How do you make the female voice stronger in Act 1, Scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet?  

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Depending on how you play Juliet, you can make her appear strong or weak in this scene.  On the surface, Juliet does not have much to do or say in this scene.  She can be interpreted as very passive.  However, if you look closely you will see many opportunities for Juliet to respond to what the Nurse and her mother are saying.

The best opportunity to strengthen Juliet’s character is through her responses to the Nurse’s speech.  She can sit back and just listen, or she can use her facial expressions and body language.  She can either be embarrassed, or think it is funny.  Based on Juliet’s lines, she probably would be better off being amused.

For instance, when Juliet’s mother asks her what she thinks of marriage, here is how she responds.

It is an honour that I dream not of. (Act 1, Scene 3)

This line can be delivered as a retort, and very sarcastically.  In other words, she really does not want to get married.  When she is asked about Paris, she seems to definitely give a witty and evasive answer.

I'll look to like, if looking liking move;

But no more deep will I endart mine eye

Than your consent gives strength to make it fly. (Act 1, Scene 3)

Juliet could deliver this line sweetly and sincerely, but she could also be bratty and sarcastic.  This gives her character another dimension, making her two lines very memorable.

Juliet is a strong woman.  She follows her own will throughout the play.  In this scene, she takes a backseat to two other strong women.  You can play this deferentially, but the typical bratty teenage attitude would be must more interesting.