Romeo and Juliet The Nurse
by William Shakespeare

The Nurse is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known comic characters. She is a widow whose only child died in infancy, and she is fond of attention and of bawdy jokes. She also dotes on Juliet and tends to give Juliet whatever she wants throughout the play, but once Romeo is banished, the Nurse backpedals and recommends that Juliet marry Paris instead. The Nurse’s various laments underscore the difference between the lower and upper classes that is woven throughout the play. As the Capulets plan their daughter’s marriage to a rich count and Juliet meditates on her all-consuming love for Romeo, the Nurse loses her teeth, gets out of breath merely walking around Verona’s streets, and fusses over the death of her husband and daughter.

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