1. In what way is this extract important to the play as a whole?
In this scene many things that are turning points in the play happen and certain things are revealed about people, such as the nurse and Capulet.
At the beginning of the scene, Romeo leaves for Mantua and Romeo and Juliet say goodbye. This is the last time Romeo and Juliet see each other alive, making this one of the sadder parts of the play. After Romeo leaves Lady Capulet enters to tell Juliet about the proposed marriage. After that, Capulet enters to tell Juliet that she does not have any choice and must marry Paris. This part shows a completely different threatening side of Capulet. After Capulet and Lady Capulet leave the nurse also shows a different side by telling Juliet that she would be better with Paris, causing Juliet to lose her trust in the nurse.
2. What do we know about the characters prior to this scene?
Up to this point in the play, the nurse appears to be a good, trustworthy friend to Juliet but towards the end of the scene she shows a completely different side. Before this point the nurse appears to be a simple minded person who could only do what she thinks is right. She always agrees with Juliet and trys to keep her happy. When Capulet tells Juliet that she must marry Paris the nurse stands up for Juliet, but then tells Juliet that “Romeo’s a dishclout to him” and that Romeo’s as good as dead.
This could mean a variety of things. One is that the nurse thinks that if she does this it will help Juliet get over Romeo quicker, another is that the nurse knows that if she argues with Capulet lose her job. The other is that the nurse truly believes this and is not thinking of Juliet’s feelings. All these mean different things and each show a different aspect to the nurse’s character.
Before now we know that Capulet is a person who likes to fight, especially with Montague’s, always thinks of what is best for Juliet, is a good organiser and likes to be in charge. He is very conscious of his social position and is very headstrong. During this scene Capulet shows that he more cares that he looks good and keeps his social status then he cares for Juliet’s feelings. He shows this by forcing Juliet to marry Count Paris.
Juliet is shown to be courageous strong willed and single minded whilst still being emotional and impulsive prior to this part and in this scene continues to act the same. So generally she does not change proving her singe mindedness.
3. What do we about the characters in this scene? Does any of their behaviour seem odd?
In this scene we learn a lot about certain characters and little about others. We learn that Capulet has a bad temper when people disagree with him and we learn that the nurse may be quite two-faced.
Juliet’s first reaction to the proposed marriage is to politely refuse at first but at the same time with force. This leads to her getting desperate and begging, her reasons for not marrying is that she hates Paris and if she marries him she will die. There are not many threats but the last one should be more then persuasive if anyone was to believe that she would.
Lady Capulet feels that this marriage is reason for happiness and is very happy herself but then turns angry when Juliet refuses, even saying, ” I wish the stupid girl would marry into her grave”.
Capulet is also happy and very cal until Juliet says no then he also gets incredibly angry and calls her a slut as well as many other insults. The nurse tries to intervene but he refuses to listen to her and insults her too,
4. If you were to direct a film version of this scene, explain what you would decide for the following:
If I was directing this scene, Juliet’s room would be really big and spacious. The walls would be a very pale, sandy colour. On the west side would be a balcony that stretches across and curls around onto the south wall. The balcony would have a row of doors so that when they were opened the balcony would be like an extension to the room. In the centre of the north wall would be a huge 4-poster bed with a canopy over the top. Around the bed would be a step down to make the bed slightly lower then the rest of the floor. At the end of the bed would be an oak seat that could be opened up and used to store things. Towards the left of the south wall would be a big chest of drawers, also oak. Next to these drawers would be a chair and on top would be a washbowl and jug. To the left of the east wall, near the bed would be a dressing table with a colossal oval mirror. On here would be all Juliet’s make-up etc. near the south wall would be a door and another near the east wall. The ceiling would be really high with oak beams and the floor would be made of flagstones.
The characters would be in period dress for the 1300s they would probably be quite drab boring colours, most likely brown and creams. Some people would wear brightly coloured clothing but it would probably only be the louder characters such as Mercutio. The nurse would wear a blue dress with a white blouse underneath with a padded rear. She would have a kind of hat, made of cloth that covered most, if not all of her hair.
Juliet would be in her nightgown, which would be white, full length and would have frilly/lacy cuffs, neck and hemline. Her hair would be just left to dangle down and be messy. Lady Capulet would be dressed in something similar to the nurse but in a brown colour.
The moment when Lady Capulet tells Juliet about the planned marriage I would have a shot of Juliet in bed with Lady Capulet sat on the edge, then when Lady Capulet says “bride” I would zoom into Juliet’s face to get a full shot of her facial expression.
When Capulet asks Lady Capulet if she has told Juliet about the marriage I would have Capulets face so that I could see both of their reactions. Then I would zoom out so more of their bodies and the room can be seen. Then I would have the nurse standing up for Juliet and I would make sure that I could see Capulets face so that I could see him get angrier and angrier. Then I would have the nurses and Juliet’s face so that when the nurse speaks against Romeo you could see Juliet’s reaction and the nurses’ sincerity.