Regarding Romeo and Juliet, Act 3: Do you think Juliet's parents were right to arrange Juliet's marriage?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the answer to this lies in examining the relationship between Juliet and her parents.  Shakespeare seems to be suggesting that arrangements bartered by parents who have a poor relationship with their children are going to result in disastrous results.  It is not that Shakespeare is going against arranged marriages.  He is more complex than that.  I think that he is suggesting the difficulty present in making arrangements for children when there is not a foundation of love and respect guiding such decisions.  It is apparent to the reader that the relationship between Juliet and her mother is problematic.  Juliet has evolved from a young girl, obedient to parents, to a woman, capable of making decisions on her own. When she pleads her mother for help, there is little response. It is really telling that Lady Capulet's response to Juliet's pleas for understanding and her veiled articulation of the evolution of her character reflects a bond of nothingness between parent and child:   “Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.”  At the same time, her father's intense reaction to Juliet's inertia is also noteworthy as there is a greater fear of public response and reputation more than child welfare.  In this light, Shakespeare is suggesting that parents cannot expect to embrace the traditional aspects of making decisions for children if they are not in tune with those children.  It is in this light that Shakespeare sets up the parents' decisions to result in failure.  When parental bonds of understanding dissolve, Shakespeare seems to be indicating that bad things await.

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