Shakespeare, being the great writer he is, molds each character as if he was Michelangelo sculpting the David. The way these characters were brought into the story drastically changes the way the viewer sees their personas. The setting of the story is an older era in Verona, Italy around the 1300s. This story includes unique characters varying in ages and mindsets. Some younger characters were put into situations where they are forced to act maturely, like they are much older than their actual age.
This impacts the identity of those characters, since they are treated as the age they choose to act, and this in turn, brings them more hallenges they may not be equipped for. Three main characters symbolize Shakespeare’s ability to craft their personas very accurately. Romeo, Juliet and the Nurse were all shaped through the actions of the surrounding characters influencing them. Romeo Montague, a younger man at the age of sixteen is intelligent, handsome, kind- hearted, and of course love sick. As the heir of Montague and Lady Montague, Romeo has been planted like a tree into the life of royalty and luxury.
Much of the time, he decides to take advantage of this privilege. He does this by breaking into parties, going places he is not allowed, and etting into fights with others whom he should possibly just ignore overall. But of course every teenager needs a group of close friends to accompany them on all of their exploits. This is where Benvolio and Mercutio contribute to the story. As his best friends they will often give him advice, wise or not, on women Romeo is involved with, or situations he has gotten himself into.
At times their guidance has led Romeo into some very bad predicaments, for instance Romeo’s fight with Tybalt. To this day, the fault of Mercutio and Tybalt’s death is a very confusing and complicated subject. There is no doubt most people would agree if someone were to suggest the deaths of the two men were all Mercutio’s blunder. On the contrary, some would say it was Romeo’s doing since he was the one to intervene, causing Tybalt to accidentally stab Mercutio. Now of course when Romeo sees two companions of his fighting to the death because of him, he must intercede and try to take control of the situation.
He shouts things to try and make them stop, things like “Gentlemen, this is shameful! ” and “Stop this! ” then goes on by reminding them about what would happen if they kept fighting (3. 1. 85. ). Little did Romeo know that trying to get in between them would cause the death of loyal Mercutio. Appalled, Romeo goes after the retreating Tybalt threatening him with words such as “Now, Tybalt, take back that insult that you gave me just a while ago. Mercutio’s soul is hovering just over our heads waiting for your soul to keep him company.
Either you, or, I, or both will soon join him. ” (3. 1. 120) in order to seek justice for the loss of his beloved friend. Romeo persistently chases Tybalt up an alley only to later confront, fight and then murder him. Blood was shed, lives were ruined, and to hink this entire situation could have been easily avoided if Romeo’s comrades Benvolio and Mercutio had just avoided Tybalt in the first place. Aside from his partners in crime you’d think Romeo has his parents and servants to help him along, but think again.
Throughout the story there are only few times where Montague and Lady Montague make a massive impact on Romeo’s choices. One could not tell very well by reading it in the text but in the beginning of the story, Montague is actually quite concerned about his son’s behavior. Romeo was acting so melancholy because at the time Rosaline had just finished ejecting him. He draws attention and concern to Romeo’s behavior in Act 1 of scene 1 of the movie when he says “Many morning hath he there been scene, with tears augmenting the fresh morning’s dew. (Romeo + Juliet 1996) when reading the text is is easy to tell he is concerned by the look of heartache the actor playing Montague portrays, he gives the audience an idea of how much grief Montague feels for his son.
Then at the very end of the story when Romeo’s mother, Lady Montague, finds out he killed himself, she dies of heartbreak. This helps us infer how much she really cared about him even though she did not how it throughout the entire story. So even though these characters may or may not have been there for a lot of Romeo’s decisions, they still had a very large impact on the outcome of his life.
Juliet Capulet is a beautiful and naive thirteen year old girl who knows little to nothing about being in a relationship, let alone a marriage. She soon has to educate herself on the subject upon falling love with the handsome Romeo Montague, the son of her father’s rival. Being a young girl born into an aristocratic family she has been denied much of the freedom that Romeo benefits from. This means no adventuring out into the streets of Verona, no going out after dark, and of course no reckless behavior involving a boy, but what kind of a life would she live if she did not do just that?
A longer one that is for sure, but also one full of misery. Luckily Juliet has somewhat of a guardian angel looking out for her. This guardian angel also known as the Nurse, helps her with her various challenges that come up in Juliet’s life. F In a time where the parents are not involved enough with Juliet, even at a young age, the Nurse has filled the spot. In place of Juliet’s mother, the Nurse has reastfed her, raised her, and treated her as if Juliet was her own daughter. So instead of going to Lord or Lady Capulet for advice and wisdom on things Juliet would go to the Nurse.
As the Nurse was also technically working for her, there were a lot of rules and regulations she needed to follow in order to keep her job, and this conflict would later affect Juliet’s judgment to tell the Nurse about the things going on in her life. Things that if the Nurse ever told her parents, Juliet would be in an enormous amount of trouble. In those times Juliet’s best option was to seek advice from her dear friend and priest Friar Lawrence. The Friar is a friend to both Romeo and Juliet so he was often put into the direct middle of their situation. He was kind, wise, and always ready to help them out with a plan if the need arose.
Friar Lawrence was the entire reason Juliet and Romeo were able to consummate their marriage. He says to Romeo that they are too young but his hope is to “To turn your household’s ranker to Pure love” meaning he will marry them in hopes that it will end their families feud (Romeo and Juliet 1968). Along with being a good Catholic and holy man, Friar Lawrence is also quite talented in the area of herbs and potions. This benefits Romeo and Juliet quite tremendously after Romeo is banished for killing Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt and the couple has almost given up hope to be together.
The Friar comes up with a brilliant yet flawed plan on how they can save their relationship without defying the wishes of their parents. He shows Juliet a liquid in a vial that she will later have to drink. In his plan, this liquid will cause her to fall asleep for 42 hours allowing her to avoid her wedding with Count Paris, and leading her parents to believe Juliet has died. This would cause them to switch her wedding plans to those of er funeral ceremony by burying her in the Capulet’s Monument where Romeo will awaken her and they both can escape to Mantua to be happy together.
All of these characters cared for Juliet in a way none of the others could. They took care of her and their overall influences affected the outcome of her life immensely. As a mother figure, the Nurse was put into some very tough situations to help Juliet, and even though most of how she was helping was against the rules, she did whatever it took to make Juliet happy. The Nurse is usually portrayed as an older hefty woman in an apron or smock, looking sort of like a aid or housekeeper and coincidentally that is exactly how she is treated.
The Lord and Lady Capulet mistreat the Nurse more than anyone else in the story, disrespecting her and taking advantage of her services continuously. But she does not let this get in the way of her job. She goes on many long journeys for Juliet just to help keep Juliet and Romeo’s romance alive. She often has to defy the rules given by Lord and Lady Capulet for Juliet, but she is willing to do it out of the love she feels for this thirteen year old girl. She just wants the best for Juliet. Up until a disagreement between the two at the end of the story, the Nurse was Juliet’s loyal intermediary and confidente in her affairs with Romeo.
She provides guidance and wisdom to Juliet’s situation, giving her own views of love as a guideline, contrasting with Juliet’s views which are naive and optimistic. The Nurse does not just get mistreated by the Lord and Lady Capulet she is also tormented by others in Verona, specifically Romeo’s colleagues. There is a specific scene where she is tormented by them being called fat and being compared to a sail boat. Mercutio begins the taunting of the Nurse after she asks Peter for her fan because it is warm outside. He says “Give it to her, good Peter, so she can hide her face.
Her fan is prettier than her face. “(2. 4. 94) a remark that would make women today enraged and appalled. Still with all of the disrespect given to her, she kept her poise and still referred to them as gentlemen. With all of the discourteous acts presented upon her throughout the story, the Nurse stayed strong and loyal to everyone giving her honest opinions on anything Juliet needed. Every character has its own distinct personality and characteristics to make them unique. This is all because of the environment they inhabited nd the people who influenced their every action and behavior.
Every character from this story has had many or few people surrounding them that greatly influence their judgment whether it be in a good way or bad. This just shows that even though the background characters are not in many of the scenes, there contribution to the overall story is massive. Shakespeare is able to form even the smallest of roles in a way that they will drastically impact the outcome of story. He has made sure that every character plays an important role when guiding Romeo and Juliet to their tragic and unlikely end.