What is Lord Capulet like?

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The audience may have a positive impression of Lord Capulet through the first two Acts of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In Act III, he reveals a more malevolent personality after Juliet rebuffs his offer of marriage to Count Paris

When we first meet Lord Capulet we admire his love and good sense regarding his daughter. Paris, a wealthy man of Verona, wants to marry Juliet. Because of his title and social status Paris is a good match for Juliet. Capulet, however, worries more about his very young daughter's well-being than any social or political expedience. He urges Paris to woo Juliet and win her love. He says, in Act I, Scene 2,

She’s the hopeful lady of my earth.
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart;
My will to her consent is but a part.
And, she agreed, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.
The audience also may appreciate Lord Capulet's behavior during the party at his house. When Tybalt overhears Romeo and wants to fight, Capulet stops him. In fact, he even speaks well of Romeo, something we don't expect because of the bitter rivalry between the Capulets and Romeo's family. Capulet says, in Act I, Scene 5
Content thee, gentle coz. Let him alone.
He bears him like a portly gentleman,
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him
To be a virtuous and well-governed youth.
I would not for the wealth of all this town
Here in my house do him disparagement.
Capulet, however, also has a fierce temper and when Juliet refuses to marry Paris in Act III, Scene 5, he berates the girl, levying a litany of Shakespearean insults on the girl. He calls her "green-sickness carrion," "tallow face," "disobedient wretch" and "Mistress Minion." He also threatens to disown the girl. He says,
An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend.
An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good.
Trust to ’t; bethink you. I’ll not be forsworn.
In defense of Lord Capulet, we may think he is just doing what he feels is right for his daughter and the family after the death of Tybalt. When the Nurse discovers Juliet in her bed, after the girl takes the potion to fake her death, we witness the softer side of Capulet when he believes he has lost his daughter. In Act IV, Scene 5, he says,
O child! O child! My soul and not my child!
Dead art thou! Alack, my child is dead,
And with my child my joys are burièd.
The final verdict on Capulet's behavior may ultimately be negative. His attitude toward the feud and his obstinate behavior about the marriage to Paris heavily contribute to the final outcome of the play as he pushes his daughter to make a decision which leads directly to tragedy.

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