The parents

Juliet’s parents - the Capulets

Both Juliet’s parents are fairly central characters in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Lord Capulet comes across as a changeable man - especially concerning his only daughter. In Act 1, Scene 2 he tells Paris that Juliet is too young to marry and should have a chance to get to know her future husband first. But in Act 3, Scene 4 he suddenly tells Paris that he can marry Juliet in just three days and coldly asks his wife to inform Juliet of the decision.

This tells us two things about Lord Capulet: He tends to change his mind, and he does not consider his daughter’s feelings. Note that the latter was normal in an Elizabethan context, though; as the family patriarch it would have been considered Capulet’s responsibility and right to control his family members.

Perhaps it is the burden of this responsibility that makes him burst out in anger when Juliet refuses to marry Paris, who is otherwise an excellent match: “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.” (3.5.193-195) He is threatening to exclude her from the family and disinherit her, which would be a disaster for any young woman.

Lady Capulet is a lot younger than her husband. When she tries to persuade Juliet to marry Paris, she explains how she was only about 13 when she married her husband and had Juliet: “I was your mother much upon these years/ That you are now a maid.” (1.3.65-66) To her, it is normal to be married off to someo...

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