Act 3 scenes 5 evokes Shakespeare’s pity from the audience in many ways the use of language, characters and dramatic devices creates the general feeling of sympathy for Juliet. I personally feel Shakespeare’s best use way of provoking sympathy is through the use of the character Capulet and how he uses isolation and manipulation to turn others against Juliet.
We first feel sorry for Juliet with in seconds of this scene when Romeo, her true and passionate lover, must quickly leave her as he is banished and Juliet’s mother is coming. As Romeo and Juliet are together on the balcony Juliet has a premonition that Romeo will die and says “as one dead in the bottom of a tomb. Either my eyesight fails, or thou look’st pale.” The audience feel discomfort and sorrow, as this will remind the audience of the truthful prologue. Her premonitions and quick parting from her husband, who has doubt they will ever see each other again, leads the audience of both modern and Elizabethan society to feel sorrow and to be filled with sympathy for Juliet.Order now
The audience continues to feel sorry as this is one of the first times they have a substantial speaking scene with lady Capulet and she enters by banging loudly on the door desperate to get in. It works well in getting the audience to feel sorry for her as her mother has no idea of the relationship between her daughter and Romeo meaning they are not close and do not understand one and other.
Shakespeare also has the use of language to help him provoke sympathy for Juliet Lady Capulet senses Juliet’s sadness and believes it to be for her cousin’s recent murder she uses the line “but much of grief shows still some want of wit.” It is as though she is saying being this sad is stupid. It also shows how patronizing and what a turbulent relationship with her parents she has. Whilst her nurse treats her like an adult her mother treats her like a child calling her stupid and under developed. Yet the things she has been through makes her seem older and more mature, she is to be married to an older man, Paris, yet has just married Romeo who was also older. All of this is something you would expect in an adult experienced in life and relationships, not a young teenager. This re-enforces the sympathy from the audience the ignorance shown from her mother towards Juliet and the recent events of her life. This shows the lack of communication between Juliet and her mother. It shows how cold their relationship is. The audience realises just how little information is shared in their relationship as Lady Capulet believes it is the loss of her cousin that has sent her into this depression when it is actually the loss, pity and regret of Romeo her true love. This shows the turbulent relationship she faces and how she seems to have no solid friend or thing to lean on.
Shakespeare uses irony showing the audience the true ignorance of Lady Capulet. This is when Lady Capulet decides to have Romeo killed and Juliet is forced to go along with it so as not to seem as though she has feelings or views other than pure hatred for him. In return for the line “keep Tybalt satisfied;” Juliet replies, “indeed I never shall be satisfied.” It is taken by Lady Capulet as a way of showing Juliet showing hatred towards Romeo yet it could be interpreted by the audience as the feelings of Juliet towards everyone but him that she will never be satisfied until he is in her arms. The audience would pity Juliet for this because she must pretend to hate and deny her lover for Romeo, whose life she fears for mere minutes ago.
It would be considered odd in a modern day society that a girl of fourteen could feel so passionately for a boy of only sixteen, as usually at this age girls commit to nothing so serious. This in turn could again provoke sympathy as it shows just how strongly she feels for Romeo and how broken hearted she is at his exile, it also shows how worried she is for him, that he is constantly top priority on her mind. However in the times in which Shakespeare wrote this play it is much more normal for a girl to be married so young. As forced or arranged marriages were much more the norm, this would mean the feelings for Romeo would not be taken so much to heart by the Elizabethan audience as they are to those of modern times.
However Juliet could equally, yet somewhat less likely, wish for Romeo’s death. As this would not only mean she could not worry about him in the same way but also not be commiting bigamy by marrying Paris. As this play is set in a strong catholic society and household. Bigamy is one of the ultimate of sins. Yet I feel this is unlikely and it is more that Juliet feels so strongly for Romeo that for him to die would also give her reason to die and for them to love and be free together.
As Juliet realises she will marry Paris on Thursday her life seems to become more depressing and unbearable. Lady Capulet is shown with very little power now as she washes Juliet off her hands almost, saying: “and see how he will take it at your hands.” Juliet cannot persuade her mother and Capulet a very dominant and un-persuasive man is unlikely to come around either. Lady Capulet is much like saying I can’t do it you must do this yourself. This is the first sign of isolation in this scene where Lady Capulet joins Capulet with anger for Juliet. This isolation will make the audience feel sorry for her because they will realise just how alone she is, as it always seemed her mother was on the fence but now she has left her.
Juliet is already distraught and Capulet comes and immediately is filled with anger, he refers to Juliet as she whilst with Lady Capulet as though patronizing her like she is not in fact there. He speaks above her as though she is a child yet we see clearly from this scene that when he does not get the happy family he so desires he throws a tantrum as though a little child. Capulet’s hope of a happy family may be to out do the Montague family. As they are “both alike in dignity” yet they both fight to be better, whether it be the better servants or the more wealth it seems as though everything is a competition and the order and marital status of their only daughter appears to also be a competition.
Juliet says: “proud can I never be of what I hate,” this line shows how against she is at marrying paris it is to say that she can never be happy or proud if she were with him, this gives Capulet the position to see how angry and against this marriage is. Capulet seems to care little for how upset and depressed Juliet is now and more sympathy is shown from the audience.
Shakespeare uses little actions to evoke sympathy but his greatest use would be when Juliet falls to the floor and begs to not be married the sheer sadness and passion she has for Romeo is brought raw and the audience can see just how inconsolable she is the reaction of Capulet, to turn more raged shows how abusive and controlling he is. Capulet is shown being controlling and dominant through out the play. At the party where Tybalt spots Capulet he is held back by Capulet and angrily agrees to withdraw and do nothing. A man so dominant and angry today would be frowned upon greatly, yet in Elizabethan times this was more normal, the head of the family was the man and he would be in control and everyone would be forced to abide by his rules, this means today much more shock and sympathy is shown by the audience, but in Shakespearian times people may feel more in touch with it but less sympathetic.
Capulet’s rage of abuse and curses continue with him saying “I give you to my friend” this shows Capulet’s final straw, showing his desperation for Juliet to marry. He threatens to give his own daughter away as an object, re-enforcing the dominant alpha male role again. Capulet’s greed and little generosity works well here. It shows just how much she means to him, as it is unlikely he would ever give away money so it is as though Juliet is worth even less than money. He also threatens to take her to church on a mechanism used for hanging. It is as though he cares little of Juliet he would rather have her dead, yet married to Paris, than not married at all. This evokes sympathy by showing just how selfish, uncaring, pride and power obsessed Fulgencio Capulet is towards everyone and how wrapped up he is with in himself.
One of the most important characters in the play, not only this scene, is the nurse. She provides Juliet with, what seems, her only friend through out. She is the only one, minus Romeo, who is in knowledge of her forbidden marriage, when the nurse says, whilst alone and under no obligation of Capulet, “I think you happy in this second match,” Juliet has lost her only friend and is now alone and isolated. I feel some of the most sympathy would be evoked for Juliet in this because they would see just how alone and desperate she is. This isolation is also a common factor of modern day suicide, the feeling of loneliness, the fact Juliet must now control all her feelings and emotions and keep everything to herself is a very clear and suicidal move written by Shakespeare.
Juliet becomes more apparently suicidal as she begins to be withdrawn and in agreement with the nurse, in the Baz Luhrmann production Juliet is shown saying “amen” as a watery almost none compliance saying almost with no meaning, yet I feel it could also mean that she is doing it as a was of saying I agree to all of the past speech and that she means what she says about how she would rather be dead than be with Paris. Juliet continues after the nurse leaves with “if all else fail, myself have the power to die.” It is now clear how desperate and suicidal Juliet now is and that she has lost what seems the will to live. The audience now feels shock and desperation for her, as they realise how the prologue is slowly unravelling.
In conclusion we realise that as a modern audience we have hugely different points of sympathy and views to that of an Elizabethan society. Whilst this society would pity many of the pressures and unstable knowledge of her place with both her family and her place in the society she lives in alone. An Elizabethan may feel she should accept her place being less in control and understanding how she is to marry and bare children. We are also sickened be Capulet’s abuse and use of women and how he feels his sex makes him dominant of the household the shakespearian audience may feel this the norm also as the globe theatre in those days was more populated by men.
This scene, I feel, is a turning point in the play it is where a risking but generally joyus life is catapulted to a suicidal mad town of fear, devastation and realisation of the things expected of a girl so young yet perceived as so old. From when she is spoken over like a child yet expected to marry and commit like many people do in there late life-wise twenties. Not only does this scene evoke sympathy for Juliet s does it for the nurse and lady capulet and all others under the reign of Capulet’s dominating power. We realise that it is from these fatal loins of the two family’s that the true sadness and forbidden love of two star cross’d lovers and their tragic tale form and create one of the greatest love stories of all time.