How does Juliet break the traditional patriarchal female mold?I also need quotes and techniques please.

Expert Answers
shakespeareguru eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Traditional patriarchal female mold" is quite a phrase.  However, if you are wondering how Juliet goes against the traditional role women in Shakespeare's day were expected to play, and/or how she steps outside the bounds of conventional behaviour expected of a young girl, there are many examples.

The first happens in Act I, Scene iii when we first meet her.  She is being prepared by her mother to meet a potential suitor at the party their family will host that evening.  After a long and glowing build up of Paris by both Lady Capulet and the Nurse, Juliet simply says:

I'll look to like, if looking liking move,

But no more deep will I endart mine eye

Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

Basically, Juliet has says, if he looks good to me, I'll see if I like him, but your endorsement of him actually makes that less likely.  So, she is making it loud and clear that she intends to follow her own heart and that the support of her mother doesn't make a hill of beans to her.  This point of view was completely nontraditional in Shakespeare's day, when young women had very little, if any say in who they married.

Juliet continues this headstrong behaviour in two significant scenes:  In Act II, Scene ii, she is actually the one that "proposes" to Romeo:

Three words, dear Romeo, and goodnight indeed.

If that thy bent of love be honorable,

Thy purpose marriage...

...all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay,

And follow thee my lord throughout the world.

Even today, it's a bit unusual for the woman to do the "asking" for the man's hand in marriage.

But the moment that is potentially the most significant is Act III, Scene v, when Capulet tells her that she will marry Paris and she basically replies, "Thanks, but no thanks."  She stands strong even as her father shuns her from his sight saying:

...Hang!  Beg!  Starve!  Die in the streets!

For by my soul I'll ne'er acknowledge thee,

Nor what is mine shall never do thee good.

Going against her father's commandment to marry Paris would have left Juliet with grim possibilities.  Her father would have been right on the mark when he predicted she would beg, starve, and die in the streets.  So she steps completely outside the bounds of female propriety here in order to protect her secret marriage to Romeo.

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question