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English Literature

Character

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There are more than 20 named characters in Romeo and Juliet, plus various other roles. You do not need to refer to many of these. Depending on your task, you might just focus on one or two characters. The starting point is to sort out who they are, how they develop, and how they relate to each other.

Juliet

Juliet is 13 and the daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet. Her character at first appears to be quiet, obedient and innocent. She then meets Romeo and shows she is not as shy as we think. She speaks as much as him and in the same style, and they kiss twice.

She then tells the audience of her love for Romeo, knowing his family is hated by hers. She later announces her love for him again, not knowing he can hear.

Her thoughts are complex, showing her intelligence, and that her love of Romeo is sincere. When she realises he is there, her thoughts are immediately for his safety. She asks him to say he loves her, yet seems very practical about it, not wanting any proof - just his word.

Juliet shows her independence by proposing marriage. She also says she will follow Romeo 'throughout the world'. Juliet does not doubt her husband, even when she learns he has killed her cousin. She is prepared to commit suicide for him, then bravely carries out the Friar's plan, meaning she disobeys her parents and takes a huge risk. Finally, she commits suicide when she discovers Romeo dead beside her.

Those are the basic details of her character. We can now look at how you could use these in your work. Knowing the facts about a character is only the start, though. We need to be able to use them effectively. One way to do this is to have details or quotes from the play to support our ideas. For instance:

The Character of Juliet

PointEvidence
Juliet is quietShe says very little in Act 1, Scene 3
Juliet is innocentWe are told she is not quite 14 several times
Juliet is not shyShe lets Romeo kiss her at their first meeting
Juliet speaks directlyShe tells Romeo he kisses 'by th'book' (that he kisses well or without any real feeling)
Juliet is in loveShe says he is her 'only love'
Juliet commits herself to himShe says: 'All my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay'
She believes in himShe asks: 'Shall I speak ill of my husband?' and later gives her 'ring to my true knight'
She disobeys her motherShe tells her 'I will not marry', and that she will marry Romeo rather than Paris
She is braveShe says 'Tell me not of fear', and is quick to commit suicide, saying 'I'll be brief'

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