What kind of relationship do Juliet and the Nurse have in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Up until their parting in Act III, Scene 5, the relationship between Juliet and the Nurse might be compared to two very close friends or even sisters who share everything, including each other's private thoughts and secrets. Although tempting, it is not appropriate to say the Nurse was similar to a parental figure. Had the Nurse been like a parent (even though she literally nursed Juliet) she would have been more likely to be disciplinary in understanding the ramifications of Juliet's relationship with Romeo. Instead, the Nurse is a faithful confidante, who is only interested in the fact that Juliet is happy, and is willing to take part in Juliet's intrigues because of her devoted love for the girl. Like a trusted girlfriend, she acts as Juliet's surrogate in finding out Romeo's intentions in Act II, Scene 4. She shares this news with Juliet as if they are school girls talking about the boys in their class. Juliet's confidence in the Nurse is ultimately shattered in Act III, Scene 5 after being informed that Lord Capulet has arranged for her to marry Count Paris. When her refusals to marry the Count (she is already married to Romeo) are spurned by her parents, Juliet turns to the Nurse, who does a complete about-face in her opinion of Romeo and counsels Juliet to forget him and marry Paris because, as she says, "this match...excels your first." Juliet is shocked by this advice and vows that their close relationship is over.