In the play Romeo and Juliet where do inner conflicts occur, and what are they?

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troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Inner conflicts occur when a character struggles with what to do in a certain situation.  The inner conflicts that occur are with Juliet mostly.  In Act III, scene 2, the Nurse delivers the horrible news that Romeo killed Tybalt.  Juliet has an inner conflict because she cannot believe that her love could kill her cousin.  However, she is now married to Romeo and must support him unconditionally.  She struggles with this a bit, but decides she must stand by her husband and accept his actions.

The next example is also Juliet's.  After Romeo is banished, Lord Capulet has set up the wedding for her to marry Paris.  She can't do this and after turning to both her mother and the Nurse, she finds that she is on her own.  Her inner conflict occurs in Act III, scene 5.  She has no support from either woman, so she goes to the Friar.  Her inner conflict is that she will talk the Friar into helping her, or she will take her own life.  She truly doesn't know what to do, but she goes to the Friar for advice and will have to make a decision.

The most prominent of all inner conflicts has to be the famous soliloquy of Juliet (Act IV, scene 3) in her bed as she prepares to take the potion that the Friar gave her to make her appear dead.  She can't decide whether to take it or not.  She has 3 main concerns: that the Friar is secretly trying to kill her, that it won't work and that she will have to marry Paris, and that she'd wake too early and be surrounded by dead bodies in the tomb.  These three quotes support this inner conflict.

"What if this mixture do not work at all?"

"What if it be a poison, which the friar
Subtly hath minister'd to have me dead"

"How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? there's a fearful point!"