Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet Family

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In Romeo and Juliet, family means a lot more than a husband, wife, and 2.5 kids. "Family" means everyone from the head of the household down to the lowly servants—anyone who could possibly owe any the Capulets or Montagues loyalty. If you're thinking "street gang" or "mafia movie," you're not too far off. That's why Romeo and Juliet's little love affair isn't just going to get them grounded; it's a betrayal of absolutely everything—like dating someone from a rival school or, yeah, a rival gang. We might think of family as a place of refuse and security, but, in Romeo and Juliet, kinship is more often a source of danger and battle.

Questions About Family

  1. Why do the Capulets hate the Montagues?
  2. How does the Capulet/Montague family feud affect Romeo and Juliet's love affair and marriage?
  3. Why does Juliet face greater family conflict than Romeo? Is it because she is a woman and he is a man? Or because she's still so young?
  4. How do the prince's kinship bonds influence his decision to exile (rather than execute) Romeo?

Chew on This

Romeo and Juliet discover their identities as individuals separate from their families through their passion for each other.

Romantic love wins out over familial love in Romeo and Juliet.

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