“O Romeo, Romeo,/Wherefore art thou Romeo?/Deny thy father and refuse thy name,/Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,/And I’ll no longer be a Capulet” (II.i.74–78).
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet concerns lovers whose love and life are destroyed by their parents’ hatred for each other. Throughout the play, Juliet is a naive child who contemplates the consequences of the Montague and the Capulet’s fighting, unlike her parents. Juliet is aware of the danger, although she doesn’t do anything about it to reconcile the families, because she knows that it would be pointless to even try. Romeo is not as aware of the danger of the feuds of the two families as Juliet is, and as a young man he gets angry easier and he is more passionate about things and he only thinks about the consequences later on. Juliet is the youngest characters in the play, who is still an innocent child at times, but who has great willpower and who contemplates the danger of the consequences of the family feuds.
Juliet is at her adolescent age and she is exactly on the border of being an innocent child and becoming a woman. At that time, in Verona, it was a custom for the girls at that age to get married. Lady and Lord Capulet were very much concerned about Juliet’s marriage and her life. As a result, Juliet is being forced to marry a man whom she promises to: “…look to like, if looking liking move”(1, 4, 103), and try to love him.
In the play, Juliet shows her self-confidence, maturity and courage. Juliet has strong willpower and she tries to obey her parents, saying that she will try to like Paris. Juliet shows strong willpower inside of her from the way she deals with the serious situation. Juliet’s dutiful agreement and her obedience looks like a refusal to her parents through a passive attitude. Juliet accepts Lady Capulet’s wishes, but she does not fall in love with Paris. Throughout the play, Juliet is a child and a confident mature woman at the same time.
When Juliet first meets her love, at the Capulet’s party, she shows her first steps away from childhood and towards adulthood. After she sees Romeo for the first time in her life and when she falls in love with him from the first sight, she is very upset to find out that, “[her] only love sprung from [her] only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious love it is to [her]/ That [she] must love a loathed enemy” (1, 5,152-155). Although, Juliet is in love with Romeo, she disapproves Romeo’s fast decisions and his way of romanticizing things and she doesn’t fear to lose her love. She is able to see the events logically and to say the truth, no matter how bitter it is for her. Though her love is irresistible, it is not blind at all after the fact that Romeo kills Tybalt. Juliet’s heart is overwhelming with anger after she hears the news of Romeo’s banishment and Tybalt’s death and she even tells her mother: “…from the reach of [her] hands./Would none but [she] might venge [her] cousin’s death”(3, 5, 90). Although, she is young, her actions prove her internal maturity. Juliet drastically changes throughout the play and she is ready to leave her past life in Verona and to follow the one she loves. Even in the last moment, when the lovers meet at the tomb, Juliet shows more courage than Romeo, because she stabs herself through the heart with a dagger, which is harder to do than to just swallow poison.
In the beginning of the play, Shakespeare portraits Juliet as an innocent child, but throughout the play he makes her change into a self-confident woman. Juliet speaks these lines, “O Romeo, Romeo,/Wherefore art thou Romeo?/Deny thy father and refuse thy name,/Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,/And I’ll no longer be a Capulet” (II.i.74–78), that are the most famous lines in the entire play. While Juliet is standing on her balcony, not knowing that Romeo is in the garden, she asks why Romeo must be who he is, why does he has to be a Montague- her enemy. Juliet is tired of all the Montague and Capulet feuds and she wants Romeo to deny his family name for her love.
Juliet understands the reason of the family feuds, but she doesn’t want it to affect her love for Romeo. Juliet thinks that real love comes only from a person’s inner soul. The product of the family feuds is the outer identity, which is based just on names. The love for Romeo overtakes Juliet’s family’s hatred for the Montagues. “What’s in a name?” she asks. “That which we call a rose /By any other word would smell as sweet” (2, 1, 85–86).
The murder of her beloved cousin with Romeo’s hands is too much for Juliet to take. Juliet questions: “Can heaven can be so envious?” (3, 2, 45), when she believes that Romeo is banished. In Juliet’s inner soul she can not approve this terrific deed by Romeo and at the same time she can not but weep over the death of her beloved cousin. When Juliet finds out that her dear cousin, Tybalt, is dead, she is angry. She claims that Romeo's evil is "hid with a flow’ring face" (3, 2, 79). Her reaction is not surprising, though, because for all Juliet is aware of, this might be true. Despite the fact that "Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood" (3, 2, 77), Juliet remains a faithful wife to her husband and more than that she wants rather “….ten thousand slain Tybalts” (3, 2, 124-125) than one banished Romeo. Juliet is the youngest character in the play who seems to understand the situation and who seems to think about the consequences of the family fights and hatred. When Romeo is banished, she understands that “…to speak that word/ Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,/ All slain, all dead ”(3, 2, 133-135).
Juliet’s parents do not understand their daughter at all and when Juliet tells her mother that she will marry “ Romeo, whom [they] know [she] hates/ Rather than Paris”(3, 5, 127-128) Lord Capulet gets out of rage and he calls his daughter the worst names such as: “green-sickness carrion!...baggage!....tallow face...young baggage, disobedient wretch!” (3, 5,161-166).When Juliet asks her mother to delay the wedding with Paris “for a month, a week,/Or if [they] do not, [the parents can] make the bridal bed/ In that dim monument where Tybalt lies”(3, 5, 211-213).
Juliet is the last victim of the feud of the two families and what she had said before came true: her “…wedding bed/ And death, not Romeo, [took] her maidenhead” (3, 3, 145-150). The Capulets and the Montagues misunderstand the feelings of their children towards each other, and eventually they have to make big sacrifices for their feud. Romeo and Juliet kill themselves for their love for each other and because of the long-lasting hatred of their families. Both of the families are so much into their feuds that they let their most precious children die because of their hate and only when it is too late after their death the parents realize what they have lost and what they did wrong. The love that struck both lovers like a bolt of lightning became a poor sacrifice for the two struggling families and: “…never was a story of more woe/Than this of Juliet and her Romeo”(5, 3, 320-321).