Juliet in Romeo and Juliet is the tender age of 13 during the play. In the first scene of the play, Nurse tells us Juliet’s age is almost fourteen. Juliet’s father, Lord Capulet, also tells Paris that she “hath not seen the change of fourteen years.” This is a shocking age for many modern readers of the play because we are not used to such young people getting married and falling so desperately in love like Romeo and Juliet do. However, back in the Elizabethan times when Shakespeare wrote the play, people did marry earlier than they do now. Boys were allowed to marry at 14, girls at 12. Marriages were often arranged between families like we see with Juliet and Paris before Juliet meets Romeo.
The age of Romeo (16?) and Juliet also demonstrates the intensity of young love and how passionate it can be. Their inexperience causes them to do drastic things, like kill themselves, something a more mature person might not do. Even though the idea of marrying at 13 is a little shocking to us today, it was not unusual during the time of Shakespeare. However, Shakespeare's choice of “star-struck” young lovers as the main protagonists also adds to the tragedy of the play.