The Capulet’s Dominance

Shakespeare’s portrayal of the characters called the Capulets in the play of Romeo and Juliet is very interesting because of how powerful he sees them as. Most of the time we spend with the Capulet family there is a constant disagreement between Lord Capulet and their daughter Juliet, yet her parents always win. They mostly act as an obstacle throughout the play. The only other times when they appear to show mercy is once at the end and another time at the mask ball party. Shakespeare portrays the characters of Lord and Lady Capulet as a roadblock; not only that but a very powerful roadblock but yet in the end they get portrayed as weaker characters due to faith.

One example of them acting as a roadblock was when Lord Capulet threatens to disown Juliet because she is acting disobedient. The scene starts when Lady Capulet enters the room to deliver the news that Tybalt has been slain by Romeo and how he is now a true enemy of the Capulets. Juliet later attempts at masking the fact that she likes him by saying “Indeed, I never shall be satisfied with Romeo, till I behold him — dead”- Juliet (Act 3, Scene 5, Line 93) doesn’t completely succeed. Later on her father, Lord Capulet, comes in the room and yells at her, “Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch! I tell thee what: get thee to church o’ Thursday, Or never after look me in the face. Speak not. Reply not. Do not answer me.”- Lord Capulet (Act.3 , Scene.5 , Line.160). After that she talks to Friar Lawrence and decides to apologize to Lord Capulet. She tells him that she is sorry and then she will marry Count-Paris tomorrow morning. But as it is later revealed, Juliet has other plans to escape her family later on.

Another example of these two characters being powerful was when they forced her into wanting to marry Count Paris. This is related to why Juliet started acting disobedient in the first place. It was because she is unhappy to marry someone she doesn’t love, not only that but she is already married. Right after the scene with Lord Capulet and his shocking lines of how she was going to get disowned, we see them setting up the whole celebration with musicians and cooks as apparent to Lord Capulet saying “So many guests invite as here are writ. Sirrah, go hire me twenty cunning cooks.” — Lord Capulet (Act 4 , Scene 2 , Line 1). The point here is that even though she still hasn’t given her consent to the marriage they are setting it up. Which shows how powerful the characters of Lord and Lady Capulet are. Soon afterwards Juliet comes back and apologizes to Lord Capulet because she knows she cannot beat him head on and convince him that she won’t get married. She said “Where I have learned me to repent the sin of disobedient opposition to you and your behests, and am enjoined by holy Lawrence to fall prostrate here to beg your pardon. Pardon, I beseech you! Henceforward I am ever ruled by you.”- Juliet (Act.4, Scene.2, Line.14). This is a clear representation of how powerful Lord Capulet is and how she is disguising her escape.

The final example is how Shakespeare portrays the Capulets after Juliet’s “death”. The fact that she has “died” takes away all power that the Capulets had during the play by giving them no real way to be a roadblock anymore. As she “dies” they can only watch as faith takes control and they no longer have any sort of manipulation over their daughter, Juliet. But as the story goes, in the end they find out she was actually alive all this time and the reason why she had ran away is because they were not allowing her to be with her true love, Romeo. As the story comes to an end they promise to the other side, the Montagues, that they will make a statue of Romeo in full gold in the middle of the city as apparent to:”As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady’s lie, poor sacrifices of our enmity.”- Lord Capulet Act.5, Scene. 3, Line.319. Lord Montague does the same and with that the family’s feuds are over. Afterwards the prince of the town tells them all: “A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things. Some shall be pardoned, and some punishèd. For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”-Prince (Act.5, Scene.3, Line.321.) Which represents the end of the feud between the two families.

Throughout the play of Romeo and Juliet one can see many different portrayals of many different characters. But the most interesting one of them all might just be the Capulets because of how powerful Shakespeare portrays them at the beginning and how powerless he portrays them at the end.

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