This male domination is shown in the play through Lord Capulet’s relationships between his wife, daughter and other members of his family. This patriarchal domination makes him very powerful and makes other characters in the play weaker by comparison. This power is very important in determining the outcome of the play. The portrayal of Lord Capulet’s character, shows him as one who has the power to tell others what to do as well as having complete power over his household and what happens in his household.
He expects his wife (Lady Capulet), daughter (Juliet) and his servants to do exactly as he tells them. Shakespeare wrote in the Elizabethan age, so naturally he based most of his plays on the morals and social standards of the time. During the Elizabethan period noble women were expected to be married off to rich, socially acceptable men. Fathers choose the men they considered “suitable” for their daughters, aiming to marry them off to higher social circles to levitate their own. Men were considered the bread winners of the family and women inferior to them.
It was thought unconventional for women to make important decisions for themselves, they were incapable and therefore men where to make their decisions for them, not just regarding their marriage. Women could refuse to marry but would be disowned by their families; it was a silent threat that was hidden underneath every happy Elizabethan family. Just as Capulet’s behaviour so drastically contrasts from when Juliet was obeying him to when she spoke out. Women had either little or no work opportunities outside their family and without a male supporter they became penniless street vagrants.
Elizabethan society wasn’t fair; if it was then women wouldn’t be working in high power jobs equally with men. The modern society we live in has changed so because of the prejudice against how women where controlled mercilessly by men. In my opinion that is unjust and wrong, I am very appreciative that I wasn’t born in such a limited society. At the beginning of Romeo and Juliet it is clear Capulet feels his daughter is “too young” to marry and “still a stranger to the world” as Capulet first tells Paris when he proposes, conventionally to Capulet not Juliet. Still a stranger to the world” further implies he does not see her as a valid person yet, the fact she is still “a stranger to him” displays a lack of trust in Juliet and maybe some hidden doubt about her loyalty to him as a father Lady Capulet reflects her husband’s views for Juliet to marry “The gallant young and noble gentlemen” Count Paris. This shows a positive attitude towards their marriage; however this may be due to Lady Capulet’s conventional need to support her husband. Gallant” and “noble” was the ideal interpretation of the Elizabethan man, which Lady Capulet’s own marriage was decided upon. Yet in her statement she only refers to the class and elegance of Juliet’s husband to be, excluding any words of excitement or happiness for her daughter, almost only used to persuade her daughter to accept. This shows the familiarity between mother and daughter and how their relationship is based so similarly to that of Juliet’s and Capulet’s, on expectations. Juliet’s refusal to marry Paris affects her father is a variety of ways.
On his first encounter with her Capulet asks why she is “evermore weeping”, showing compassion for his daughter. Yet when he hears of her refusal he becomes angry and insulting. “Disobedient Wretch” suggests he not only feels betrayed by his daughter but his compassion and love for his daughter was merely superficial and has evaporated along with the marriage proposal. Juliet still shows respect and submissiveness towards her father, “beseeching” him on her knees and “thankful even for hate”.
This symbolises how dependent Juliet is on her father, and how she is emotionally forbidden from self-pity. In Act 3 scene 5 Capulet proceeds to call his daughter a “Tallow faced green sickness” implying she is a plague and therefore a burden on the Capulet family. Then he proclaims that “one is one too much, we have a curse in having her” and threatens to be “rid of her”. I believe Capulet’s and Juliet’s relationship was parley based on his expectations of her as his “Little Lady”. Now he accepts nothing of her, she is no use to him as a possession that has merely broken.
Act 3 scene 5 contains a number of features of tragedy, not only as Capulet cruelly abandons his daughter, but when Juliet proclaims her future and therefore her death. She curses that “If all else fail, myself have the power to die” suggesting not only her willingness to die but personalizing the phrase with “myself”, indicating suicide. All of Shakespeare’s plays display some sense of tragedy, always involving the eponymous heroes, who repetitively perish after titling the play such as Hamlet, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra and King Lear.