What concepts of love are presented by the female characters in Act I scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume that you are talking about Act I scene 3, which is when Lady Capulet first approaches Juliet with the idea of marrying Paris, and I have edited your question accordingly.

In response to being asked about whether she is ready to marry, Juliet responds that it is an "honour" she has not thought of. However, from Lady Capulet's words, it is clear that marriage does not actually have much to do with love. Juliet has reached an age where many of her peers are already married, and it is clear that this marriage is more about the standing and wealth that the Capulet family can gain than Juliet's own personal feelings. Love is presented as a secondary motivation for marriage.

However, Juliet, ever the dutiful daughter, agrees to look at Paris that night, saying:

I'll look to like, if looking liking move;

But no more deep will I endart mine eye

Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.

Note the way that Juliet recognises that when it comes to whom she will marry, her own feelings will have little consequence. The consent and wishes of her parents are paramount. The hilarious Nurse in this scene points towards the way that, through marriage, "women grow by men," and is delighted at the thought of her little charge becoming a woman, but again, marriage is shown not to be an affair of the heart. Love in the way that we conceive this emotion is curiously absent from this scene.

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Romeo and Juliet

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