"Romeo and Juliet", Act I scene 3: textual analysis
Textual analysis of a comic scene at the beginning of William Shakespeare's masterpiece Romeo and Juliet (act I scene 3).
[...] Before the first meeting between Romeo et Juliet, Paris had ask for Juliet’s hand. Indeed, this scene occurs after a tragic and violent opening scene in which the main characters are men. Thus there is an opposition with the former scene. It is still the first day of the play but, we are now entering into a female's world which is full of humour. The scene is built in a domestic area, the family space. The Nurse is remembering of Juliet's childhood. [...]
[...] But there is also a reference to 2 dead characters: the Nurse's daughter (Susan) and the Nurse's husband. The characters did not have the same role during this scene, and their behaviour reveals their personality. We know a few things about Juliet. She seems to be a passive character. We know her age (she is 13 years old) thanks to the Nurse. the Nurse is the paradigm of nurses : talkative, trivial, jovial, ugly (only 4 teeth!). The idea of paradigm is emphasized by the fact that she has no name. [...]
[...] Thus, the reference to Mantua is a hint to Romeo's banishment in this town elements announce Juliet's death: First, the death of Susan which is Juliet's alter ego according to the Nurse. Secondly the wormwood used to wean Juliet is a poison. And finally the fact that she falls backward can be an echo to the fact she falls backward after stabbing herself. But, above all, the story of Juliet falling backward is present in the scene as a comic element. II/ A COMIC RELIEF? [...]