Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How is Juliet and the Nurse's relationship represented in act 1, scene 3 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Nurse is presented in act I, scene 3 as a bawdy, talkative, repetitive woman who is coarser than either Juliet or her mother. From the Nurse's speech, we learn that her own daughter died at birth, at which point she was brought in as a wet nurse to the newborn Juliet. A wet nurse is a woman whom an upper-class woman like Lady Capulet would hire to nurse her baby for her, freeing the upper-class woman from having to breastfeed.

The Nurse has been with Juliet ever since birth, so their relationship is long-lasting and intimate. In fact, Lady Capulet at first tries to send the Nurse away so that she can talk to Juliet privately about the possibility of her marrying Paris. She remembers that there is no need to keep any secrets from the Nurse, so she is eventually included in the conversation.

It's clear that while the Nurse is close to Juliet, she is also an irritant. Her coarse humor gets on both Juliet and her mother's nerves, and they both ask her to stop talking.

The Nurse repeats a story...

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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schmiaah | Student

The Nurse is an interesting character whom I often relate to as the "comic relief" character, especially in this scene.  The Nurse played the role of Juliet's primary caregiver, and was also Juliet's wet nurse (breast fed her).  We know The Nurse has some signifigant attatchment to Juliet, as she basically raised her, but you can't help but read her part as almost a "best friend" type character.  She willingly, and freely talks about Juliet losing her virginity, and repeatedly laughs and jokes about the story of Juliet falling down and hitting her head (which leads to the sexual intercourse talk).  We have Juliet who is very weary of making committment and getting married, and The Nurse suports this decision for the most part.  The Nurse, though, is loud, obnoxious, and very inappropriate.  It would not be too far off to say that The Nurse is Juliet's driving force to make a rash and impulsive decision to give Romeo a chance and eventually marry him.  In Scene 3 we get more of who The Nurse is as a character, rather than the relationship her and Juliet share, but we can assume that they share one that is close and free.