What does Juliet's nurse look like physically? And what are her physical attributes?

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mickey2bailey's profile pic

mickey2bailey | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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In Scene 3, They say that the nurse is a merry and slightly crude servant.  Once she starts talking she can't stop.  As depicted in the movie with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, she is a very heavy, rotund servant with rough and brash ways about her.  She is not afraid of anyone and even goes after Mercutio when he makes fun of her in Act 2, Scene 4.  He calls her a prostitute and even sings a song about it to her. The nurse will speak her mind whether right or wrong.  She laughs at her own jokes and tends to ramble on and on when she reminiesces about the past.  The Nurse also tries to portray a very elegant and noble lady upon her meeting with Romeo because she carries a fan which only the upper class carry, not servants.  Her face is also very elderly and Mercutio tells her that, the fan is the fairer of the two."

 Source:

The Literature and Language Book by McDougal Littell, 2001.

The Movie, Romeo and Juliet, by Franco Zefferelli

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Shakespeare doesn't paint a picture-perfect description of the Nurse, but one can assume that she is about the same age as Juliet's mother, since she nursed and raised Juliet after her own daughter, Susan, died.  So, based on that, and the fact that people simply aged faster in those days, we can say she's probably between 30 and 40 (but looks more like our modern age of 40-50).  Later in the play, when Juliet is begging her for more information as to what Romeo said, Nurse goes on about her aches and pains, having Juliet rub her back for her, but some of that could have been just teasing Juliet and making her wait for the information, since Juliet was being quite insistent about hearing the details.

Check the links below for more information.  Good luck!

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