What part does the nurse play in Romeo and Juliet's schemes?

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pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The nurse, Juliet's only friend and confidant, serves as the go between the star crossed lovers.  She goes to Romeo to make sure his intentions are noble and that he truly loves Juliet. She tells him that if he is planning on leading Juliet on, and breaking her heart, he should give up and move on now.

Now, afore God, I am so vexed that every part about
me quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word; and, as
I told you, my young lady bid me enquire you out.(150)
What she bid me say, I will keep to myself; but first let
me tell ye, if ye should lead her into a fool's paradise, as
they say, it were a very gross kind of behaviour, as they
say; for the gentle woman is young; and there-fore, if
you should deal double with her, truly it were an ill(155)
thing to be off'red to any gentlewoman, and very weak

When she determines that he is good enough for Juliet, it is the nurse who arranges the marriage and the cover story for Juliet.  When she makes sure that Juliet has permission to go to confession (shrift) she tells her to go to Friar Laurence.  There she will finding Romeo waiting to marry her and the Friar waiting to perform the ceremony.

Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’ cell;(70)
There stays a husband to make you a wife.
Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks:
They'll be in scarlet straight at any news.
Hie you to church;

More important for the newlyweds, the nurse makes sure that they can spend their first night together and husband and wife.  While Juliet is getting married at her secret ceremony, the nurse will go find a ladder so that Romeo and sneak into Juliet's room that night.

I must another way,
To fetch a ladder, by the which your love(75)
Must climb a bird's nest soon when it is dark.I am the drudge, and toil in your delight;
But you shall bear the burden soon at night.
Go; I'll to dinner; hie you to the cell.

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Romeo and Juliet

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