I need help analyzing a quotation from Romeo and Juliet: Juliet had refused to marry Paris; however she refused to her father which raised a massive dispute. Capulet says: ‘Hang thee, young...

I need help analyzing a quotation from Romeo and Juliet:

Juliet had refused to marry Paris; however she refused to her father which raised a massive dispute. Capulet says: ‘Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch’! The noun ‘wretch’ is someone who is thought to be a troubled person, this correlates to Juliet as in her father’s mind he thinks she doesn’t realise how lucky she is to marry Paris, someone who has such great qualities. In other words much greater to Romeo. Capulet uses the adjective ‘Disobedient’, to describe Juliet as she is failing to obey to her own father. This is incredibly effective because it makes us think during the 1400-1500s males were far dominant to females, as young girls were brought up to show the most respect to their father and comply with no questions. However Juliet has done the reverse of this and disobeyed. As a result of this Capulet throws insults at her to show his wrathful anger. He additionally uses repetition when he uses the metaphor ‘baggage’, to show his furious, but most importantly he is giving a clear message to her that she is a burden. That she is just there to weigh him down, nothing else. The punctuation (explanation marks) highlights how fuming and annoyed he is, and also let us visualise that his stage direction would be shouting.

Asked on by duane1236

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thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The term "wretch" derives from an Old English root that means a wanderer or outcast. It later picked up the sense of someone in a miserable state, both in terms of external circumstances and personal feelings. Given Shakespeare's date, it might be worth speculating that in marrying Romeo, Juliet does, in fact, etymologically, become a wretch or outcast, especially as the couple was planning to exile themselves from Verona.

"Baggage" when applied to a woman not only conveyed the sense of worthlessness in a generic manner, but specifically suggested a harlot or a woman of loose morals. Thus Capulet is stating that Juliet's disobedience and her refusal to make a proper marriage to a man chosen by her parents both violate the norms of respectable female behavior and are a form of sexual misconduct, bringing dishonor on her and her family.

Both words, therefore, express not only Capulet's anger but also what would have been commonly accepted social beliefs about proper behavior, with becoming an exile and not following contemporary conventions of arranged marriages both being viewed as problematic by the upper-class social standards of the period. 

Sources:
cbetances's profile pic

cbetances | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Your interpretation is pretty good, but there are some mistakes grammatically. I have corrected them:

Juliet refused to marry Paris because she loved Romeo, but when she told her father this, it caused a massive dispute. Her father, Lord Capulet is enraged and and insults her. One example is when he says, "Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!" (where is the citation for this???)

The noun "wretch" is defined as "someone who is thought to be a troubled person" (did you get this definition somewhere?). This tells the reader that Lord Capulet thinks his daughter doesn’t realize how lucky she is to marry Paris, someone who has such great qualities. Capulet also uses the adjective "disobedient" to describe Juliet, as she is failing to obey her own father.

This is incredibly effective because it shows the male dominance of the 15th and 16th century. Young girls were brought up to show the most respect to their father and comply with no questions asked; however, Juliet has done the reverse. As a result of this Capulet throws insults at her to show his wrathful anger. Additionally, he uses repetition when he uses the metaphor ‘baggage’, to show his fury and,most importantly, that he believes her to be a burden. Shakespeare's use of explanation marks show how enraged and annoyed he is, and also let us visualize his emotions and actions.

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