What is the role of family in 15th century Verona?    Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With the long-standing feud of the Montagues and the Capulets, it is apparent that family plays an important role for the nobility of Verona. During the Renaissance the nobility had a tightly knit family.  Girls married young because a female was not considered a woman until she was married.  If she did not marry, she often lived with relatives and acted as a nurse to the children of these relatives.  In Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse is such a relative, and may be the sister of Juliet's mother. This relationship may easily be the reason that the Nurse dotes upon Juliet and shares in the grief of the loss of Tybalt.

It is Lord Capulet who concerns himself with the marriage arrangements of his daughter.  While he seeks to deter the Prince from seeking marriage so soon with his daughter, who has not "seen the change of fourteen years," in Act I, he later changes his mind and believes if she marries the Prince, Juliet will forget any infatuations she may have had and overcome her grief for Tybalt. Weddings were also intended as a way to financially better oneself. This is why the Nurse says jokingly that whoever marries Juliette shall have "the clinks."

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Romeo and Juliet

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