Discuss the relationship between Juliet and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The initial impressions of the relationship between Juliet and her mother is one of a dutiful child and parent.  We can see this in the opening act when Lady Capulet summons her daughter and Juliet responds with, "Madam, I am here, / What is your will?"  We can use this as a type of benchmark to represent her relationship with her mother.  It is the meeting with Romeo and the concurrent planning of her own marriage where we start to see cracks in this relationship.  Juliet is motivated by two conditions that cause her to break from her mother.  The first would be the desire to be with Romeo.  The initial meeting between them and what had followed helped to create distance between both of them.  Additionally, as Juliet's desire increases and Lady Capulet's desire for control over her increases, Juliet's relationship with her mother becomes more frayed.

jashley80 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition, you may note that Lady Capulet, though rebuking her husband for his temper, does nothing after Lord Capulet tells Juliet that she can "hang, beg, starve, die in the streets" (III.v) if she refuses to marry Paris. Lady Capulet's loyalty to her husband is stronger at this point than her loyalty of - or love for - Juliet.

Lady Capulet ignores the pleas of her daughter, opting not to soothe her but to tell her "Talk not to me... I have done with thee" (III.v).

This may be integrating the traditional idea of being loyal to men/male family members, honoring your husband first, etc., and/or it can be reflective of a strained affection of the mother for her daughter (the duty of motherhood versus the love of being a mother).

*Quotes are from The New Folger Library Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, page 71.

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Romeo and Juliet

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