Task: Consider a play in the course of which one of the major characters changes significantly. Outline the nature of the change and go on to discuss to what extent the dramatist convinces you that the change is credible and consistent with the play’s themes.
Set in fifteenth century Verona, “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare effectively presents a character which develops from a naϊveand protected young girl, to a passionate young woman who is prepared to die for her love, Romeo – a Montague, in the form of Juliet, Capulet’s daughter. At key stages in the plot Shakespeare illustrates the reason this girl is transformed as she defies the hatred of her environment which is infected by the ancient grudge between the Capulets and the Montagues by showing love to an enemy. As a result, Shakespeare builds our empathy with this enthralling character because her change is credible and she draws the audience into a tragedy which is dominated by themes of love and hate, fate, and the most tragic, death.
Having not quite reached her fourteenth birthday, Juliet is of an age that stands on the border between immaturity and maturity. At the play’s beginning however she seems merely an obedient, sheltered, naïve child. Though many girls her age—including her mother—get married, Juliet has not given the subject any thought.
“Paris: But now my lord what say you to my suit?
Capulet: My child is yet a stranger in the world;
She hath not yet seen the change of fourteen years:
Let two more summers wither in their pride.
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.
Paris: Younger than she are happy mothers made.”
Throught the dialogue between Paris and Capulet, Juliet is revealed to be just thirteen. She will soon be fourteen and when she does, in this society, the function of women is to carry on a man’s line. This is highlighted through the quote through Paris saying “happy mothers made”. They are making Juliet...