Conflict is a primary theme within Romeo and Juliet and merchant of Venice, Shakespeare conveys this theme through the characters to reinforce and emphasis the conflict between the father and daughter. Linking this to the historical/ social context, there is a fear of non-acceptance within the community, and due to the hierarchy of the Capulet family, there is more of a requirement for Juliet to be more dominated from her father than the average Elizabethan family.
As the extent of dominance towards Juliet is stronger, Juliet has an underlying fear of her father as she is forced to be put into place; this not only links to the historical context but represents the relationship status- thus representing conflict. The conveying concept applies when looking at religion, there is a high demand in maintaining status in their own community to prevent shame. This reinforces daughters being male dominated by their fathers to prevent their loss of status and status is more significant than their offspring.
The desire of free will is overpowered by Capulet forcing her to abide his wish for her to get married (which is an asset to their social status within the community), however Juliet disobeys and upon this disobedience Capulet proceeds to degrade her by basing her emotions on her ‘conduit’ characteristics. Broken down, this can be perceived as many meanings to represent her. A conduit can be a fountain with a cement figure placed on it; it’s very much a water feature which can be a type of representation of Juliet’s emotion.
For example, Juliet may just be a feature to the family, a figure to be looked upon yet trapped within cement from her desire of free will and this may link to the historical context of women being a voiceless asset to a family. As a conduit fountain links to a channel for liquid, this a representation of how her persistent crying, her crying is a cycle of a fountain and so recognisable like a garden feature, no one helps they just look- this links to how low in the hierarchy she is as no one helps, especially her father.
An additional meaning to the term conduit, is how it can be a conveyer of information, in particular a secret this may be Juliet’s way of conveying her secret through emotion to try and get Capulet to listen. However, as she sees no ‘lining in the clouds’ she is left crying. In her desire for free will, Capulet tries to emphasise she will not make her own decisions via belittling her and perusing his insults. Mocking as he mimics her dialogue, he does this to try and make Juliet realise her childish attitude and how it’s inappropriate and unaccepted.
Implying she is too ill to make her own decisions as he calls her ‘tallow face’, Capulet troughs anything to try and show her she is unable to make her own choice on who she chooses to wed. As Juliet defies her morality and stands her ground, her father offers a second chance as he threatens to disregard all knowledge of her and ‘throw her on the street’, Juliet doesn’t take her father up on his offer to disown her and go to live with Romeo in Mantua. That is not an option. Juliet, as a woman, cannot leave society; and her father has the right to make her do as he wishes.
Though defeated by her father, Juliet does not revert to being a little girl however plays him by admitting his ideas led her to her new morality after he previously called her a ‘harlot’. Shakespeare uses the desire for free will from a female characters perspective to emphasise how much of an impact a father can be to a daughter character, this indicates conflict as despite the wellbeing and happiness of the child, the child will always be second best as the importance of society is a factor which will always overpower the wellbeing.
This was the same in the merchants of Venice as shylock was more concerned about the location of his ‘precious ducats’ in comparison of the wellbeing of his daughter. This summarises the lack of importance a daughter was within this historical era and how the society wellbeing was always focused on the hierarchy of the family controlled by the father. Juliet doesn’t take her father up on his offer to disown her and go to live with Romeo in Mantua.
That is not an option. Juliet, as a woman, cannot leave society; and her father has the right to make her do as he wishes. Though defeated by her father, Juliet does not revert to being a little girl however plays him by admitting his ideas led her to her new morality after he previously called her a ‘harlot’. Juliet feels strongly against her father’s wishes to wed Paris to the extent that she defies his request and weds Romeo.
Upon saying to her mother that she would be happier to ‘marry Romeo whom you know I hate’, since she had already wed him by this point in the play it creates a sense of dramatic irony due to the fact that Juliet’s mother is oblivious to the fact that she has disobeyed her father To an Elizabethan audience they were able to sympathise however it was something to abide by and simply accept. To a modern day audience something like this is unacceptable and would force you out of a society in comparison to improve a status. However, looking at Jessica`s actions we are able to ee that this would be completely unacceptable and shylock is almost a representation of the audiences reaction- no longer a priority if betraying enforced morals. In the confrontation with her parents after Romeo’s departure, Juliet attempts to show her full maturity after many implications of her inability to be independent and mature. She controls the conversation with her mother, who cannot keep up with Juliet’s valid explanations and thus not has no idea that Juliet is fully confessing her love for Romeo but only is aware Juliet is denying being a ‘joyful bride’, in this Lady Capulet redirects the situation to Juliet’s father.
This represents the dominance and power Capulet has over Juliet as she is male dominated when it comes to her choices. In this, Capulet proceeds to degrade her as he explains his frustration via conveying this through religion (a key asset within the context) this demonstrates conflict as he almost manipulates her through guilt treatment on whom she has ‘disobeyed’.
God ‘lent’ them their one child, but they now feel that is one to many as they feel cursed having ‘her’, the use of second person could be perceived as a representation of his disregard and lack of care for her. However, I feel the emphasis on ‘her’ linking with how he feels cursed with this girl, may indicate that introducing a male into the family may have been an easy task, again this links with the historical context due to the dominance of men.
This is Shakespeare way of conflict as it shows the effect of dominance and how it interferes with the room for bonding within a father and daughter relationship, she is nothing more than a controlled ‘wretched pulling fool’. In the attempt to stand up for her and support her, Nurse intervenes however is just told to ‘peace’ as Capulet is unable to accept he is who has failed his daughter and is the reason behind her rebelling.