What is Capulet's attitude towards the welfare of his daughter, Juliet and what does this tell us about family dynamics in Elizabethan England?

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renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Juliet does not jump for joy at the announcement that she will marry Paris in a week's time, Lord Capulet is furious with Juliet.

Lord Capulet is incensed that Juliet is not complacently accepting his commands as he has always expected her to do. Until this point in the play, Juliet has always complied with her parent's wishes.

Lord Capulet tells her he will throw her to the streets and cause her to be a street urchin if she does not obey him. He is borderline physically abusive towards her, and most certainly verbally abusive to her, calling her names such as, "carrion" and "baggage". He is threatening, as well, when he tells her he will do whatever is necessary to get her to the church.

This shows that parent-child relations were not close. Children were meant to be obedient and subservient to their parent's wishes. It was not acceptable to show outward defiance.


blacksheepunite eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Capulet actually appears to care more about his daughters' well-being than most--at least initially. When Paris first asks to marry her, Capulet tells him that she is too young to marry. He says that girls who marry too soon will age before their time. His wife is young, and perhaps he has noticed the effect their marriage had on her. In the early scenes, he appears to be a doting father--he says she is his only daughter. Yet later, when he pronounces his daughter's betrothal, he seems to be an entirely different man. We don't know why he changes. It may be grief or it may be that he suspects something is going on with her. He expects her to go along with everything he says, and he has told Paris as much. When she refuses, he claims ownership. He says she is his and he will do with her as he wishes. This is the state of women in Elizabethan times. They belonged to their fathers until they were given to their husbands.
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Romeo and Juliet

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