Inside Shakespeare's Mind :
Juliet, his most celebrated character
Continuing the series of Shakespeare's women characters, it is Juliet
the Capulet who takes the bow today. She happens to be the most
celebrated character who needs no introduction not only to Shakespeare's
followers but even to those readers who seldom or not have read him. She
dominates the scene before Romeo's arrival at the Capulet's ball and
then get bonded to him and the greatest tragedy bares its pathos,
Shakespeare did not confine himself to the originality in a striking
study of passionate tragedy in which the splendour foreshadowed Juliet
but was liberal with his ardour for the young Romeo. He placed them on
the same platform where the public could not tear them apart.
Therefore, it is not surprising that he accorded praise upon her.
He revealed himself to the contemporaries of his time who sniffed at
his academics that applause of the scholars, can be earned not only
through learning but from the audiences as well. Thus emerged the
largeness of Juliet for the day.
The excessive flow of words dialogued made his learned contemporaries
whine who were unable to grasp his new diction, outside Cambridge and
Oxford. He baffled them with his genius that he snapped off from his
His knowledge of Latin, history (some of which were not right) made
them sit up and wonder as to how he acquired. In the meantime,
Shakespeare was projecting his genius in the plays such as Romeo and
Juliet's anguish before parting, a
poignant moment from the ballet Romeo and Juliet, mounted by
Royal Ballet, London
We meet Juliet for the first time in the Capulet's home:-
Lady Cap – Nurse, where's my daughter? Call her forth to me.
Nurse – Now, by my maidenhead at twelve year old, I bade her come.
What lamb, what ladybird, God forbid? Where's girl? Juliet
Juliet – How now, Who calls?
N – Your mother
J – Madam, I am here. What is your will,
LC – This is the matter, give leave awhile... Thou knowst’ my
daughter's of a pretty age.
N – Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour
LC – She's not fourteen...
Act I Sce. IV
After a whirlwind of incidents, Romeo is by the balcony below,
Juliet – Art thou gone so; Love, lord; husband, friend. I must hear
from thee every day in the hour, for a minute, there are many days.
O’ by this count I shall be much in years. Ere’ again behold my
Act. III Sce. V
When Juliet's father insists that she marries young Nobleman, Paris,
she panics and runs to Friar Lawrence for his help. He gives her an
opiate with instructions that she should drink the following night, the
day she is scheduled to marry Paris. She will be laid in the Capulet
vault in her death-like trance. Romeo will be there to wake her up.
However, Romeo doth not receive the message and when he hears about her
death, he comes rushing to be confronted by Paris whom he kills. Romeo
drinks the poison he had bought from a Mantuan apothecary and dies by
Juliet's side. (laying Paris in the monument).
Romeo – How oft, when men are at point of death, have they been merry
which their keepers ‘Call this is their lightning. O’ my love, my wife;
death that had suck'd the honey of thy breath hath had no power upon thy
Act. V, Sce. III
With Romeo dead, Juliet wakes up from her ‘death’ when Friar Lawrence
enter the churchyard to take her away. He goes to the vault when Juliet
Juliet – O’ comfortable Friar; where is my lord. I do remember well
where I should be, and there I am... Where is my Romeo? (noise within).
Friar – I hear some noise, lady, come from thy nest of death,
contagion and unnatural death...
Juliet – Go, get thee hence, for I will not away (Friar departs)
What's here, a cup of clos'd in my true love's hand. Poison. I see, hath
been his timeless end... (kisses him as Paris’ page enters). Thy lips
are warm. Yea, noise, then I shall be brief. O'happy dagger (snatch
Romeo's dagger). This is thy sheath (stabs herself) there rust and let
me die'... Act V, Sce III
The Prince who enters the death scene, demands from the Watch as to
what happened. Confronts the Friar who reveal the sad episode.
Watch – Sovereign, here lies the County Paris slain... And Romeo's
dead, and Juliet dead before. Warm and new killed...
Capulet – As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie. Poor sacrifices of our
Prince – A gloomy peace this morning with it brings. The sun for
sorrow will not show his head. Go hence, to have more to talk of these
Some shall be pardon'd and some punished.
For never was a story of more woe.
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo. Act V, Sce III
Thus ends the world's greatest love story with Juliet as the central
The famous scene at the balcony where
Romeo meets Juliet, after
the Capulet's ball
Written in 1595-6, Romeo and Juliet is one of the most read of the
It became so popular from the beginning, that the two principal
characters were immortalized but then, after having done an episode on
true love, Shakespeare had to spoil its virgin essence by bringing in a
character of Rosaline with no purpose at all.
The story is sited in Verona and Mantua with noble strapping upon the
houses of Capuleta and Montagues, with war at each other.
Romeo who gets infatuated with Juliet and leads her to commit suicide
after him after a love affair they were too young to handle and
misdirected by Friar Lawrence. The families are reconciled over the
bodies of their children.
The Prince close the play.
Do with their deaths bury their parent's strife
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love
And the continuance of their parents’ rage
Which but their children's end, nought could remove
Is now the hours’ traffic of our stage,
The which of you with patient ears attend
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
One of the most soughted after for stage, film, dialogue, etc. the
role of the tragic lovers have enhanced the histrionics even of the
established Thespians. Never was a role such as that of Romeo being
There is a clear image of Rudolf Nureyev still fresh in the minds of
all ballet lovers around the world. From 1679 to date, the same vigour
among theatre goers prevail. World's leading directors and
choreographers have chopped, added to resurrect these lovers in their
plays, films and ballets.
They have all strived to maintain the youth that Shakespeare
projected, the essence of innocent love in the face of parental
objections and the final sacrifice. Acted, danced, dialogued over
centuries, no one dare change its course and Shakespeare aura will