris in Scene 2 when he remarks, 
But Montague is bound as well as I,
In penalty alike.... (1.2.1-2)
 
Further, within the aristocratic families such as the Montagues, and particularly the Capulets, there is the patriarchal autocrat who rules the house. For instance, Lord Capulet speaks with Paris about the marriage of his daughter in Act I, Capulet is unwilling for Juliet to marry as she is so young. But, in Act III when Capulet decides that Juliet should then marry Paris, and Juliet begs him not to order her to enter into marriage, Lord Capulet orders his daughter,
Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!
I tell thee what. Get thee to church o' Thursday
Or ne'er after look me in the face. (3.5. 160-163)
 
Another area in which there is authoritative control is that of the Church with Friar Laurence as the representative of this control. As the religious leader in the community, Romeo and Juliet both come to him for advice, for him to marry them--
Come, come with me, and we will make short work,
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone
Till Holy Church incorporate two in one. (2.6.35-37)
 
--and for sanctuary. When Juliet is ordered by her father to marry Paris, she rushes to the cell of Friar Laurence for succor and advice; he gives her the vial that will make her appear as though she is dead. Friar Laurence tells her,
Hold, get you gone, be strong and prosperous
In this resolve....(4.1.125-128)
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