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.
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.