How is Juliet's relationship with her parents portrayed in Act 4?

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kcoleman2016 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Romeo and Juliet, a Shakespeare tragedy, the titular character Juliet develops new conflict with her parents over the progression of the play. Before Act IV, Juliet has begun to rebel against her parents, secretly pursuing a romance with Romeo. However, in Act IV: 

  1. Juliet encounters Paris, whom her parents have chosen for her to marry. This interaction deeply saddens and angers Juliet, who feels powerless and angry at this decision made by her parents. At this point, their relationship is strained. 
  2. Juliet makes the decision to fake her death, and so pretends to acquiesce to her parents' demands that she marry Paris. She apologizes to her father for her earlier behavior. Here, the relationship is based on false premises. 
  3. Juliet bids farewell to her parents in a monologue, saddened to leave them but determined to be with Romeo. The relationship becomes complicated; Juliet does not hate her parents, but knows that to be happy, she must cause them great pain. 
  4. The Capulets discover Juliet's death and are heartbroken. Juliet, asleep, is unaware. 

Overall, it is a complicated relationship exacerbated by the powerlessness of Juliet, a young woman, during this era.