Juliet is the beautiful (and only) daughter of the Capulets. In the play, she falls in love with Romeo Montague, the son of her family's mortal enemies.
Juliet is much more than just a pretty face. She's smart, witty, and determined. She knows what she wants, and she gets it. It's Juliet, after all, who proposes to Romeo, not the other way around: "If that thy bent of love be honourable, / Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow," she says (2.2.17). Some literary critics argue that Juliet alone is the play's real protagonist: she is the one who speaks to the audience most frequently (often a good indicator of who is important in a Shakespeare play) and her character undergoes the greatest evolution during the course of the play. She also gets to speak some of Shakespeare's most poetically beautiful lines.
Juliet matures over the course of the play. She begins as a naïve girl who's dependent on her family and ends up a woman willing to desert that family to be with the man she loves. Where does this maturation takes place? We see something going on when Juliet meets Romeo. Every time Juliet comes onstage after this transformative scene, her love continues to change and deepen. Let's look at the balcony scene. The Juliet who sighs at the beginning of the balcony scene that Romeo would be perfect if only he weren't a Montague (2.2.2) is not the same Juliet who tells Romeo, wonderingly, "My bounty is as boundless as the sea / My love as deep. The more I give to you / the more I have, for both are infinite" (2.2.16).
The most intense moments of Juliet's transformation take place in the course of a single scene: Act 3, Scene 2, where Juliet completes years' worth of maturation in a matter of a few minutes – by the end of the scene, Juliet has become a woman. Check out this excerpt from her show stopping monologue, which opens the scene:
Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus' lodging: such a wagoner
As Phaethon would whip you to the west,
And bring in cloudy night immediately.
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaway's eyes may wink and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalk'd of and unseen.
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties; (3.2.1)
Juliet's impatience for the night to come and for Romeo to arrive shifts into excitement and apprehension as she anticipates being intimate with her husband. She is both joyous and jittery but never apologetic about her sexual desire for her husband. (In this way, she reminds us of the decidedly unbashful Desdemona, in Shakespeare's play Othello.) When the Nurse breaks the hopeful mood of the scene with the news that Romeo has killed Tybalt, Juliet's first reaction is to grieve over her cousin and reject Romeo as just another heartless Montague. But Juliet has just married Romeo, and she takes her wedding vows seriously. In a single monologue (3.2.10), Juliet decides to choose loyalty to her new husband over love of her family. Then she has to struggle with the realization that the man she loves has been banished, and that the life she expected to lead with him will no longer be possible.
The point we're trying to make is this: Juliet is faced with hard, adult choices, and she doesn't flinch. When she asks the Nurse to find Romeo for her, she faces the facts: Romeo is coming to take his "last farewell," and she may never see him again (3.2.12). It's an interesting way of portraying a rite of passage. It's often assumed (especially in literature) that girls become women the first time they have an intimate experience. But Juliet seems to become a woman before she has matures sexually.
It's also important to realize that Juliet's path to suicide is different than Romeo's. Romeo has been banished from his home city, but he still has contact with his family and friends. Juliet, on the other hand, has been systematically stripped of the support of everyone around her. She has to undergo a brutal series of scenes that take her from saying good-bye to Romeo after their wedding night, to the news that she is supposed to marry Paris, to her father's rage when she refuses, to a meeting with Paris himself. Some might claim that Juliet has little choice other than suicide. Her father threatens to throw her out of the house onto the streets if she doesn't marry Paris. Her mother nearly disowns her. Even the Nurse turns against her. Juliet, for all the emotional maturity she gained throughout the play, is still incredibly sheltered. As far as we can tell, she hasn't really been anywhere besides her home and Friar Laurence's. She has no idea how to survive in the outside world, especially in the Elizabethan world where women couldn't really function without husbands and fathers, unless they were prostitutes. AND, in case you forgot, she's thirteen years old.Juliet Timeline