Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How does Juliet mature and become more independent throughout the play Romeo and Juliet? Please give specific examples.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Rather than maturing throughout the play, Juliet becomes more impetuous as her relationship with Romeo deepens.  That her acts of defying the Nurse and her father demonstrate Juliet's maturation are rather questionable.  Rather, Juliet acts defensively since she knows that she cannot obey them because she is already married.  Her defiance is simply desperation.   

Ironically, at the play's beginning Juliet displays a certain caution which she abandons later on.  For instance, when her mother suggests that she consider Paris as a husband, Juliet makes no commitment; she agrees only to look:

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 (1.3)

Then, in the last scene of Act V, when Romeo first approaches her and tries to  touch  her, she is reserved and tells him "you do wrong your hand too much." Again in the balcony scene of Act II Juliet is cautious as she tells Romeo who has made a vow to her "by yonder blessed moon."

O, swear not by the moon, th'inconstant moon,

That monthly changes in her circled orb,

Lest that thy love prove likewise variable. (2.2)

Yet, later on in the play, Juliet hurriedly elopes with her beloved, "her loathed enemy" of scene 5 of Act I.  When she learns that Romeo is banished, Juliet rushes to Friar Laurence and recklessly threatens to kill herself.  And, of course, she impulsively goes along with the scheme of Friar Laurence.  Again with great impetuosity, Juliet kills herself after finding Romeo dead.  So, her later acts certainly do not reflect her previous caution, nor do they demonstrate maturity. 

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think the biggest example of Juliet's maturity is that she starts to make decisions cod herself, and defy her parents even with harsh consequences. Her father tells her that he will disown her and throw her out on the street, and she still defies him. This demonstraes that she is beginning to make her own decisions. She also demonstrated independence with Romeo, and basically calls the shots in the relationship.

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lizbv eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Juliet begins the novel as a young, naive girl who obeys her parents instead of doing what she wants. When her parents want her to meet Paris, she replies that marriage is an honor she has not considered, yet agrees that she will "look to like, if looking liking move" (Act 1, scene 2).  However, she begins to change when she meets Romeo and asks if his purpose is marriage. SHe is actually the one to speed the relationship along in that she is the one to first bring up marriage and ask him to give his word to marry her if he is true in his devotion.  Juliet further advances her independence when she stands up to her father, Lord Capulet, and tells him that she will not marry Paris.  At this point, her parents abandon her as shown by her mother's statement to her "Look not to me for I am done with thee" (Act 3).  The only way she can gain back their support is to marry Paris. Finally, her biggest act of independence is when she turns from the Nurse, who trusted confidante prior to this, when the Nurse advises her to forget Romeo and marry Paris instead. Not hearing what she wants from the Nurse, Juliet chooses to do what she wants instead. 

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