Exploring Nurses Different Characteristics in the play, Romeo and Juliet
The play Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare is about a love tragedy between two people who are deeply in love. But for the plot to carry on there are some critical characters that are needed, such as the Nurse. Even though she plays a minor role, Nurse is a supportive, motherly, and humorous character. Through most of the play she acts as a messenger who intensifies the relationship between Romeo and Juliet. Also, at certain times she has a motherly attitude towards Juliet by providing counsel and treating her as her own daughter. Lastly, the Nurse is very humorous; she eases the tension when serious matters have to be discussed with Lady Capulet and Juliet. Therefore Nurse is a very important character because these three characteristics of being supportive, motherly, and humorous are crucial in the advancement of the plot.
Throughout the play, the love romance between Romeo and Juliet is forbidden. When everyone is against the two being together the Nurse becomes supportive and strengthens their relationship by helping them stay connected. This can be shown when Juliet has just met Romeo; she desperately needs someone to help her communicate with him. The Nurse assists her by passing on messages back and forth, while taking a dangerous risk of getting caught and facing problems such as mockery. Now afare God, I am so vexd that every part about me quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word: and as I told you, my young lady bid me inquire you out I will tell her sir that you do protest, which as I take a gentlemanlike offer; this afternoon sir; well she shall be there. (Shakespeare 102-104) This quote exemplifies Nurse as being very supportive since she willingly gives up her time to find Romeo. She deals with being mocked by Mercutio, but stays commited and tries to accomplish her task. The Nurse wants Juliet to be happy so she helps them keep in touch. In addition, this is evident when Romeo has just killed Tybalt and Juliet is mourning over the death of her cousin and the banishment of Romeo, Nurse helps them out by letting the couple meet each other for the last time. This is illustrated when Nurse says,Hie to your chamber. Ill find Romeo to comfort you; I wot well where he is. Hark ye, your Romeo will be here at night. Ill to him; he is hid at Laurence cell. (Shakespeare 142). This quote portrays Nurse as being very supportive towards Juliet because the Nurse knows shell get into a lot of trouble. Juliet is not allowed to leave her home so Nurse does the work and finds Romeo, so Juliet can be comforted and with him. Overall, the Nurse is a very supportive person towards Juliets romance. She helps intensify the love between Romeo and Juliet by acting as a messenger, and arranging them to be together so they can live happily ever after.
Another example is that in the play, one can see that Lady Capulet is not the best example of a loving mother. In order to help Juliet, Nurse acts like a second mother who is caring and loving towards Juliet. This can be shown when Lady Capulet calls for Juliet, so they can talk about marriage. Lady Capulet dismisses the Nurse, but then calls her back... This is the matter. Nurse, give leave a while we must talk in secret. Nurse come back again, I have remembred me, thous hear our counsel. (Shakespeare 35) From this quote one can tell that the Nurse is caring and considerate of Juliet. Lady Capulet decides to ask for Nurses counsel knowing she cannot talk to her own daughter alone. This is because the presence of another mother is needed since it is for the well being of Juliet. In addition, when Nurse is talking to Lady Capulet, she recalls on the memories she had with Juliet as a baby. She thinks of the years that she nursed Juliet, and the time Juliet could stand, walk and fall. This is illustrated when Nurse says, And since that time is eleven years, for then she could stand high-lone, nay by the road run and waddle about... God bless you, you were the prettiest baby Ive ever nursed. If I can see you married Ill have my wish. As one can tell, this quote portrays Nurse as a loving woman who took care of Juliet with all her heart, and at this moment is seems like Nurse is a mother who is watching her daughter grow up so fast. Now Nurse wishes that Juliet will get married so she can go out on her own and become a woman. By making this wish, it shows that she loves Juliet dearly and is very motherly towards her. As a result, through Nurses presence while counselling and her moments if going through memory lane shows that Nurse is the mother that Juliet never had.
Lastly, besides being supportive and motherly, Nurse is also very humorous and provides comic relief in the play. At times of serious matters the Nurse says a couple of jokes to lighten the mood. An example is when Lady Capulet is talking about marrying Paris, Nurse says, No less! Nay, bigger women grow by men. (Shakespeare 40) At this moment Lady Capulet is talking about how the marriage will not lower Juliets status, but Nurse decides to cut into the discussion and says that she will also be fatter, meaning Juliet will become pregnant. Here, it can be seen that Nurse brings humour into Lady Capulets serious atmosphere. Another example is after talking to Romeo, Nurse comes home to tell Juliet about the news. Nurse knows that that Juliet is eager to find out what Romeo has to say, so she stalls and talks about her headaches and pain to keep Juliet waiting. This can be shown when Nurse says, Lord how my headaches! What a head I have. It beat as it would fall in twenty pieces Your love says like an honest gentleman and a courteous and a kind and handsome, and I warrant a virtuous, where is your mother? (Shakespeare 110-112) Here, the Nurse brings in her humour to delay the news by making it into a game and talks about many unnecessary things, making Juliet anxious. Some things she talks about are headaches, how wonderful Romeo is, and then suddenly Juliets mother. During this time she has to be serious because her message means a lot to Juliet. But Nurse jokes around and enjoys watching Juliet become more and more impatient. As a result, these examples show that the Nurse is a witty person who likes to tease others during important moments. This includes when talking about marriage or Juliets love life, Nurse had to make fun of Juliet to provide some comedy relief in the play.
In conclusion, the Nurse is a minor character but has a very important role in the development of the plot. When the whole town is against Romeo and Juliets love, Nurse is very supportive and helps them communicate with each other by passing on messages. Also, she acts very motherly towards Juliet and treats her as her own daughter. Especially when Lady Capulet does not act like a true mother, Nurse helps take care and raise Juliet from when she was a baby. Lastly, Nurse is a witty and funny character. She makes many jokes and plays with the minds of others for her own amusement thus providing some comic relief to ease the tension in this sad love tragedy. Therefore Nurse is very supportive and intensifies the relationship of Romeo and her mistress, she acts motherly and takes care of Juliet, and is a comical character that provides comedy in the play, Romeo and Juliet.