How Old Is Juliet?


4 Answers

Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered

When "Romeo and Juliet" opens, Juliet's age is discussed at great length by her mother and nurse. We discover that she is not quite fourteen; her birthday is on Lammas-Eve, or midsummer night, which is in "a fortnight and odd days." Her age is important because her parents are planning to arrange her marriage to Paris, a wealthy nobleman. Juliet feels that she is too young for marriage, but her mother assures her that she isn't: "I was your mother much upon these years/ That you are now a maid." Elsewhere, Juliet is told again that girls younger then her are often "happy mothers." So Juliet's mother was probably married at thirteen or even younger, making her now twenty-seven at the oldest. On the other hand, we learn that her father is too old to dance and has not danced since before his wife was born.
Germaine Greer has pointed out that this question of age is dwelt on precisely because, for the Elizabethans, such early marriages, and such huge age differences between husband and wife, were not the norm, although modern audiences might assume that. It is possible that Shakespeare emphasises the grotesque inequality between Juliet's parents to stress the contrast between their relationship and that of the true lovers, Romeo and Juliet.
Allabarra Lantern Profile
About 450, by now !
robert wiiliams Profile
robert wiiliams answered
Her father, Lord Capulet, states that 'She has not yet seen fourteen summers'.
  Her maid, upon reflection, states that Juliet will be fourteen on 'Lammas Eve', which, in Scotland, is a Quarter Day, or the time you pay your quarterly rent.
  Odd that Shakespeare should include a Scottish Quarter Day in an Italian play!

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