What are your thoughts about Lord Capulet's behavior towards Juliet?Act IV of "Romeo and Juliet"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Romeo and Juliet," Lord Capulet's behavior is inconsistent at best.  In the streets of Verona he is as impetuous as the youths, calling for a sword to run through his enemy Lord Montague at the opening of the play.  Then, in Scene 2 as he speaks wisely with Paris he tells the nobleman,

But Montague is bound/as well as I [to keep peace],/In penalty alike, and 'tis not hard, I think,/For men so old as we to keep the peace. (I,ii,1-3)

Then, in Scene 5 of this same act, Capulet again becomes choleric as Tybalt points out Romeo, calling him a "villain."  Capulet tells Tybalt that Romeo "shall be endured" (I,v,75-76).

Regarding his daughter, Lord Capulet exhibits the same inconsistency.  When, for instance, he speaks with Paris who wishes to marry Juliet, Capulet is the voice of patience and wisdom, asking Paris to give Juliet two more years before considering her as a bride:  "...too soon marred are those so early made (I,ii,13). But, in Act 3, scene 5, Capulet irately demands that Juliet marry Paris.  When his daughter refuses, Capulet tells her that if she does not go, he

will drag thee on a hurdle thither./Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage!/You tallow-face!...God's bread!  It makes me mad.

Lord Capulet calls Juliet "a wretched puling fool," a "whining mammet," and tells her if she does not obey, she can "starve, die in the streets" (III,v, 185-194).

Of course, Capulet rues having said such things after Juliet is dead, for then he displays his expansive love for his daughter.  Thus, it would seem that Lord Capulet is concerned with his social position and lets his love for his family become secondary in situations involving prestige and pride.

kkosach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lord Capulet loves his daughter.  She is the only surviving child of his, and he is protective and wants the best for her - to a fault.  Lord Capulet has no knowledge that Julilet is already married to his sworn enemy's child.  He fails to understand how she could be so disrespectful as as to refuse his wishes for her to marry Paris. In his mind, he has done everything for her only to be rewarded with the highest disrespect.  In response, he says terrible things, yells worse things, and effectively disowns her for her choices.  Extreme - yes.  Understandable - yes.  Effective - no.

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Romeo and Juliet

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