What are examples of male superiority over females in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet ?  

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the best examples we see of male superiority in Romeo and Juliet is the scene in which Lord Capulet tells Paris that he is very certain Juliet will follow his orders and marry him. The second best example follows this scene and is the scene in which he commands Juliet to marry Paris, threatening to kick her out if she does not.

Immediately after Tybalt's death, Juliet is seen by her parents to be in profound grief. They believe she is weeping over the loss of Tybalt, but she is truly weeping over Romeo's banishment. Also, immediately after Tybalt's death, Paris has another confrontation with Lord Capulet to continue pursuing his daughter's hand in marriage. In this scene, we are not told why, but Capulet suddenly changes his mind from having his daughter wait two more years to having her marry Paris in three days (III.iv.17-21). However, Paris informs Friar Laurence that Capulet has ordered the hasty marriage because he thinks his daughter's severe grief is dangerous and wants to distract her with something cheerful and to prevent her from being alone, as we see in his lines:

Now, sir, her father counts it dangerous
That she do give her sorrow so much sway,
And in his wisdom hastes our marriage
To stop the inundation of her tears,
Which, too much minded by herself alone,
May be put from her by society. (IV.i.9-14)

Not only does Capulet change his mind, thinking that Juliet's weeping is unhealthy, he promises Paris that she will marry him because he has the utmost faith that his daughter will obey his every command, as we see in his lines, "I think she will be rul'd / In all respects by me; nay more, I doubt it not" (III.iv.13-14). Hence, since Capulet has promised his daughter in marriage to Paris and says that Juliet will be governed by his decisions, this is an excellent example of male superiority.

The second instance of course occurs when Juliet refuses to marry Paris proclaiming that she hates the idea of marrying Paris as we see in her lines, "Proud can I never be of what I hate, / But thankful even for hate that is meant love," meaning that she can never be proud of anything that she hates, such as being forced to marry Paris; however, she is grateful that her father has made her this offer as a gesture of love(III.v.150-151). Her father's response is to be amazed that she could be so disobedient, call her all sorts of names, and threaten to throw her out of the house and disinherit her should she refuse to marry Paris on Thursday, as we see in his lines:

Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage!
For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good" (159, 202-203).

Lord Capulet is referring to what she would inherit as his only child and heir and threatening to take it away. Hence, since Capulet is showing us that he feels that he rules over Juliet as her father,  this is a second perfect example of male superiority in the play.

weasel-word | Student

The very first example is the name of the play. Male name is on the first place though throughout thw whole play we can see Juliet as a more active and energetic character, ready to take some steps to reunite with Romeo: she sends the Nurse to him, she concludes a dangerous agreement with Friar Laurence. However, Romeo remains dominative in this couple until the last words of the play (For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo).


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Romeo and Juliet

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