What stresses does Juliet experience in the play, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare?

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Juliet is one of the star crossed lovers from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  The two young people find a love so deep that they are even willing to die for each other. The Prince of Verona briefly summarizes the sadness of the drama:

A glooming peace this morning with it brings,

The sun for sorrow will not show his head.

For never was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

The family feud betweeen the Capulets and the Montagues provides the impetus for Juliet’s stressful life.  At every turn, a new, overwhelming problem arises.  Sadly, this feud causes the death of both of these lovely young people.

Juliet is the beautiful, only daughter of the Capulets. She is only thirteen years old. Yet, her wit and intelligence elevate her to the status of one of the great female characters in English literature.

Although seemingly mature, she is naïve about the outside world. In Shakespeare’s world, women depended completely on the men in their lives. At the beginning of the play, Juliet is happy but ignorant of the ways of the world; she turns to her nurse for guidance and advice.

When Juliet falls in love, she seems to mature overnight.  Her ability to stand on her own two feet is obvious when she rejects the counsel of her mother and her beloved nurse.

Juliet faces multiple trials during the drama:

  •  First, she falls in love with the son of the family’s mortal enemy
  •  Juliet has been promised to Paris, a prince of Verona
  •  Juliet secretly marries Romeo
  •  Her naiveté does not curb her sexual passion for Romeo.
  •  Romeo accidently kills Juliet’s cousin Tybalt in a sword fight.

 Juliet chooses to stay with Romeo. 

Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun...       

  • Romeo and Juliet spend the night together.
  • Romeo is banished from Verona.
  • Juliet’s father insists that she marry Paris or be thrown out of her house. Everyone turns against Juliet even her loyal nurse.
  • Juliet takes a sleeping potion to avoid marrying Paris and to wait on Romeo's return.
  • Romeo commits suicide at Juliet’s tomb thinking that she is dead.
  • Juliet commits suicide because Romeo is dead.

These events would be enough to send anyone over the edge of sanity. Juliet just follows where her heart leads. She would rather die than live without Romeo. What a devastating tragedy for both families! Two beautiful, young people lost because of the adults in their lives and a foolish quarrel.

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