Romeo and Juliet - Sample exam question

The question

Starting with this extract, analyse how Shakespeare presents Capulet's attitudes towards his daughter, Juliet. How does he portray their relationship?

Write about:

  • how Shakespeare presents Capulet's attitudes and their relationship in this extract
  • how Shakespeare presents Capulet's attitudes and their relationship in the play as a whole

The extract

In this extract Capulet is telling Juliet about her forthcoming marriage to Paris.

CAPULET
Fie, fie, what, are you mad?
JULIET
Good father, I beseech you on my knees,
Hear me with patience but to speak a word.
[She kneels down]
CAPULET
Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch!
I tell thee what: get thee to church a' Thursday
Or never after look me in the face.
Speak not, reply not, do not answer me.
My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce thought us blessed
That God had lent us but this only child,
But now I see this one is too much,
And that we have a curse in having her.
Out on her, hilding!

Act 3 Scene 5

Before you go onto the next page, make some notes about what you could write about.

Hints

  • Think about the key words in the essay question (Capulet, Juliet, attitudes, relationship).
  • Think about this extract - how is Capulet feeling towards Juliet? Highlight some key points.
  • Look at the start and the end of the extract - have the attitudes changed as the extract has progressed?
  • Think about the entire play and the relationship between Capulet and Juliet.

Social and historical context

In Elizabethan times, men had power over women. Fathers decided who their daughters would marry and they would arrange this. For a daughter to speak out against their father's choice, would mean great disrespect towards them and the family name.