In Romeo and Juliet, how does Juliet react to her mother's idea of marriage? What does Juliet agree to do about Paris wooing her?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet's parents are considering Juliet's prospects as she is almost of an age when she should consider marriage and Paris has approached Juliet's father and suggested himself as a potential suitor for Juliet. However, her father points out to Paris that as Juliet is "yet a stranger in the world" (I.ii.8), he would prefer her to wait at least two years, or "summers," before he thinks she will be ready.

While discussing Juliet's approaching birthday, her mother asks Juliet directly how she feels about marriage and Juliet's frank reply indicates that she has not even given it any consideration as yet. Her mother then reminds her that many girls younger than she is are already mothers and that, in fact, she herself was about Juliet's age when she became a mother. She has brought up the matter because Paris "seeks you for his love" ( I.iii.75).

Juliet's mother wants Juliet to pay special attention to Paris at the "feast." Juliet must consider his features, demeanor, the look in his eyes and his potential—and how, in her mother's opinion, Juliet would complete him. Juliet, unimpressed but dutiful, agrees to her mother's wishes if her mother thinks it will help. As she says, "I'll look to like, if looking liking move" (98), but these words indicate that she does not believe that just looking at him and considering his attributes will change her mind. When Juliet sees Romeo, she will have no such concerns about her readiness or interest in marriage. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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