Act 3, Scene 5 is a very dramatic scene in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, where drama and conflict is direct and obvious for the audience. Everyone watching this scene would have their hearts beating faster because of the strong tension. By the end of this scene Juliet is left a broken and isolated, young girl with nobody to help her. The scene opens with the tragedy struck couple lying in bed after spending their wedding night together. It’s the early hours of the morning and the sun is just appearing on the horizon, Romeo is being realistic and pragmatic, he says “Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day, Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops. I must be gone and live, or stay and die.” Romeo is practical and direct and realises the urgency of the situation and the fact that his life is in jeopardy.
This shows that Romeo knows that if he stays with Juliet it will result with his death because he is in a forbidden place, for two reasons, one being the Capulets resent him and the other being that he was banished from Verona because he killed Tybalt. Juliet tries to convince Romeo that it is still night, as the first words of the scene open with Juliet saying “Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day” showing how impulsive, deluded and foolish she is, she is not thinking of the consequences that could occur if Romeo remains in her house and gets caught. She knows that her parents will show no mercy. Romeo contradicts her idealistic fantasy by being realistic. “It was the lark, the herald of the morn, No nightingale.”
He is saying that the lark is singing which sings in the morning not the nightingale which sings at night. Juliet is still being naï¿½ve and tries to convince Romeo that it is night and not day, “It is some meteor that the sun exhaled” she’s saying that the light in the sky is from a meteor and not the sun which is an absurd and ludicrous exaggeration. Romeo then starts to feel under pressure and he says that he will stay regardless of the consequences, this causes tension because it shows that both characters are acting differently “Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.” Saying that he is prepared to sacrifice his life for her love, Romeo is being rather unrealistic and pathetic at this moment as sacrifice and martyrdom are not to be taken lightly.
Juliet then changes her mind completely in a matter of seconds. She has realised that they are on the verge of a catastrophe. She says “It is, it is, hie hence, be gone, away!” She has realised that she has been blind, and that if Romeo is to live he must leave straight away. Romeo then says “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes!” meaning the lighter it gets the darker their lives become. The Nurse then enters and says that Lady Capulet is coming; this adds tension because we are unsure if Lady Capulet is going to catch Romeo. Juliet then says “Then, window, let day in, and let life out.” meaning that he must leave through the window. When Romeo goes down, they say their farewells, Juliet then has a premonition of Romeo’s death “Methinks I see thee now, tho art so low, As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.” This suggests that she has a bad feeling about the whole thing, this gives the reader the suspicion that the story will end in death and it foreshadows the tragic conclusion of the play. This particular part of the scene is tense because we know that Juliet is vulnerable and by giving Juliet this vision, it would probably scare her and give her the doubt that she will never see her beloved Romeo again. Romeo then departs, leaving Juliet heartbroken and the audience extremely tense.
Lady Capulet enters Juliet’s room, and addresses her daughter very formally. “Ho, daughter, are you up?” This formality between the daughter and the mother suggests that their relationship is distant and unloving. Growing up must have been difficult for Juliet without having a loving and supporting mother. When Lady Capulet walks in, she finds her daughter in tears, she automatically assumes that Juliet is crying about her cousin Tybalt’s death, but as the readers know, Juliet is really crying about the loss of her new husband which gives the audience more power than Lady Capulet. Juliet sees an opportunity to cover up the real reason for her grief and she plays along. She’s being very clever at this time; she’s putting her sadness for Romeo at the back of her head to make sure that he mother does not find out the actual reason for why she is sad.
Her mother then brings up Romeo, as the murderer of Tybalt, ” That same villain Romeo” Juliet, still succeeding in her act, says “And yet no man like doth grieve my heart” Here her mother will assume that Juliet hates Romeo , when Juliet actually means that Romeo is giving her heartache because he is not with her, like a husband should be, instead he has to run away from his new in-laws and the society, this is a very stressful time for young Juliet, she’s confused and scared, all she wants is her husband but it seems like no one will ever accept them as husband and wife. Just knowing this makes it really hard for Juliet to hide her feelings, all she probably wants to do is break down and cry in her mother’s arms, but instead she has to remain strong in front of her mother, which is really hard for her as she is still young. This creates even more tension in the scene, because the readers are thinking if Juliet can still carry on her act or will she break down as she walks the tightrope between revealing the truth and concealing it from her aloof mother.
Lady Capulet then tells Juliet that she has some good news, she informs Juliet that she is set to marry, “Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn” she thinks that this will make Juliet happy, but instead Juliet switches and snaps, “He shall not make me there a joyful bride.” She stands up to her mother in a defiant manner. I think that Juliet has been pushed to the edge, for one, she’s distraught because she had to part from her new husband, she’s confused and frightened because she doesn’t know if she will ever see her beloved husband again.
The last thing she needs is her mother telling her that she has to marry somebody else, so Juliet has a temperamental outburst. Lady Capulet responds by saying “Here comes your father, tell him so yourself” This demonstrates that lady Capulet is frightened and intimidated by her husband and also that she does not seem to care if he gets angry with Juliet, as she knows that he will not be happy with Juliet’s decision not to marry. The reason for this is at the time daughters were stereotyped as obedient and passive, normally when fathers tell their daughters to marry, they obey, Juliet has gone against this, so knowing that daughters and wives are submissive shows that Lady Capulet knows that Lord Capulet will be very angry and will disagree with Juliet in an aggressive manner as he is not used to being challenged and contradicted. This is a very tense scene because the readers do not know how Lord Capulet will react to the news of Juliet refusing to marry wealthy Paris. I think even Juliet is rather frightened of her father as he is a tyrannical patriarch, even although earlier in the play he was represented as a reasonable and kind father.
Lord Capulet and the Nurse enter the room, Capulet is acting in a considerate manner and is sensitive towards Juliet but then says “How now wife have you delivered to her our decree?” This makes it sound like he asked his wife if she has informed Juliet of his command. This makes the room a little tense because people then get frightened to tell Capulet that Juliet has disobeyed. Lady Capulet then hurries to answer and says “Ay, sir, but she will none, she gives you thanks, I would the fool were married to her grave.” Firstly, she addresses her husband as ‘sir’ which shows respect and formality, not how a husband and wife would communicate. She also wishes death upon her own daughter; this must have put Juliet through misery, because even though they are not as close, wishing death upon your child is still heartbreaking and the ultimate rejection. She does not seem to care if Capulet would get angry or not. This part is tense because the we wouldn’t know how Capulet would react to this rebellious and subversive act of rebellion.
Lord Caplet answers by asking rhetorical questions “How, will she none? Doth she not give us thanks? Is she not proud?” I think that he is stunned that Juliet has rejected his command, so he ends up asking questions to get it through his head as this is an aberration in his life. Juliet responds by saying “Proud can I never be of what I hate, But thankful even for hate that is meant love.” Here she is basically saying that although she hates what her father has suggested, she’s grateful because she knows that he thought that she would like it. Capulet wasn’t really ready for forgiveness or meditation, so he goes on to mocking her, insulting her and threatening her “How how, how how, chopt- logic? What is this? ‘proud’ and ‘I thank you’ and ‘I thank you not’ and yet ‘Not proud’ mistress minion you?”
He’s saying she has to stop saying things and get ready for Thursday; this must be hard for Juliet as because her father is not listening to her and not valuing what she is saying. He then says “But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next, to go with Paris to Saint Peter’s church, Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. Out, you green- sickness carrion! Out, you baggage! You tallow- face!” he says he is ready to humiliate her in front of the whole town, he says he will cuff her where prisoners are held and drag her around the town to make her look like a criminal and someone that has done something remarkably bad, when really she has done nothing bad at all, apart from saying that she does not want to marry. This must be a horrible thing to hear your father say to you. He also then insults her by saying that she has a pale face; he says that she is ‘baggage’ meaning that she is extra un-wanted weight on his shoulders.
Lady Capulet is shocked by her husband’s reaction and says “Fie, fie, what, are you mad?” I don’t think she was expecting him to react so fiercely. Juliet gets on her knees and begs her father to listen to her “Good father, I beseech you on my knees” but Lord Capulet will have none of it, so his response to her begs is insulting her even more “Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch! Hell thee what get thee to church a’ Thursday. Or never after look me in the face” He keeps repeating himself, he has repeated the word ‘baggage’ as in letting her know that he is serious about what he is saying, he is also repeating his command about getting to church on Thursday which could mean that he’s reminding her that he is not backing down and that he will have the last word and that she will do as he says. So he has basically told her that if she does not marry on Thursday, he will disown her.
This scene is very tense because Juliet’s father has just informed her that he never wants to see her again unless she does as he pleases. She has to do what he says; he treats her like his property, kind of like a dog he can order about, not like his own flesh and blood. This must have shattered Juliet, she is yet so young but she has to hear that her father will let her die. He then goes on saying “my fingers itch” meaning he is tempted to hit her, and finally he goes and completely insults her, “We scarce thought us blest That God had lent us but this only child, But now I see this one is one too much, And that we have a curse in having her.” He said that he and Lady Capulet thought that they were blessed by having one child but now he said that he was cursed by having her.
The Nurse then intervenes in Juliet’s defence “God in heaven bless her! You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so.” This scene is tense because we know that the nurse is jeopardising her job to help Juliet. Lord Capulet responds by saying that she is not important enough to be involved in their conversations “Hold your tongue, Good Prudence, smatter with your gossip, go.” He tells her to go and talk to her cronies. The nurse still not standing down and says “I speak no treason” and Capulet replies as if he hasn’t herd a word she has said and sarcastically says “O God-i-goden”, “May not one speak?” The nurse asks, Capulet fiercely replies “Peace, you mumbling fool! Utter your gravity o’er a gossip’s bowl, For here we need it not.” He tells her to give her advice to someone that cares, because he obviously does not. Lady Capulet says that he is excessively angry “You are too hot.”
Lord Capulet then has to have the last word and he says that he is annoyed that he’s spent a lot of time and effort finding Juliet a really good husband and all she can do is moan and give excuses. He also repeats his threat of disowning her “Graze where you will, you shall not house with me.” I think again to remind her that he is serious. He then departs. Juliet is completely distraught and crushed because if she does not marry, her father will not care for her. She turns to her mother for sympathy and comfort “O sweet my mother, cast me not away!” and also she begs her mother to delay the wedding or she threatens to kill herself “make the bridal bed In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.” Lady Capulet does not care for her daughter’s threat, or her daughter’s sadness, “Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word, Do as tho wilt, for I have done with thee.” She here she says that she will not help her, she says that she wants nothing to do with her daughter and she has practically disowned her. Juliet is passive aggressive; she wants comfort, but also threatens her mother with violent suicide.
This is such an intense part of the scene because Juliet has been left alone. Both of her parents have told her they will disown her if she does not do as they say. Juliet is distraught and left alone so she turns to the only person she trusts, the one person who has been like a mother to her. The nurse. “Some comfort, Nurse.” This is where the scene gets even more intense as even the nurse, the last person she has left, abandons her.
After standing up to Lord Capulet, she completely changes her mind and tells Juliet to marry Paris. The nurse is pragmatic. I think she changes her mind because she knows that what Capulet says, he will do, so I think that she is trying to protect Juliet from further heartache and sorrow. She then even insults Romeo by saying “Romeo’s a dishclout to him.” Saying that Romeo’s a dishcloth compare to Paris, she says that Paris is good looking with nice eyes. She says that she thinks that Juliet will be happier in her second marriage, and than ads by saying “Your first is dead, or ’twere as good he were as living here and you no use of him,” saying that Romeo is dead or as good as because he has been banished from Verona forever.
Juliet is completely stunned and she cannot believe what the Nurse has said “Speak’st tho from thy heart?” Juliet thought that she can rely on the nurse but now the nurse has betrayed Juliet’s trust, Juliet then goes back to acting and pretends she agrees with the nurse’s statement “Having displeased my father, to Lawrence’ cell, To make confessions and be absolved.” She tells the nurse to tell her mother that she will Paris, the Nurse says that she definitely will and that Juliet has made the right decision. The Nurse then departs, fooled by Juliet’s deception.
Juliet is furious at the Nurse for bad-mouthing Romeo, as she has never spoken badly of Romeo before. Juliet is crushed and thinks the nurse has betrayed her. I think that the Nurse was just trying to protect Juliet and give her the best possible life. But Juliet is furious and calls the nurse an “Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend” here Juliet is acting like her father because if she does not get it her way or if someone disagrees with her, then she will not be happy. She then goes on to saying that she will never trust the nurse again but she will take Friar Lawrence’s advice instead “I’ll to the Friar to know his remedy.” She also says that the Nurse is telling Juliet to perform a sin and break her marriage vows. She then says if all goes wrong she is the only one that has the power to end her life.
Overall, by the end of this scene Juliet is left alone, her husband has left the city, her parents have threatened to disown her unless she does as they please and then the last person that she relied on has also betrayed her. Although Juliet can be vain and vulnerable, she can also be strong and a good actress, this scene shows both sides of Juliet’s character. She lied to three people and she stayed strong and did not break down, but really the readers know that Juliet is left broken and tormented. Her threat of suicide is the only opportunity she has for autonomous action and she is left in a terrible predicament, dependant on the irresponsible Friar.