How does love operate between Lord and Lady Capulet, Juliet, Nurse, and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These characters are all members of the Capulet family, so on the most basic level, familial love operates (well or poorly) between them. Lord and Lady Capulet are a loving man and wife. Juliet is their much beloved daughter. They are torn between protecting her, "She is not fourteen," and advancing her position and happiness in life: "[your] careful father, child; / ... / Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy [for you]." Nonetheless, their love cannot fathom Juliet's mysterious secret when on one day she is obedient, compliant and trusting, "I'll look to like, if looking liking move," and on the next, she is obstinate and recalcitrant, refusing her parent's wishes, though they know Juliet returns their love:

He shall not make me there a joyful bride.
when I do [marry] I swear,
It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,
Rather than Paris. (III.v)

Nurse, of course, is Juliet's nanny, her nurse from of old. Nurse has loved Juliet and raised her like she was her own. Juliet loves Nurse, trusting and depending upon her, which is what is to be expected from such a strong bond. As proofs, Juliet sends Nurse to learn Romeo's intentions for marriage, and Nurse is devastated by Juliet's seeming death after taking Friar Laurence's potent concoction:

Alas, alas! Help, help! my lady's dead!
O, well-a-day, that ever I was born! (IV.v)

Tybalt is Lady Capulet's nephew (some sources say Lord Capulet's nephew) and seems to live in the Capulet manor because (1) he is already at the party when the other guests arrive and (2) it was common practice in the Renaissance for relatives to live with wealthier ones. As Lady Capulet's nephew, Tybalt is subject to Lord Capulet's authority and command as we see at the party when Capulet commands Tybalt to leave Romeo alone and not to cause battle and bloodshed at the party:

Capulet. Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone.
    'A bears him like a portly gentleman,
Tybalt. I will withdraw; but this intrusion shall,
    Now seeming sweet, convert to bitt'rest gall. (I.v)

Yet there seems to be no love in Tybalt's heart for anyone. He seethes at Capulet for forcing him to leave Romeo in peace. He rushes against Benvolio refusing to believe Benvolio's assertion that he was trying to enforce the peace, not make war. Benvolio described him to Prince Escalus as having been vicious and seemingly without restraint.

Benvolio. The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar'd;
    Which, as he breath'd defiance to my ears,
    He swung about his head and cut the winds,

Shakespeare expects the audience/reader to trust Benvolio because there were laws against bearing false witness againstt another person, or lying about someone else's behavior or actions.  Since Benvolio does not lie to the Prince, the love within Tybalt's breast, if it is there, is fairly well disguised.

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Romeo and Juliet

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