A Golden Statue of a Loving Father
The daily routine is different for every person. Rivalry between two families, total control of situations, and some heart-warming hugs are what Lord Capulet has to deal with every day. Not a normal day for most of us, but a fine one for the loving father of Juliet in William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”. It seems that since the beginning of time Capulets have fought the other well-respected family in Verona — the Montagues. As the head of a house, Lord Capulet is busy making sure everything is in order. But most of all he is making sure that his beloved daughter Juliet is well, and happy. This character has been built upon a couple of things: feud with Montagues, superiority, and clear and honest love.
Anger and fury are filling Lord Capulet’s heart whenever he is reminded of the dreadful Montagues. The Shakespearean character’s cornerstone is his profound hatred of everything and everyone connected to the house of the Montagues. In the very beginning of the play, a fight between servants takes both Lords out of their homes and they end up facing each other:
CAPULET. My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
MONTAGUE. Thou villain Capulet! (1.1.71–73)
These lines are enough to show us that both lords despise each other, and so do the families they are heads of. At that point, it seems like there will be no hope for the “pair of star-crossed lovers take their life” (1.0.6). Although Lord Capulet respects young Romeo of Montagues as he is known for being “a virtuous and well-governed youth” (1.5.65), this respect disappears when in Act 3, Scene 1, Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, in a sword fight. The young Montague is banished from Verona by the Prince and Lord Capulet sees him as a murderer. It is only because of the dramatic irony of the situation created back in the Epilogue that we know this feud will be ended but at great costs. Lord Capulet will have to cope with the loss of his only child, but this is the price he has to pay for always fighting the Montagues for no reason.
Disobedience is surely one of the things Lord Capulet cannot cope with. He is the head of the Capulet house, and this means everybody has to follow his orders. In Act 4, Scene 4, when the Capulets are getting ready for the wedding between County Paris and Juliet, the Lord is the one who organises and arranges everything. He gives orders to the serving men and the nurse. However, he expects total obedience his family as well. When Juliet refuses to marry County Paris, as her father had arranged the night before, Capulet becomes furious. He calls his daughter “unworthy”, a “disobedient wretch”. He even threatens her that he will disown her and let her live on the streets by herself. On top of all, he forbids her to respond: “Speak not. Reply not. Do not answer me” (3.5.163). This scene proves that Lord Capulet is really strict, but it also shows that he is overprotective. He doesn’t let Juliet have her own opinions. She has to obey him at all times. Otherwise, she will be left alone to struggle with the obstacles life has to offer. Afraid of being all by herself, she comes back to the torturous love of her father. He is the cage that keeps young Juliet away from the world: safe, yet isolated. And just like every other cage, it opens when whatever is inside meets its end.
Nevertheless, there is some love in that old, full of hatred heart, and it is the kind of love a man is willing to sacrifice everything for. Lord Capulet might be strict, but he is also a loving father. He cares about his daughter’s well-being. He might have some strange methods but Juliet has always been his number one priority. In Act 1, Scene 2 of the play, County Paris comes to Lord Capulet to ask him for the hand of his daughter. However, the Lord doesn’t initially agree on a marriage. “My child is yet a stranger in the world;/ She hath not seen the change of fourteen years:/ Let two more summers wither in their pride/ Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride” (1.2.8–11). Capulet wants Juliet to get married after she had felt what life is like. Also, it shows he wouldn’t want to rush her into marriage if it isn’t necessary. Unfortunately, when Tybalt is killed, Capulet wants to ensure his daughter’s security and well-being. Crushed emotionally by that tragic loss, the head of the house agrees to give Juliet’s hand to Paris: a marriage supposed to ensure a better life for Juliet. Still, this love towards Juliet doesn’t stop there. When both lovers are found dead in the tombs of Capulet, both lords agree to build a golden statue of the child of the other, as a symbol of the end of their feud, and to show that they do it for them.
There will be fights; there will be disagreements; there will be heart-warming love. That’s who Capulet is. William Shakespeare successfully created a character who experiences what many of us have, are or will in their lives — the difficulty of keeping a family together. Lord Capulet can only be somebody we could look up to. Maybe we should even build a golden statue of this loving father in the centre of Verona.
Bibliography: “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, a Wordsworth Classics edition, © Wordsworth Editions Limited 1992 and 2000