What character is affected by familial prejudice in William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet and how is he or she affected?It's for an essay at school. We have to pick one character and explain...

What character is affected by familial prejudice in William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet and how is he or she affected?

It's for an essay at school. We have to pick one character and explain how familial prejudice affects his or her life. We need to use examples from the play to support our arguments.

Asked on by monikanieb

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misslacey | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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I'm not quite sure what you mean by "familial prejudice," so here are two different answers that you might be looking for:

If you mean prejudice within a family, then I think Juliet is the character who is most affected by familial prejudice. The strongest argument to support this would be the exchange she has with her father when she tells him she doesn't want to marry Paris. Capulet sees his daughter as property. Since he has a daughter, and not a son, he expects that she will do what he says and marry who he wishes. This conflict reaches its boiling point in Act III, Scene v, when Capulet tells Juliet, "An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend; An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets, for by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee, nor what is mine shall never do thee good." You can basically look to any of the conversations between Juliet and her parents for signs of gender discrimination, though that was sort of the standard back then.

If you mean prejudice against a person simply because he or she belongs to a certain family, then I would write about Romeo. He is basically a peacemaker, yet Tybalt has an issue with him being at the Capulet party, simply because he belongs to the Montague family. In Act I, Scene v, Tybalt says, "Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe; A villain, that is hither come in spite to scorn at our solemnity this night." Tybalt assumes that Romeo is at the party to cause trouble, but we know from earlier in the text that Romeo is at the party because Benvolio urged him to attend to help him forget about loving Rosaline. Later, in Act III, Scene i, Tybalt urges Romeo to fight simply because he is a Montague and he crashed the Capulet party. Tybalt doesn't even know the reason why he is supposed to hate the Montagues; both families are carrying on this "ancient grudge." Though Romeo tries to speak peacefully to Tybalt before they fight, Tybalt says, "Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford no better term than this: thou art a villain." Tybalt will never see Romeo and anything other than evil, simply because of Romeo's family.

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