AQA English Literature - Romeo and Juliet Essay - June 2018
Romeo and Juliet Essay - AQA English Literature Exam - June 2018
This is an exemplar Romeo and Juliet essay, at GCSE standard, based upon the AQA English Literature June 2018 exam question. The essay analyses aggressive male behaviour in the play. The Romeo and Juliet essay has been well structured and achieved full marks. The Romeo and Juliet essay was written by a student (aged 16) in exam conditions, taking approximately 45-50 minutes to complete.
Read the following extract from Act 3 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet and then answer the question that follows.
At this point in the play, Juliet has just been told that she must marry Paris.
CAPULET How now, wife, Have you delivered to her our decree? LADY CAPULET Ay, sir, but she will none, she gives you thanks. I would the fool were married to her grave. CAPULET Soft, take me with you, take me with you, wife. How, will she none? doth she not give us thanks? Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest, Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought So worthy a gentleman to be her bride? JULIET Not proud you have, but thankful that you have: Proud can I never be of what I hate, But thankful even for hate that is meant love. CAPULET How how, how how, chopt-logic? What is this? ‘Proud’, and ‘I thank you’, and ‘I thank you not’, And yet ‘not proud’, mistress minion you? Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds, But fettle your fine joints ’gainst Thursday next, To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church, Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage! You tallow-face!
Starting with this moment in the play, explore how Shakespeare presents relationships between adults and young people in Romeo and Juliet. Write about: • how Shakespeare presents relationships between adults and young people at this moment in the play; • how Shakespeare how Shakespeare presents relationships between adults and young people in the play as a whole.
Shakespeare presents parents as having fragmented relationships with their children, but other adults as being close to them.
In the extract, Capulet and Lady Capulet are seen to have a fragmented relationship with their daughter, Juliet. This can be seen through the use of aggressive language that both Capulet and Lady Capulet use towards Juliet. Capulet is very angry that Juliet hasn’t accepted his “decree”, so he threatens Juliet and says that he will “drag thee” to church. The verb “drag” carries violent connotations of hurting someone and not giving them a choice. Capulet is surprised and so angry that he doesn’t care how Juliet gets to the wedding. Later on in Act 3 Scene 5, Capulet says, “my fingers itch” because he is so angry with Juliet. This implies that he wants to hurt her and put her back in her place.
In the Elizabethan era, wives and daughters were expected to obey their husbands’ and fathers’ every command. They often had no voice and couldn’t speak for themselves. Perhaps by giving Juliet a voice in the play, it allowed Shakespeare to show that girls aren’t always happy with the decisions that men make for them. This could lead to a fragmented relationship between fathers and daughters. To an Elizabethan audience, it would have been surprising for a girl to have a voice and speak against their father. This could have led the audience to have sympathy towards Capulet and for them to dislike Juliet. Indeed, this allowed Shakespeare to manipulate the audience: to show them what society would be like if women had a voice.
Capulet has a fragmented relationship with Juliet in Act 3 Scene 5 because he doesn’t expect her to refuse his command. Juliet dismissed his power and shows her father she isn’t faithful to him. Although parents are seen as having fragmented relationships with their children, other adults - such as the Nurse - are seen as being close with the young people. In Act 1 Scene 4, the Nurse talks to Juliet about the masquerade party. She refers to her as “my love” and “dear”. These loving, affectionate lexical choices show the audience that Juliet and the Nurse have a close relationship. The Nurse sees Juliet as her own daughter and they have a strong bond. Before the Capulet party, the Nurse tells Juliet to “seek happy nights”. This shows the love that the Nurse feels towards Juliet, as she wants her to enjoy herself.
Throughout the play, the Nurse helps Juliet to make good decisions and she is frequently there to comfort her. Juliet and the Nurse are seen as close when the Nurse offers to risk her life to help Juliet. The Nurse plans Romeo and Juliet’s wedding behind Lord and Lady Capulet’s back, and she goes to see Romeo by herself. The close bond between the Nurse and Juliet contrasts with Lady Capulet and Juliet’s relationship. Juliet calls her mother “madam” and Lady Capulet doesn’t call Juliet “daughter” or “love” until she is ultimately dead. The contrast in the relationships show that the daughter of a family was just an object to be used to higher their social status. The Capulets wanted Juliet to marry Paris so that she could keep her high status. This doesn’t show a loving attitude towards their daughter as they don’t consider her happiness.
Shakespeare used the role of the Nurse to show the audience how little Juliet’s parents cared for her. Throughout the play, the Nurse is the antithesis of Lady Capulet, which highlights how relationships between parents and their children can easily be broken. The Nurse is portrayed as being very tender and loving. Although she is presented as having a lower social status, it shows audiences that if the older generation have an open mind and are willing to listen, their families can be closer and less fragmented, like Juliet’s relationship with her parents.