How does Lord Capulet's attitude change from Act I, Scene 2 to Act III, Scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act I, Scene 2, Lord Capulet appears to think of his daughter Juliet tenderly. However, in Act III, Scene 4, Lord Capulet acts less with his heart and more with his will and cultural role.

When Paris first asks for the hand of Juliet in marriage, Lord Capulet is mainly concerned with the celebration of his daughter's birthday, and like a father who seems disinclined to discuss anything outside the festive night's activities for his beloved child, he suggests that Paris wait because his daughter is too young at this time.

However, in the scene which follows after the untimely death of Lady Capulet's nephew Tybalt and the resurgence of animosity between his and the Montague family, Lord Capulet seems much less concerned with the feelings of his daughter than he has previously. Assured of his own patriarchal authority, Lord Capulet tells Paris:

Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender
Of my child’s love. I think she will be ruled
In all respects by me. Nay, more, I doubt it not.—(3.4.12-14)
Underscoring this issue of patriarchal authority, Michael Rustin argues in his critical commentary on the play that Romeo and Juliet concerns itself with the modern emotion of romantic sexual love and the "inability of medieval society to deal with this emotion." Rustin points out that medieval society in both Verona and England was based upon patriarchal authority, and that the romantic Romeo and Juliet "were at odds with this structure." Perhaps, then, much of Lord Capulet's decision in Scene 4 and his ire later in Scene 5 is due to the challenge that Juliet presents to this patriarchy.   
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 1, Scene two, Lord Capulet tells Paris to wait two more years before he starts to think about marrying Juliet. Capulet goes on to tell Paris that his permission is only part of her decision. Lord Capulet demonstrates his tolerance and respect for his daughter's opinion by commenting that he will give Juliet his blessing whether or not she agrees to marry Paris.

In Act 3, Scene four, Lord Capulet tells Paris that Juliet will obey any decision he makes. He then says that Juliet will marry Paris on Thursday. Lord Capulet proceeds to tell his wife to inform Juliet that she will be marrying Paris. Lord Capulet's drastic change in character concerning his daughter's marriage portrays his capricious personality. Instead of respecting Juliet's choice and trusting her decision, Lord Capulet becomes forceful and insensitive. His attitude changes from being respectful and sensitive in Act 1, to controlling and inconsiderate in Act 3.

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Romeo and Juliet

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