The Nurse and Lady Capulet
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The contrast between the Nurse and Lady Capulet (Act 1, scene 3)
The protective side of the Nurse to Juliet (Act 2 scene 4)
The betrayal and reduction in mother figure and the return when Juliet dies (Act 3, scene 5) and (Act
The contrast between Lady Capulet and the Nurse
CONTEXT – This is when we first meet Lady Capulet, the Nurse, and Juliet. Lady Capulet is trying to persuade Juliet to marry Paris.
‘For I had then laid Wormwood to my dug’ – Nurse was there whereas Lady Capulet was not; It was a big deal to stop breast feeding. Wormwood was a method of weaning in the time of the play. The level of detail the Nurse remembers it in emphasizes the contrast (‘under the dove house wall’) and she remembers it with positive connotations (‘Sitting in the sun’) which shows her care for Juliet. However, it was fairly normal for another person to breastfeed so it might not make the nurse seem a mother figure. All the memories are through the Nurses eyes, rather than Lady Capulets.
‘What is your will’ (Juliet to LC) – Very formal and polite = lack of relationship. The Direct address shows Juliet is very submissive to Lady Capulet as Juliet goes straight to LC’s needs; there is no greeting and it is a short response showing lack of conversation and relationship. During the time of this play children were to taught to be totally obedient to the dominant person of the house which was the father, showing LC is no mother figure as Juliet is submissive to her. Juliet responds to the Nurse informally and rude (‘I pray thee, Nurse say I’); she says shut up. This shows relaxed teasing relationship as Juliet can afford to be rude. With LC, Juliet follows commands, whereas here she gives a command.
Structure point – LC conversation with Juliet is very formal and boring showing the boring lack of relationship. This is due to predictable rhymes every line, the stylized form of 10 syllables on most lines. The lack of form in the Nurse shows the informality and tight relationship Juliet has with her.
The protective side of the Nurse towards Juliet
CONTEXT – This is when the Nurse went to seek out Romeo, and Romeo gives the news of marriage that night.
‘If you lead her into a fool’s paradise’ – Nurse threatening Romeo for Juliet protection against her will. Lead suggest the Nurse is implying it is a one sided relationship with Romeo taking control of Juliet and she is protecting her like a mother would do. Fool and paradise is an oxymoron. Fool is referencing at Juliet’s young inexperience and paradise is an enticing place thought by many religions to be the perfect life after death (could be a reference to there fate), but because Juliet is a fool she does not know of a better relationship and believes it to be a paradise making it just wishful thinking. We sympathize with the Nurse for trying to protect young and inexperienced Juliet from a wishful relationship.
‘But first let me tell ye’ – This shows the Nurses mother like protecting, as this is a command and is quite aggressive as it is a threatening command. The word tell implies it is a one sided conversation emphasizing the aggressive agenda of the Nurse in order to protect Juliet = Mother figure.
AO3 – Women from the upper class were not