In Romeo and Juliet what is the PUBLIC IDENTITY of Juliet, Lady Capulet and Nurse ?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the Renaissance, the setting of this play, the Nurse is usually a poor relative from a noble family; consequently, she may be given a position in the home of the wealthier relative, working as a nursemaid so that she will be afforded a good place to live. But, because she is a relative, the Nurse takes liberties in speaking when she should be quiet, such as when Lady Capulet speaks to her daughter about marrying and asks her, "....I pray thee hold thy peace"(1.4.), but the Nurse continues to interject her opinions. In addition, she teases Juliet as though she were her daughter, not her better.

Nor does she conduct herself in public as she should, being of the House of Capulet. Instead, the Nurse reveals too much to Romeo when he asks who Juliet is in Act I, Scene 5:

I nursed her daughter that you talked withal
I tell you, he that can lay hold of her
Shall have the chinks (1.5.110-113)

The Nurse should act humbly, but sometimes she is quite bold.

boldly jests with off-color remarks to Mercutio when she encounters his foolery as he ridicules her excess of cloth as "a sail!" 

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mlsldy3's profile pic

mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Juliet is 13 years old and the daughter of a very wealthy family. She is seen as the dutiful daughter and always does as her parents want. She has no desire for love or marriage, until she sees Romeo. Her whole changes then. She is a very practical girl and she expresses herself with open honesty. She is willing to risk everything and do anything to be with Romeo. She confides in her nurse only. In the public eye, she is the perfect daughter.

The nurse is Juliet's nurse and has taken care of her since she was born. The nurse is seen as the comic foil to Juliet. She is brash and vulgar. She talks about love and sex with Juliet. She has worked for the Capulet's for many years and is a trusted employee. In public she does what is expected of her. She stands up for Juliet and is her loyal confidante where Romeo is concerned. She has a deep love for Juliet. Since she lost her own daughter, Susan, she see Juliet as a daughter. She is always there for Juliet and wants what is best for her. She is seen as a trusted employee.

Lady Capulet is Juliet's mother. She is of great wealth. She is seen in pubic as the envy of most woman. She has a rich husband and a beautiful daughter. She is seen only having two conversations with Juliet throughout the entire play. The first conversation is in Act 1, when she tells Juliet it is time to start thinking of marriage. She tells Juliet that Paris wants to marry her and reminds her she was her age when she was married. The second one takes place after Romeo leaves for Mantua. She informs Juliet that the marriage to Paris is going to happen and she has already started planning the wedding. Juliet tells her mother she will not marry him and Lady Capulet becomes furious with her daughter. She calls her a fool and wishes she was dead. By all appearances Lady Capulet only cares about society and what the public thinks of her. He main focus is planning the wedding of Paris and Juliet. She does show some remorse when she finds Juliet's body and says it may kill her. 

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