Romeo and Juliet

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade August 2001

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Romeo and Juliet In this scene the nurse is the messenger between Romeo and Juliet. The main purpose of this scene would have been to amuse the audience, since it was considered funny in Shakespeare's times. This humour is enhanced, by Mercutio's sexual jokes and references. Unfortunately in modern times we are unable to recognize this humour and it really isn't funny at all. The humour would have probably amused the lower classes more then the upper classes and this was most likely the reason Shakespeare uses humour in the play, which is after all a play of tragedy and has little room for humour.

In this scene certain aspects of the nurses character are revealed: she talks too much, she enjoys teasing people like how she teases Juliet about Paris and she knows that Romeo would be more anxious to hear what Juliet has to say: "What she bid me say I will keep to myself "(148) .

The nurse feels that she has a major role in Romeo and Juliet's arrangement, as she does not think that Romeo's man may be trusted and that only she can be trusted. The so called humour in these scenes is enhanced by the Nurses appearance, as Romeo teases her by saying she is as big as a sail, and Mercutio teases her in various another ways. The nurse shows anger towards Mercutio and this is also amusing. The Nurse is more crude toward Mercutio then she is towards Romeo, once she finds out who Romeo is. She is more polite to Romeo.

When Juliet is waiting for the Nurse, she is very impatient and her comments on how old the nurse is also enhances the humour. It shows how impatient Juliet is. When the Nurse returns Juliet is very anxious to find out what Romeo said but the Nurse tries to delay telling her, by complaining about her pains and interrupting Juliet's sentences. This again shows how the Nurse likes teasing people. The Nurse may also be trying to get Juliet to appreciate the effort she made in finding Romeo, which was quite a hard effort as she was teased by Mercutio and Romeo.

The character of the Nurses is one of the most interesting in the play, she is the centre and the reason behind all the humour in the scenes discussed as she is the reason for ridicule. She also adds humour in the way she behaves with Juliet.

Although in the present times we do not find these scenes as amusing as the people five hundred years ago did, we can still try to appreciate the necessity of humour in the play.