Parental Love In Romeo And Juliet

What are some good quotes that represent the theme of parental love in Romeo and Juliet, particularly in Act 2?

Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only evidence we get of Romeo's parents' love for him is in act 1.  After the Prince chastises the Montagues and Capulets for the latest outbreak of violence, Romeo’s parents speak with his cousin, Benvolio.  Lady Montague asks him, "Oh, where is Romeo?  Saw you him today? / Right glad I am he was not at this fray" (1.1.106-107).  She is obviously concerned for her son, as he has been acting strangely lately, and she is pleased that at least he is safe from the recent hostility.  

Lord Montague continues, saying that Romeo is often seen in the sycamore grove, "With tears augmenting the fresh morning’s dew" (1.1.122).  He worries that Romeo seems so sad, sad enough that he can make a cloudy day feel all the more gloomy with his low spirits.  Like any loving parent, he is concerned for his son’s mental and emotional well-being.  He laments that Romeo will not open up to them, and instead, "private in his chamber pens himself, / Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out, / And makes himself an artificial night" (1.1.128-130).  Romeo keeps to himself totally and will not divulge the cause of his suffering. Lord Montague fears that Romeo’s depression will have terrible effects if he cannot unburden himself to someone.  Finally, Lord Montague tells Benvolio, "Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow, / We would as willingly give cure as know" (1.1.144-145).  Thus, Romeo’s father expresses both parents’ willingness to do anything to help Romeo through his sadness.

Later, when Romeo visits Friar Lawrence, he eventually persuades the friar to perform the marriage ceremony for himself and Juliet.  The friar says, "In one respect I’ll thy assistant be, / For this alliance may so happy prove / To turn your households' rancor to pure love" (2.3.90-92).  Friar Lawrence believes that the Montagues' and the Capulets' love for Romeo and Juliet, respectively, is a great deal stronger than their hatred for one another. He believes that the marriage between the two will outweigh the feelings created by the longstanding feud.  This does, in a roundabout way, show how much the families seem to love their children.

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a good question but a bit tricky.  It is Juliet's Nurse who offers the best example of parental love even though Juliet is not biologically her child.  The Nurse protects, dotes, and loves her charge with a zeal Lady Capulet has never expressed for her daughter.

For example, when Romeo begins to make noises about his infatuation, the Nurse is the first to test and challenge his intentions.  She warns:

"....But first, let me tell ye, if you should lead

her in a fool's paradise, as they say, it were a very

gross kind of behavior, as they say; for the

gentlewoman is young.  And therefore, if you should

deal double with her, truly it were an ill thing to be

offered any gentlewoman and a very weak dealing"  (2.5.152-167).

The Nurse also shows her long-term love for Juliet in a maternal way.   Her continued desire to protect the young girl and wish to see her happy seems motherly as well.  Continuing her conversation with Romeo, the Nurse tells him,

"Well, sir, my mistress is the sweetest Lady.  Lord,

Lord!  When 'twas a little prating thing -- O, there

is a nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain

lay knife aboard; but she, good soul, had as lief see

a toad, a very toad, as see him.  I anger her some-

times and tell her that Paris is a proper man,

but I'll warrant you, when I say so she looks as pale

as any clout in the versal world"  (2.5.195-202).