Lord Capulet: The True Guilty Party In The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is a heartbreaking story that will live on for centuries. The agonizing conclusion was a result of many miscommunications and rash decisions. However, there is one person who rises above the rest when it comes to the death of Romeo and Juliet. Lord Capulet intended, like most parents, to be a loving, caring and protective father, unfortunately he unknowingly and continually makes decisions that lead to the death of his daughter. Today I will outline the five rash decisions made by Lord Capulet that resulted in this tragedy. First he is locked in a feud with the Montegues, he then lets Romeo stay at the ball, additionally he only allows Juliet to leave the Capulete house to visit Friar Lawrence, then he threatens to disown Juliet if she doesn’t marry Paris, and finally he moves the date of the wedding to Wednesday.
The first and most foolish decision that Capulet made was to continue feuding with the Montegues even though neither party could remember why. The feud had been creating several brawls, “By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets And made Verona’s ancient citizens Cast by their grave-beseeming ornaments,” (Shakespeare ___) however the most influential fight was the one between Tybalt and Romeo. This fight ended with Tybalt’s death and Romeo’s banishment. Romeo’s banishment continues to drive the plot for the rest of the play by driving Juliet to Friar Lawrence’s cell where she receives her plan to fake death and it separates Romeo from information about Juliets’ plan. The first major effect of Romeo’s banishment is that it drives Juliet to Friar Lawrence’s cell. There Friar Lawrance devises his plan to reunite the lovers and gives Juliet the sleeping death potion. This potion is what misleads Romeo into believing that Juliet has in fact died. Additionally, if she had not met with Friar Lawrence she would have never attempted such an unsound plan. The other major effect of Romeo’s banishment is the simple geographical distance created between Romeo and the rest of Verona. This distance is what causes Friar John to fail in delivering his crucial message to Romeo.
Capulet’s next and biggest mistake was allowing Romeo to stay at the party. This created two plots that would be crucial to the death of his daughter. First, this initiated Romeo and Juliet’s first interaction and kiss. This is when their love begins to grow and this is when Romeo forgets about Rosaline, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” (Shakespeare __) The other ramification of allowing Romeo to stay at the party is that Tybalt’s hatred towards Romeo grows after seeing him illicitly kiss Juliet. This hatred only further drives the fight between Romeo and Tybalt which leads to Romeo’s banishment and eventually their deaths.
Another ill-advised rule that Capulet institutes is that Juliet can only leave the Capulet house without her parents to visit Friar Lawrence. This does two detrimental things, it leaves Juliet as a young girl who has no real understanding of how to act around a boy, and it means that Juliet’s only solution to a problem is one provided by Friar Lawrence. Because Juliet has only talked to men under careful supervision she has no idea what to expect when Romeo approaches her. She is immediately enchanted by his charms and falls in love with him. The other ramification of Juliet’s captivity is her reliance on Friar Lawrence. Because she has no contact with the outside world her plan must originate and be completed by Friar Lawrence. The problem with this is that while his plan is certainly creative it lacks insurance and leaves many areas to fail.
The next shortsighted decision that Capulet makes is forcing Juliet to marry Paris, “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!” (Shakespeare, ___). By threatening Juliet so harshly he makes her feel hopeless and desperate. These two emotions are not a good combination especially for Juliet and her situation. The only way at this point of the story to have a happy conclusion would be to have a carefully thought out plan by a level headed person but this is the opposite of what happens. When Juliet seeks advice from Friar Lawrence she tells him the terrible news and then immediately threatens to kill herself. This gives Friar Lawrence mere seconds to come up with a plan daring enough to assuage Juliet’s grief. As a result the plan that arises is patchy at best.
Lord Capulet’s final naive choice is to move the wedding date from Thursday to Wednesday. This rushes Friar Lawrences’s plan and causes it to fail. Because the wedding is moved and Juliet takes the potion earlier the Friars have a very short time to deliver Romeo the news about Juliet. If they had been granted the original time frame Friar John’s delay in the quarantine house, while stressful, would not have been detrimental to the plan. I think that this is the most tragic failure in this play because Juliet is just steps away from achieving her dream but her excellent performance and commitment to the plan is what ends up being the major reason for this tragedy, “Send for the County. Go tell him of this. I’ll have this knot knit up tomorrow morning.”
In conclusion Lord Capulet is the clear person of guilt in this story because he single-handedly sets countless plots in motion with his rash and foolish behavior that lead to the death of Romeo and Juliet. His five grave mistakes are: being locked in a fued with the Montegues: letting Romeo stay at the ball; only allowing Juliet to leave the Capulet house to visit Friar Lawrence; threatening to disown Juliet if she doesn’t marry Paris; and finally moving the date of the wedding to Wednesday. All of these decisions snowball to create this completely avoidable tragedy. Unfortunately despite his best efforts to be an exemplary father for Juliet he manages to make every wrong decision.
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