How does Shakespeare capture Juliet's awkwardness and isolation from Paris at Friar Laurence's cell in Romeo and Juliet?
In Romeo and Juliet Act V, the scene at Friar Lawrence's cell is both humorous and--as you say--awkward. It contrasts the joy and giddiness that Juliet felt there just a few days before when she married Romeo. Now, her husband is exiled, her Nurse has betrayed her, and her family has sped up her marriage to Paris. Desperately, she turns to Friar Lawrence for guidance.
- The scene is awkward because Juliet is already married, and Paris has come to arrange his marriage to her.
- The scene is awkward because Juliet despises Paris, and he says that she loves him. Observe this awkward exchange:
- Ouch! Paris thinks Juliet means that she loves Friar Lawrence, but she really means Romeo. If only he knew...talk about awkward!
- The scene is awkward because Juliet would rather go to confession (which every kid hates) rather than spend two seconds talking to Paris.
- The scene is awkward because Juliet would rather fake her death and stage her own funeral while still alive than spend two seconds talking with Paris. In short, Juliet would rather turn into a zombie (which is what she will become) rather than talk to this tool!
In this scene (Act IV scene 1), Juliet's lack of interest in Paris--and in fact her frustration with his professions of love--is apparent in her ambiguous speech. Juliet's comments upon finding Paris with the Friar may sound courteous on the surface, but they mostly serve as a screen for her true feelings. If you look closely you will find that many of Juliet's lines have a double meaning, often revealing her true indifference to Paris and her loyalty to Romeo.
After expressing concern that Juliet's tears have marred her face, Paris adds, "They face is mine, and thou hast slandered it." Juliet replies, "It may be so, for it is not mine own" (ln 37).
In the above line Juliet admits she is not being herself--that she has presented a false face to Paris. The dashes that follow indicate that she quickly turns to the Friar as a means to escape further conversation with Paris.
I think the most awkward aspect of the scene is that Paris tries to kiss her. It ends up being on the cheek or not at all but it's a rejection done in the name of Juliet's modest and propriety.
In addition, Juliet's sentences are short, her tone meaningless and hollow. The mood and attitude of Juliet appears emotionless. Anyone wanting somewhat to get married would show at the very least a little bit of happiness or emotion.
If I was Paris, I think I would wonder what was going on. I'd be curious if it really is the "inundation of her tears" that has her quiet and non-responsive or something else.