How does Zeffirelli present the Montague and Capulet parents?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Montagues are presented as caring, loving parents who worry about Romeo. They come to his defense after Tybalt is killed, begging Prince Escalus not to take Romeo's life.

Juliet's parents are presented differently. Lord Capulet is first shown as a father who cares about his daughter, telling Paris that Juliet should wait a couple of years before marrying. At the party, he is shown as a fun-loving host who enjoys giving parties. We get a sense of his temper at the party however. When Tybalt wants to confront Romeo for crashing the Capulet party, Lord Capulet gets angry at Tybalt, telling him he's the master of the house, and Tybalt should ignore Romeo. We later see Lord Capulet's temper when Juliet refuses to marry Paris. Capulet is furious that Juliet has defied him and threatens to throw her out on the street. Juliet is truly afraid of him.

Lady Capulet is shown in much of the film as a cold, vengeful woman. At the beginning, she approaches Juliet about marrying Paris, but it's obvious that Juliet is not very close to her mother. At the party, Lady Capulet tells her husband to be quiet when he and Tybalt are arguing about Romeo. She wants revenge against Romeo for killing Tybalt, asking Prince Escalus to sentence him to death. She even goes so far as telling Juliet that she is going to have someone go to where Romeo has been banished and kill him. She thinks Juliet is crying because of Tybalt's death. When Juliet refuses to marry Paris, Lady Capulet exhibits her coldness as a parent even more. She is also furious at Juliet and doesn't try to help her in any way when Lord Capulet threatens to disown Juliet.