What items symbolize the Capulet family as presented in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and why?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When thinking about symbols to represent the Capulet family, it may be best to look to the family's leader, Lord Capulet, since it is the leader that the rest of the family would emulate. Some things we know about Lord Capulet are that he is a bit arrogant and extremely hot-tempered. We see his arrogance and hot temper in the very first scene. He goes charging out to join the street fight his own servants have started, declaring that Montague is challenging him, as we see in his lines, "My sword, I say! Old Montague is come / And flourishes his blade in spite of me" (I.i.73-74). But the reality is that Lord Montague has not appeared on the scene yet and does not appear until he sees Capulet joining the fight. Capulet's willingness to lay blame on others shows both his arrogance and his hot temper. Hence, symbols that represent both arrogance and fiery tempers would work well to symbolize the Capulet family.

Colors are often useful for symbolism. Purple is a royal color and often associated with the pomp and arrogance that can go hand-in-hand with royalty. The color orange is associated with energy and flamboyance, meaning being bold and showy the way the arrogant often behave. Finally, red is often associated with "fire, blood, war, violence," and even "power," and "aggression," so it's the perfect color to symbolize a fiery temper ("Color Symbolism and Culture").

Flowers and even other people are often used symbolically. Yellow carnations often symbolize arrogance ("Arrogance"). Plus people like Napoleon and Julius Caesar are known for their arrogance, especially Caesar's famous claim after conquering Pharmaces II of Pontus, "Veni, vidi, vici," meaning, "I came, I saw, I conquered" ("Arrogance").

kmiller1217 | Student

Symbols for the Capulets:

  1. A Rose - They look good and have a beautiful presentation, but don't try to embrace them too quickly or you will get hurt.
  2. A chain - Each person represents a link in the family.  Each link has to hold tight to its position to keep the chain intact. Don't go against the family.  Yet rust can corrode a chain, just like unreasonable expectations and negativity can erode a family unit.
  3. An umbrella - It covers you and keeps you safe, but if you poke holes in an umbrella it no longer protects you.
  4. A cross - It represents faith and belief in God, but it is often times used to persecute others.  The Capulets use their family name and their power to persecute others, even thought they don't know what the original fight was about.

Motto: "If you can't have the one you want, love the one we chose for you."

"Family honor above all else"

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Romeo and Juliet

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