Gender Roles in Romeo & Juliet

2332 Words May 11th, 2011 10 Pages
The tragedy Romeo and Juliet has been criticized by many critics throughout the years. Most critics tend to agree that Shakespearean literature has strong gender roles. This means that the men will carry themselves with honor and pride. A typical man for the time period in which Shakespeare set his play was the head of the household; anything the man or also known as the head of the family wanted would be put into motion almost as soon as he finished saying the words. The strong males in the tragedy Romeo and Juliet are Juliet’s father Lord Capulet, Romeo, Mercutio, and Prince Escalus. A woman’s typical role of that time period was subservient, always holding her words when it came to decision making. Most women of the time were busy having …show more content…
"Here in Verona, ladies of esteem /Are made already mothers. /By my count I was your mother much upon these years" ( Act 1, scene 3, lines 71-73).
Sir Capulet, Juliet’s father, does a great job of portraying himself as the stereotypical domineering male figure in the play. He does a good job of holding his ground throughout the entire play. There is no scene when his opinion is not considered. Throughout most of the play, he refuses to listen to anyone’s comments having to do with anything - from his daughter’s feeling on marrying Paris to who should be allowed at the masquerade ball. Juliet’s father also forcefully intends to set up the marriage between his daughter Juliet and Paris, the Count and relative to the Prince of Verona. In Act III, scene 3, he tells Paris,
“ I will make I will make a desperate tender

Of my child’s love . I think she will be ruled

In all respects by me.—Nay, more I doubt it not—

Lady Capulet, go to her ere you go to bed. Acquaint her here of my son Paris’ love,

And bid her, mark you me” (lines 12-17).

The way he has stated this to Paris and his wife, Lady Capulet, shows that he is a chauvinist and he doesn’t care what anyone has to say about how they may feel about the situation. This counters the argument that Shakespeare did have definitive gender roles because Sir Capulet’s behavior clearly shows that. With the exception of Romeo, all the main male characters in Romeo and Juliet do have definitive…