The Growth of Juliet


Both Romeo and Juliet obtain much growth throughout the play Romeo and Juliet. There are many different kinds of growth, whether physical, emotional etc. Yet Juliet obtains the most growth that is significant to the play. The play is about many new experiences occurring to a family that is used to old, die-hard violence, therefore experiential growth is most important. Juliet is the central protagonist of the play because she obtains more experiential growth than Romeo does.


Juliet obtains the most growth mentally because she is a thirteen-year-old girl who has not yet escaped the protective wall of her family, unlike Romeo, who is already a free-minded roamer in a sense. For example, Lady Capulet says, “Well, think of marriage now. Younger than you, here in Verona, ladies of esteem, are already made mothers.” (I iii 75-77) This is showing that the mother is forcing the issue of marriage upon Juliet when she is only thirteen. Also, Capulet says, “Doth she not give us thanks? Is she not proud?” (III iiiii 147-148) This shows that Juliet has grown mentally, or has started making decisions on her own, since Capulet is angry with her for refusing Paris.


Juliet also gains more growth than Romeo does physically. Most males in that time have much uncontrolled sexual activity. An example is when Sampson says, “I will…thrust his maids to the wall.” Romeo, being male and a few years above puberty, has experience already with sexual activity, (not sex, just activity) Juliet is completely new at the entire concept, just having reached puberty. Also, Romeo has had physical feelings for other girls before. For example, he says, “Show me a mistress that has passing fare;” (I i 243) Here he has already fallen in love with Rosalyn and is soon to find Juliet. Juliet had not experienced physical attraction that we know of before Romeo.


Juliet has also gained more spiritual growth than Romeo has spiritual having to do with religion, good or bad. Neither Romeo nor Juliet seemed to be devoutly religious in the beginning, yet the closer to the end of the play, the more spiritual Juliet becomes. For example, Juliet says “What devil art thou that dost torment me thus? This torture should be roared in dismal hell.” (III ii 49-50) Now this may not be very good spiritually, yet Juliet has gained a little non-holy spunk after meeting Romeo. Also, when the Friar says, “Come. I’ll dispose of thee among a sisterhood of holy nuns. Stay not to question for the watch is coming.” (V iii 161-163) Juliet responds negatively, refusing to become a nun. This is a spiritual decision made by Juliet.


While both Romeo and Juliet gain much growth, Juliet gains more experiential growth, which is more relative to the play. Since a central protagonist is the character that gains the most growth, and Juliet gains the most experiential growth, Juliet is the protagonist of the play.