Desperate Times Call for Drastic Measures “Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch! ” howls Lord Capulet to Juliet in William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet. Capulet’s words take readers by surprise in Act three Scene five since Capulet has never behaved furiously towards Juliet. Because of Capulet’s selfish interest in his own happiness, his fury towards disobedience, and the simple fact Juliet disobeys him, Capulet turns abruptly brutal towards his daughter when she refuses to marry whom he picked.
Lord Capulet only has one daughter to keep the family going, that is why he is so careful for Juliet’s future, because he is only thinking about his heirs. His selfishness is prominently shown when Capulet is speaking to Lady Capulet about how Juliet balked his own arranged marriage plans, “Wife we scarce thought us blest that god lent us but this only child” (3. 5. 170-172). Capulet only has one child and inheritor, in one way or another, he is solely thinking about himself. Capulet is pensive about Juliet’s future only because he wants to have grandchildren and a wealthy son-in-law.
Lord Capulet only cares for his future, not his daughter’s content. After Lord Capulet finds his “dead” daughter, he says to himself, “Death is my son-in-law. Death is my heir my daughter he had wedded I will die and leave him all. Life. Living all is death’s” (4. 5. 38-40). Capulet’s selfishness perhaps is shown at its finest in this scene, he only cares for anything that has to with himself, like his inheritors. The language in this scene suggests readers to have a better understanding of the narrow-minded Capulet.
Death has not only taken his daughter, but also all the family he could have had. Capulet is selfish in the sense that at his own daughter’s death, he cares more about his loss of heirs. Lord Capulet’s narcissistic attitude suggests he is not the best father figure, he does not want anyone to ruin his joy, not even death itself. Capulet’s dominant and threatening comportment towards Juliet is caused because of his own selfishness. Capulet’s aggression when Juliet refuses to marry Paris is caused by Juliet’s disobedience or ungrateful behavior (in the eyes of Capulet).
Capulet is so used to Juliet being so obedient, her refusal takes him by shock. When Juliet says no to his order he states, “ How,how,how,how? Chopped 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”(3. 5. 149-152). In Lord Capulet mind he thinks he has given Juliet the best husband and given himself the best heir, so for her to refuse this, he believes she is suddenly ungrateful and disobedient, he is not used to this behavior coming from Juliet.
Juliet’s “chopped logic”, meaning her unreasonable decision to marry Paris, has Capulet surprised since she has no reason at all not to marry Paris. Capulet does not get where Juliet’s disagreement is coming from. When Juliet does not agree to marry the wealthy and handsome Paris that Lord Capulet has chosen for her, Capulet questions himself and his wife, “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 blessed, Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought So worthy a gentlemen to be her bride”(3. . 141-145). Not only does Capulet believe that Juliet is disobedient but also that she is ungrateful. Capulet cannot stand the fact that anyone would dare to not take his orders because he is so used to everyone obeying his every word. His actions in this scene in particular highlight what is going on in Lord Capulet’s head, he is astonished by his own daughters disobedience consequently resulting in his own As a result of Juliet’s disobedience, Capulet’s emotions change dramatically because of his hatred towards disobedience.
Capulet presents this hatred when he gets very displeased by Tybalt’s desire to ruin his party by fighting Romeo. Capulet exclaims ,“He shall be endured. What, godman boy! I say, he shall. Go to. Am i the master here, or you? Go to. You’ll not endure him! God shall mend my soul, you’ll make a munity among my guests. You will set cock-a-hoop. You’ll be the man! ”(1. 5. 75-79). Capulet, hates disobedience when it comes to his parties or fun. Lord Capulet changes attitudes almost instantly when things don’t go his way. Capulet only cares purely about his happiness, even when it comes to his daughter.
When Juliet does not listen to Lord Capulet like Tybalt did, Capulet has the same angry outbreak with her, “Hang thee, you baggage! Disobedient wretch! I tell thee what: get thee to church o’ Thursday, or never after look me in the face. Speak not. Reply not. Do not answer me. My fingers itch”(3. 5. 160-164), Capulet says this because the main idea in his mind is the wedding feast and guests. He loves parties and guests, it is his happiness. Threats of ruined plans wont go without a raged speech from Capulet, because he commands and orders he does not take defiance from anyone.
All in all his hatred towards disobedience or ruined plans are a huge part in his personality and the reason why he turns against Juliet so brutally when she refuses to marry Paris. Lord Capulet revolts so cruelly when Juliet shows defiance against his order to marry Paris because he is devoted only to his desire of joy, Juliet’s disobedience or interference of his fun, and his rage and hate towards disobedience itself. Shakespeare shows Capulet as a party loving man, but when one dares to interfere his joy his personality changes dramatically.
Shakespeare is representing the irony in Lord Capulet’s character, whom has a friendly and party loving appearance, but not a genuine and stable personality. His attitude changes rapidly in the tragedy in one scene to the next. Readers do not have a stable opinion on Capulet’s personality because he is concerned for Juliet in one scene, then disinheriting her in the next. Altogether Lord Capulet is selfish with happiness and he has no limits on what he would do to pursue it and have it right in front of him; that is why he drastically changes his attitude when things do not go his way. Capulet demonstrates his true colors in his bitter acts.
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