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Romeo and Juliet come from very different families.

The Montagues are close-knit and loving. Romeo's parents, Lord and Lady Montague, care a lot about Romeo, and do everything they can to find out what's bothering him. Romeo's parents know Romeo's friends. At the beginning of the play, they ask Benvolio to find out why Romeo's depressed; and in Act II, Scene iv, Mercutio and Benvolio are going to have supper at the Montague's house, and they hope Romeo will come along.

Lady Montague's only fault is her obsessive love of Romeo. She dies of grief when he's banished, before news comes that he's dead.

Lord Montague's only fault is his willingness to fight in the feud. The only time that he isn't reasonable and loving is in the first scene when he charges onto the stage, calling, "Thou Villain Capulet!"

Unfortunately, this fault is ultimately responsible for his son's death.


Lord Capulet enjoys playing the role of the gracious patriarch. He's wealthy and he likes to be well thought of. He's on his best behavior in front of company; he jokes with Paris and calls him "son." At the Capulets' feast he flirts and jokes, and goes so far as to protect Romeo from Tybalt.

But like a spoiled child, he wants everything to go his way, and he's furious when someone doesn't obey him. When Tybalt argues with him, he calls him a "saucy boy" and a "princox." When Juliet refuses to marry Paris, he has a tantrum and threatens to throw her out on the street to starve.

He has a strained relationship with his wife. He doesn't say much to her, except to order her around; she responds by making bitter remarks about him.

Lady Capulet is a bitter, guarded woman. She was married early, and the match was obviously arranged. Her husband seems to be much older than she is, and she uses this to make life difficult for him. The first time we see her, her husband is calling for a sword to join a fight, and she follows behind, answering, "A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?"

Because she's an unhappy woman who guards her feelings, she doesn't know how to relate to Juliet, who has been raised by her Nurse. We can see why she'd think Paris a good match for Juliet. He's not only wealthy, but young and attractive: everything in a husband she might have wished for herself but doesn't have.

Through the play we see her become increasingly sympathetic to Juliet. Could it be that she remembers her own tears before her wedding? She begs her husband not to move the wedding closer, and she protects Juliet from Lord Capulet's fury. Still, when Juliet needs her most, she chooses to withdraw from the situation, telling Juliet, "Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee." (III, v, 205)

Still, both Capulets are genuinely grieved when they believe that Juliet is dead. Lady Capulet cries that Juliet was the only thing she had to love; and Lord Capulet now has no heir, nothing in which to hope.

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