The wall in the play Romeo and Juliet
In the play of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Lord Capulet is the wall between Juliet and her happiness, Romeo. Capulet plays the role of a father who wants the best for his daughter. Because he is the master of his house he needs to feel empowered but still has to keep a good appearance. He is the wall to Juliet’s happiness because of the rivalry which has made the two enemies violent between them.
Lord Capulet plays the role of the father who wants the best for his daughter. When Lord Capulet and Count Paris talk about Paris marrying Juliet, Capulet says, “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” (1.2.15–17). Even though Lord Capulet wants Juliet to marry Paris, he wants her to marry someone she loves but who is still approved by him. Capulet sees his daughter as his hope and wants her to be happy. When they find Juliet “dead”, one thing Capulet says is “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 buried” (4.5.63–65). This quote shows that he loves her unconditionally. He uses personification to say that with her she will bring a part of Capulet heart in her tomb, and this wound will never recover from her death — because it is in the tomb with Juliet. Lord Capulet shows his love for Juliet and she is the source his joy and happiness and wants her to be happy.
As much may love his daughter, he is still the head of the house Capulet, and plays the role of the master with the need of power. In the beginning of the play, at the party of the Capulet’s, when Mercutio says to Lord Capulet that Romeo is present, Capulet’s answer is “Am I the master here, or you? Go to./You’ll not endure him! God shall mend my soul,/You’ll make a mutiny among my guests” (1.5.77–80). Because he is the representative of the house Capulet, he is in charge of keeping a good reputation. He also needs to remind the people around him who is the boss in the house. When Juliet disobeys him he becomes violent: “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./My fingers itch” (3.5.160–164). Even when his own loved daughter disobeys him, he will become violent and will want to put her back in line. He compares her to a baggage and a wretch. A baggage is a metaphor that says that she is more work than help. It also means that she is something you have to take with you and if lost, it will be brought back to you. When Capulet says that Juliet is wretch he says that she is unhappy and ungrateful for what they gave her. Even if they are his close and loved ones, Lord Capulet will want to remind them all that he is in charge and he will want to put back people in their place if they disobey him.
Disobedience is the least of his problem when he comes face to face with his enemy. The two families, Montagues and Capulets, had a rivalry for so long that the hate has sprung to be violent, and two deaths are needed to join the families. In the very beginning of the play when the Montagues and the Capulets fight, Capulet orders his wife: “My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,/And flourishes his blade in spite of me” (1.1.67–68). When the leaders of the houses spot each other they cannot resist fighting one another even at their old age. In the story, if Capulet knew that Juliet was married to a Montague he would hunt Romeo down to kill him even if Romeo is the love of Juliet. When the two families find Romeo and Juliet dead, Capulet says “As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady’s lie,/Poor sacrifices of our enmity” (5.3.319–320). This line says that because of the death of their loved children the wall has collapsed and no rivalry shall be present no more. Capulet’s hate towards the other family was so intense that the lovers had to die so that the parents can see that this rivalry was wrong.
In reality, Lord Capulet is not the wall between Juliet and her happiness, Romeo, but there is a wall separating Lord Capulet and Juliet. He didn’t understand her until she died for her love. Lord Capulet sees her as his hope but this wall between them is keeping him from knowing her better, which results in her death. We might also say that Capulet is on top of the wall to look higher to everyone so he can feel empowered. Because of the rivalry both families have become very competitive and violent towards each other.