Juliet Capulet is one of the title characters in William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet. In Juliet's first scene, she demonstrates her obedience and lack of experience in the world, outlining herself as inexperienced and in many ways dependent on her parents and nurse. She has not given marriage a second thought but she does want to do what her mother asks. It is high time that Juliet go the route Lady Capulet went in her youth, and be married to a rich and powerful gentleman. The Count Paris is a bit of a bystander in the play, unwittingly mixed up in the drama between the families. He and Juliet have probably never even met as the play unfolds. His interest in her is primarily based on her social standing and her family's vast wealth, rather than her youthful beauty. He politely and nobly asks Capulet for her hand, and apparently would like for her to begin bearing his children as soon as physically possible: "Younger than she are happy mothers made" (1.2.12). Juliet, on the other hand, has no interest in becoming a wife and the mother of Paris's children: "(Marriage) is an honour that I dream not of" (1.3.68). Even her father considers her too young to settle down. This may be a reflection on his feelings about his own wife, who might have been happier waiting a few years before marrying him. He tells Paris to let Juliet grow up for a few more years before planning marriage (1.2.10-11). Of course, Juliet's mind on the matter changes within a few minutes of meeting Romeo. His very presence seems to propel her toward maturity, and her decisions are made quickly but thoughtfully from that point forward.
Romeo too seems to achieve depth through his intense love with Juliet. When compared to the pining and frustration he exhibited during his crush on Rosaline, his behavior toward Juliet and her family and his attitude in general both show a level of great maturity. The feud that one day had seemed all-encompassing now makes no sense, and he abandons it. Much of Romeo's dialogue with Juliet is an intricate pattern of words. Their rhyming couplets sometimes come together to create a poem. This symbolizes their union, and shows that Juliet can easily match Romeo in wordplay.
It is not clear exactly why Romeo and Juliet love each other, beyond immediate physical attraction. They were married not 24 hours after their first meeting. Fate plays a constant role in the story. Their love is "death-marked" (1.1.9), the lovers are "star-crossed" (1.1.6), and Romeo feels he is being led by the stars like a ship is steered by its pilot. The idea may be that the heirs to these two families were fated to end up together to end the feud, and their deaths may or may not have been part of that fate. The play may be interpreted differently according to the whim of the reader or viewer. The series of disastrous events that leads to their deaths may have been just a part of the destiny, or it may have been what shattered the fate and made the story a true tragedy. Either way, peace comes to the families.
In the end Romeo dies, and Juliet kills herself over him. This happens because Juliet is scheduled to marry another man named Paris. However, by then, she is already married to Romeo. Juliet asks the priest for help and he gives her a bottle with a liquid in it and he tells her to drink it and she will sleep for 42 hours. On the day of her wedding, she is still asleep (they think she is dead) so they bury her in the Capulet tomb. The priest sends someone to tell Romeo about what happened to Juliet, but the messenger tells Romeo that Juliet is dead so he gets some poison and goes to her tomb and kisses her, fights with Paris at the grave, and drinks the poison and dies. When she wakes up, Juliet finds Romeo dead outside her coffin, and kills herself by taking his knife and stabbing herself.
Mary Saunderson - First actress to play Juliet
Katharine Cornell - 1934 on Broadway
Peggy Ashcroft - 1935 in the London Production
Norma Shearer - 1936 film Romeo and Juliet
Olivia Hussey - 1968 film Romeo and Juliet
Claire Danes - 1996 film Romeo+Juliet