What is Juliet's attitude towards love?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Juliet's attitude towards love is very much determined by her age and lack of experience.  It could be said that love, for her, is initiated by physical attraction and led by her emotions.  She falls in love with Romeo, most likely, because she is physically attracted to him at first.  One of her first comments (before she even knows his name) to Romeo is "You kiss by the book" (ie: "You are a great kisser").  This seems to be a shallow connection, but at only thirteen years old, what else could Juliet possibly know about love and relationships, aside from her physical and therefore immediate emotional feelings?

Unlike Romeo, however, the audience gets a glimpse into Juliet's mind in the balcony scene, where we see that she is not entirely unthoughtful about love and her current situation.  She considers the fact that Romeo is from the family of her sworn enemy.  She considers back and forth how quickly this romance could go (and laments, even with Romeo, that it is moving too quickly).  Though she is only thirteen, she does have a concept of some of the consequences of her feelings.  But, like any other teenager, her rational side is overcome by her physical desire, and in the end she is persuaded to go forth with a very immature and risky relationship in a very hasty manner.

favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Prior to her parents' big party, Lady Capulet asks Juliet what she thinks about the idea of getting married. Juliet responds, "It is an honor that I dream not of" (1.3.71). Juliet is only thirteen, after all, and she has not given the idea of marriage, or love, much thought yet. Lady Capulet points out that many girls becomes wives and mothers even before they are as old as Juliet, and there is a very eligible man coming to the party who is interested in wooing Juliet. Even the Nurse talks about how good looking the man is. Thus, Lady Capulet asks if Juliet can like the Count Paris and possibly return his feelings of love. Juliet says,

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. (1.4.103-105)

Juliet's answer is practical in the extreme. She seems to understand that this is a good match, and she tells her mother that she'll try to like him but that she won't let herself to feel more for him that her parents would allow. She doesn't seem to anticipate feeling a kind of love over which she has no control; Juliet imagines that she will be able to control her feelings. Her attitude toward love, then, is very measured. She is not at all romantic at this point.

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Romeo and Juliet

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