Comparing The Nurse In Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

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In William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, two families, the Capulets and the Montagues, engage in a vicious rivalry. Infatuated teenagers and members of the two rival families, Romeo and Juliet, engage in a secret love affair. Friar Lawrence and the nurse serve as authoritative figures to Romeo and Juliet, respectively. Both the friar and the nurse enable the young couple to prosper despite their contrasting motivations to do so. Shakespeare exhibits the complications of gender through the comparison of the friar and the nurse because he is suggesting that the differences between gender, traditionally, are inherently different. The nurse acts as Juliet’s mother figure as she has cared for her all her young life. She has a motherly instinct to nurture Juliet and look out for her well being. She explains, “Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed. And I might live to see thee married once, I have my wish.” She is living vicariously through Juliet by allowing them to physically be a couple. The nurse genuinely cares for Juliet, unlike Friar Lawrence. Although Romeo confides in the friar for advice and the friar does take a serious interest in the young boys romantic life, he ultimately acts upon his own self interest. Indeed, the friar…show more content…
Traditionally, the men would be generalized as caring mostly about the physical components of a relationship and women generalized as caring mostly about the emotional component. However, in this story the roles are switched. The friar cares about the spiritual aspect and the nurse cares about the physical aspect. Shakespeare is suggesting that gender roles that were previously consistent are now changing or obsolete. Juliet serves as a symbol for all young women and the movement of female individualism and breaking away from the norms of traditional society. The age gap between the nurse and young Juliet highlight the two different
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