Discuss the way in which Shakespeare creates dramatic tension based around the transformation of Juliet’s character


The complexity of Juliet’s character shines through in Shakespeare epic tragedy. The subtle change from immature adolescent teen to mature adult in the space of no more than two weeks. The transformation takes shape at each twist and turn of the plot.


The first time the audience meets Juliet is Act 1 Scene 3, and the first interpretation of Juliet is dependent child as she walks in and says to her mother ‘Madam, I am here, what is your will’ to me this sounds if she is on command to every demand her mother makes to her. To me this sounds as if her mother is in control and immediately the audience knows Juliet’s current position and role in the family. The role of her mother on the hand is complicated because the nurse has taken the role of mother. So Lady Capulet takes it to her self to organise Juliet’s life with little love, choosing which parties will she go to, whom she can to meet, and whom she will marry. Lady Capulet runs Juliet’s life but is not the main influence in it, as that again had fallen to the nurse. As her mother is not a main emotional influence, and as she does rule Juliet’s life with little love Juliet naturally sways more towards her dad for love and affection, this makes the parental role of Lord Capulet very important because without it Juliet and her life would apart as we see later on in the play. Obviously because of the lack of motherly love the Nurse is the main source of motherly affection. At this stage Juliet’s perceptions on marriage ‘is an honour that she dream not of’. Juliet knows what an honour marriage is but she knows she is not ready for it. At this stage of the play can see how the young is dependent on her nurse and to immature to make decisions for herself.


When Lord Capulet is talking about Juliet in Act 1Scene 2 it is obvious to see that Juliet is his last hope, and only heir to the throne of the Capulet estate, He has great expectations of her becoming a wife continuing the family tree. His expectations expect her to marry Paris, a noble man with many excellent qualities, and Capulet believes he would make a superb husband for Juliet. The irony of this is that Juliet ends up falling in love with the enemy of Capulet house, disobeying her father, and finally killing her self due to a broken heart. There is an amount of dramatic irony as because of the prologue the audience already have some clue in to what is going to happen.


By the time Romeo and Juliet finally meet in Act 1 Scene 5 the audience have a pretty good view on how Juliet is portrayed and her expectations. The Romeo storms into Juliet’s life and crumbles, destroys, a changes all expectations and portrayals, and Juliet is instantly swept of her feet. Whether or not at this stage Juliet actually loves Romeo is a question for debate, can you love someone you have shared two kissed with and half a paragraph, or is this what you call love at first site. Yet regardless of this you begin to see the inner conflicts starting to emerge as Juliet says ‘My only love sprung from my only hate’. Instead of falling for respectable, wealthy and noble man Paris, Juliet has fallen for one of the sworn enemy’s of the Capulet, a man her father, mother, and family will refuse her to meet let alone love and marry. The expected tension in the audience would be high, as they know what conflicts this expression of emotion will cause.


Since the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet has become besotted by the Montague and immediately expressed her wishes to marry Romeo but not till Act 2 Scene 6 do the tow get married after discussing it with both the Friar and Juliet’s nurse. The transformation of Juliet has sped up immensely since she has met Romeo she has become obeying model child to rebelling young women who has chosen to make her own decisions about love and