Romeo and Juliet
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The Nurse Timeline and Summary
- 1.3: The Nurse makes it clear that she, not Lady Capulet, is the one who has really raised Juliet, as well as the one who knows her best. Lady Capulet is trying to tell Juliet about a marriage proposal, but the Nurse hijacks the conversation with her memories of Juliet's childhood antics. Sounds like an under-the-table power struggle.
- 1.5: The Nurse watches over Juliet at the party. She breaks up the Romeo-Juliet kissing scene when she comes to tell Juliet her mother is looking for her. The Nurse starts her role as Romeo and Juliet's go-between when she informs Romeo of Juliet's identity and later learns Romeo's name. She's a regular ol' matchmaker.
- 2.2: The Nurse adds both comedy and tension to the balcony scene by calling to Juliet from offstage and forcing her to go back inside repeatedly.
- 2.4: Juliet sends the Nurse to meet with Romeo and find out the plans for their wedding. When the Nurse tries to find Romeo, she is met by Mercutio, who both flirts with her and mocks her. The Nurse is simultaneously insulted and titillated by Mercutio's innuendoes. When she finally gets Romeo alone, the Nurse talks a mile a minute and barely allows Romeo a word in edgewise. Miraculously, he somehow gets his message across.
- 2.5: The Nurse loves teasing Juliet, so when she returns with a message from Romeo, she refuses to tell Juliet what Romeo has said. Instead she complains about her aching back and how tired she is. When Juliet can't stand it anymore, the Nurse tells her that Romeo is waiting to marry her in Friar Laurence's cell.
- 3.2: The Nurse has gone out to get a rope ladder to allow Romeo to sneak into Juliet's room that night. She brings back the ladder – but she has also just seen Tybalt's dead body and heard that it was Romeo who killed him. The Nurse tells Juliet the terrible news and bitterly denounces Romeo. Juliet yells at the Nurse for criticizing her husband. When she sees how desperate Juliet feels at the news of Romeo's banishment, the Nurse promises to find Romeo so Juliet can say good-bye to him.
- 3.3: As the Nurse suspects, Romeo is hiding in Friar Laurence's cell. Romeo is a total mess, and the Nurse tells him to get his act together for Juliet's sake. Then she lets Romeo know that Juliet still loves him, even though he has killed her cousin.
- 3.5: After Romeo and Juliet have spent their wedding night together in secret, the Nurse comes in to warn them that Juliet's mother is coming and that Romeo had better peace out. Lady Capulet announces that Juliet will be marrying Paris later that week. When Juliet hysterically refuses to marry Paris, her father is furious at her disobedience. The Nurse tries to intervene and tells Lord Capulet that he is being too harsh on his daughter. In response, Lord Capulet attacks the Nurse verbally – and maybe physically. He tells Juliet that she can either marry Paris or be thrown out onto the streets. After her parents leave, Juliet asks the Nurse for advice on what to do. The Nurse tells her she should forget Romeo and marry Paris.
- 4.2: Juliet comes back from her visit to Friar Laurence, and the Nurse thinks she looks more cheerful. Juliet says she will marry Paris and asks the Nurse to help her figure out what clothes she should wear on her wedding day.
- 4.3: Juliet asks the Nurse to leave her alone, telling Lady Capulet that the Nurse should help with the wedding preparations.
- 4.4: The Nurse bustles around excitedly with Lord and Lady Capulet as they prepare for the wedding.
- 4.5: The Nurse tries to wake Juliet for her wedding with Paris. At first, she teases Juliet about sleeping now since Paris will keep her up all night during their honeymoon. Then she realizes Juliet is no longer breathing. Along with the rest of Juliet's family, the Nurse mourns over the body of her beloved girl.
- 5.3: The Friar confesses to the Prince that the Nurse was involved in Romeo and Juliet's secret marriage. It's unclear if the Nurse will be pardoned or punished for her role in the tragedy.