As head of the Capulet household, a high status family at the time, Lord Capulet wields substantial power. He is one of the only people capable of controlling the hot-headed Tybalt. Every time Tybalt appears, he seems to be spoiling for a fight. In his first appearance he is only stopped by the entrance of the Prince, and in his final appearance he is only stopped by Romeo’s sword. The other time he appears is when he sees Romeo at Capulet’s party and realises he is a Montague. He is keen to confront and kill Romeo but Capulet is unequivocal: “Be quiet, or (…) I’ll make you quiet.” The contradiction to this power is his age. In the first brawl of the play he calls for his sword, to which his wife replies, “A crutch, a crutch!” He is dependent on the next generation to fight his battle and, ultimately, to shed their own blood.
Yet when we first see him with Paris, we see a caring father. He attempts to delay Paris’s suit towards Juliet, saying “Let two more summers wither in their pride.” Paris is persistent though and Capulet eventually agrees that he can have his consent, but ONLY if she agrees: “my will to her consent is but a part;/ An she agree, within her scope of choice/ Lies my consent.” So what changes? By the end of Act 3 he will enforce his will upon her, scold her for with the threat of rejecting her from the family, and finally bring the wedding day forward. What happened?
Pride is a terrible thing amongst men. And it is clear to see in Capulet from the moment we meet him, when he attempts to take up his sword and fight the Montagues. Though he does care for his daughter, he dislikes the fact that she speaks against him and denies his will. This is likely to have been compounded by the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio. Mercutio was a kinsman of Prince Escalus and he is clearly unhappy about the death. Juliet marrying Paris could well be a perfect solution to this rift; to bind the two families (the Prince’s and the Capulets) together, and prevent further damage. The fact that Juliet is so dismissive of such a favourable match (Paris has status, money and power, as well as genuinely caring for Juliet) enrages Capulet. He could calmly enforce his will, but instead loses his rag, demonstrating just how much pride has a power over him.
To Paris about Juliet: “But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,/ My will to her consent is but a part.” (Act I, Sc ii)
A clue as to how old Lord Capulet is: Capulet; “How long is’t since last yourself and I were in a mark?”
Second Capulet: “By’r Lady, thirty years.” (Act I, Sc v)
To Tybalt: “Be quiet, or- More light, more light!- For shame!/ I’ll make you quiet. What! Cheerly my hearts!” (Act I, Sc v)
(Here again we have a__ contrast of dark and light, the light he asks for versus the darkness of his threat to Tybalt. Moreover, we see another feature of Lord Capulet’s personality: __his public versus private personae. __He seems quite regularly to be battling with how he comes across, in feeling he has to engage in the fight, and ultimately in enforcing Juliet’s marriage to repair his relationship with the Prince’s family. This is emphasised by the_ ____repetition and demanding nature of his public voice, in contrast to the quiet control of his private threat to Tybalt)._
About Juliet’s response to Tybalt’s death: “Look you, she lov’d her kinsman Tybalt dearly,/ And so did I: well, we were born to die.” (Act III, Sc iv)
“Of my child’s love: I think she will be rul’d/ In all respects by me; nay, more, I doubt it not.” (Act III, Sc iv)
Admonishing Juliet: “Speak not, reply not, do not answer me;/ My fingers itch.” (Act III, Sc v)
About Juliet: “An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend [Paris];/ An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets.”_ (Act III, Sc v)_
Juliet accepting the marriage: “My heart is wondrous light,/ Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim’d.” (Act IV, Sc ii)
Juliet’s believed death: “Death lies on her like an untimely frost/ Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.” (Act IV, Sc v)
“There she lies/(…) deflowered by him./ Death is my son-in-law.” (Act IV, Sc v)
End of play: “O brother Montague! Give me thy hand.”_ (Act V, Sc iii)_
“As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady lie;/ Poor sacrifices of our enmity!”_ (Act V, Sc iii)_