In Romeo and Juliet, when Lady Capulet says "I would the fool were married to her grave," what does this reveal about her relationship with Juliet?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Lady Capulet speaks the line "I would the fool were married to her grave" [3.5.143] after she has an argument with Juliet because Juliet refuses to marry Paris.

LADY CAPULET: Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn

The gallant, young, and noble gentleman,

The County Paris, at Saint Peter's Church,

Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.

JULIET: Now by Saint Peter's Church, and Peter too,

He shall not make me there a joyful bride!

I wonder at this haste, that I must wed

Ere he that should be husband comes to woo.

I pray you tell my lord and father, madam,

I will not marry yet; and when I do, I swear

It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,

Rather than Paris. [3.5.115-126]

The irony is that Juliet is already married to Romeo, and she's saying that she hates him to mislead Lady Capulet as to that fact.

Lord Capulet enters the scene, and he wants to know if Lady Capulet has told Juliet what he considers is the good news about marrying Paris.

CAPULET: ...How now, wife?

Have you delivered to her our decree?

LADY CAPULET: Ay, sir; but she will none, she gives you thanks.

I would the fool were married to her grave! [3.5.140-143]

Lord Capulet is infuriated at Juliet's rebellious attitude. Juliet begs on her knees to be allowed to explain her feelings to her him, but he has no interest in what she has to say.

CAPULET: Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch! [3.5.164]

Lady Capulet says "I would the fool were married to her grave!" in anger, but it's a dreadful and abhorrent thing to wish her only child dead simply because she doesn't want to marry Paris.

Clearly, Juliet's relationship with her parents is strained. The Capulets are not particularly loving parents. They don't understand Juliet, and they have very little patience with her. They want her to marry Paris for the status and wealth it will being to their family, and they have no concern about Juliet's feelings in the matter.

One interesting note about Lady Capulet's line is that it foreshadows what ultimately happens to Juliet, who is "married to her grave" all too soon.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Be careful with this quote, Lady Capulet does not know that Juliet is actually married to Romeo. However, this comment certainly functions to foreshadow the future as both fools who fall for Juliet end up married to "her grave". Lady Capulet is essentially washing her hands of Juliet here which demonstrates a great division in their relationship. Lady Capulet could actually care less about her daughter. She is almost wishing her daughter dead with this reference to the grave. She might be suggesting that there is no sense, no life left in this young woman. A girl always hopes that when division comes between herself and her father, a mother might be the one who tempers the relationship. That is not the case here, Lady Capulet takes the dad's side.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial