In the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare reveals a complex character, Juliet, who has a multifaceted personality. Even so, the essence of Juliet’s identify is her youth. Her inexperience gives her a lovable freshness. This is first demonstrated in the famous balcony scene when she is talking to herself. Her question, “What’s in a name?” suggests a very childlike quality. It’s her way of paraphrasing the question, “Why?” Children often ask this question without even thinking about it. As the scene progresses, she proposes to Romeo. She is so artless and untraditional in this regard. Nowadays, society has given women more freedom and independence. Back then, a woman proposing marriage was unheard of. Through this encounter between Romeo and Juliet, we see Juliet’s innocence in the way she responds to her first true love. Their poetic words are simple yet sincere, sweet words spoken in total honesty from the depths of their souls. New to love, Juliet found it difficult to express her feelings to Romeo. Had he no overheard her private thoughts in Capulet’s orchard, Juliet most likely would not have been able to say those things to his face.
Later in the play, Romeo says, “Now I have stained the childhood of our joy.” He recognized the purity of their love. Perhaps this is why Juliet devotes herself so entirely to him without any doubts. She has childlike faith in him. In that way, her love for him was blind. Ever the optimist, she still believes Friar Lawrence’s plan will work despite all the possible catastrophes that could occur. For her, love will always triumph over hate. There’s no reason for her to believe otherwise. Her youthful nature is shown again through her impatience. Waiting for the nurse to come back, Juliet is anxious and frustrated. The second the nurse returns, she demands to hear of the news. This shows somewhat of a character flaw as she is only interested in instant gratification. Her inability to wait for long term satisfaction sets the stage for more diaster for the “star-crossed lovers.” The nurse comments on this when she says Juliet is “hot”, meaning impatient.
Juliet has a tendency to rush things; this trait goes hand in hand with her impatience. Romeo and Juliet are already married when their relationship is only a few days old. Eventually, this fault in the couple leads to their untimely demise. Hastiness is an important part of the play. Juliet’s line, “It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,” serves to confirm this. Although she realized this fact, she did nothing to slow down the pace of the relationship. Rebelling against her parents to wed their enemy’s son, Juliet was merely following her heart. By that time, she had fallen too much in love with Romeo to give himup. Despite not wanting to disobey her parents, she listened to her instincts and emotions. In her case, it was an unwise decision because her emotions clouded her judgment.
Juliet’s attributes contrast sharply with those of the nurse, who acts as a foil. Even though the two are extremely close, they are remarkably distinct. For example, Juliet is still dreaming of love whereas the nurse is more enlightened. Juliet is very naive about men, whereas the nurse has “no faith, no honesty in men.” The young teen has not perceived anything in her short life to stain the male image in her eyes because of her sheltered existence.
Overall, Shakespeare has made Juliet come alive in the sense that she is a person with whom we can identify with. She is like a precious gem, still being refined and polished into a mature adult. That dear imperfection is something we all can relate to. The audience connects with that and for them, she isn’t just a fictitious role in an imaginary world. Shakespeare’s mastery comes from not only the beautiful poetry or prose, but from his ability to reach out and the touch the audience with characters like Juliet.