Power and Control Poems and plays often have to deal with the theme of power and control. In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” Capulet wields the authority. Shakespeare portrays Capulet as a patriarchal ruler who is not afraid to show his controlling side. His aggression is key aspect in the play and becomes a catalyst for the outcome of our “star crossed lovers”. I will also examine the exertion of power in the poems “My Last Duchess”, “Hawk Roosting” and “Human Interest”. Firstly, I will begin with examining the theme of force in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.
The first key scene to onsider is act one scene on in which a battle between the Capulets and Montagues occurs. In this scene Capulet himself is not afraid to get involved in the battle. “Give me my longsword, ho”. The use of the imperative “Give” shows Capulet commanding other to do his deeds. It also shows him expecting others to be governed by him. This re-enforces the aspect of a patriarchal society in which man rules. This shows that he exerts power and control without think of any consequences or how it affects others. Secondly, I will examine act one scene two.
In this scene Capulet’s character changes is mood and Shakespeare depicts him as fatherly. He appears to give Juliet her own choice in who to marry. “My will to her consent is but apart”. This quote contradicts the earlier scene in which Capulet is very demanding of others. This illustrates that Capulet has a good relationship with his beloved Juliet; he trusts Juliet to make a good decision. He treats her like a human rather than an object; but his power to force her into a marriage if he feels it necessary is implicitly present. The next scene to investigate would be act one scene five in which Capulet hosts his “accustomed easts”.
In this scene we can see how Capulet can gradually lose his temper. Capulet begins to use gentle imperatives toward Tybalt such as “content thee, gentle coz”. The word “content” is used as an imperative but in this case it is not used as impertinent word, like “give” in the earlier scene. This part of act one scene five shows the audience a low level of Capulet’s anger. It shows Capulet using his dominance but without becoming enraged. As act 1 scene 5 progresses Capulet becomes less patient repeating the word “go to! go to! ” The use of repetition implies
Capulet is becoming less patient with Tybalt and the use an exclamation also adds to the portrayal of Capulet’s irritation. As the scene proceeds the imperatives become shorter, increasing the audiences knowledge of Capulet’s impatience. Towards the start of the scene we see Capulet exerting little aggression but as we examine the scene closer we see that Capulet loses control over himself and becomes angry at Tybalt. In contrast to act one scene two we see Capulet objectifying Juliet in act three scene four. We see Capulet acting as if he can sell his own child as if it were a business deal.
The quote “l will make a desperate tender of my child’s love” implies that Capulet is going to give away Juliet’s love to Paris. The word “tender” clearly tells the audience that Capulet believes that he can give his daughter’s love away to with no question asked. The fact that Capulet is not hesitant to sell his daughter implies that he knows that he rules everyone and that he can control others. It also tells us that he believes he can make decisions for other people without them knowing. The word “my’ is a possessive pronoun which re-entorces the idea that Capulet owns Juliet and has the right to give her away.
In this scene Capulet is portrayed as avaricious as he is setting up a marriage in which money is the prime objective and not the happiness of his own child. This in turn suggests that Capulet has exerts enough force that he can sell his own daughter’s love for money. In modern society this appears as cruel and heartless. Above all act three scene five shows Capulet animosity toward Juliet. In this scene Juliet gives a negative response toward Capulet after she is informed of the planned wedding. After she has responded Capulet ignores her; he talks as if she is not there. How will she none? Doth she not give us thanks? Is she not proud? ” The repetition of the word “she” indicates that Capulet does not want to acknowledge Juliet, or make a personal connection with her. He chooses to act as if she is not in the room; he excludes her from the scene. This scene reveals to the audience that Capulet maintains the belief that he has enough power to command everyone around. Furthermore, Capulet insults Juliet; thinking he has the right to do I . The insult “mistress minion you” includes alliteration of the harsh “m” sound” which appears blunt to the audience.
The word “mistress” indicates hat Capulet saw that Juliet was a spoilt child who did not appreciate what he had done for her. The word “minion” tells the audience that Capulet thinks that Juliet is a slave and should be treated like one. I addition Capulet also uses the insult “Out, you baggage! ” which shows the audience that Capulet sees Juliet as someone he can insult with no consequences. Capulet berates Juliet by using the word “baggage” as he entirely objectifies her. Capulet is disparaging when he vilifies Juliet by comparing her to a bag. She is not given an intimate beloved connection and Capulet sees her s an accessory.
This metaphor tells us that Capulet thinks that Juliet is an item to which he can do with what he pleases. A bag could also be seen a burden that weighs you down. A member of the modern society would side with Juliet, but a wealthy individual living in the Elizabethan era would agree with Capulet. Capulet is clearly illustrating power and control throughout this scene as he presumes that he can slander Juliet without anyone standing up to him. After Capulet leaves the scene Juliet is astonished when she finds no support from the other characters. Juliet even hreatens her mother when she does not sympathise with her. Make the bridal bed where Tybalt lies”. Juliet feels the need to stop the marriage, however her mother refuses to help and still follows the order of the patriarchal society; she is weaker and must obey Capulet. It is clear that Lady Capulet’s actions are supervised and overseen by Lord Capulet himself. Capulet already has control over his wife. Whereas Juliet is breaking filial obedience by disobeying Capulet repeatedly. In conclusion Capulet is generally portrayed as a vehement, zealous character who follows raconian principles even if it means vilipending a family member.
We see Capulet’s benevolent side infrequently on the few occasions when the other characters are obeying him. We constantly see Capulet expressing his pre-eminence and dominance over others. Capulet has his power and control through intimidation and derision. He belittles and humiliates others and their fear of him means he gets what he wants. The poem “My Last Duchess” is a dramatic monologue. This poem is one long stanza in which the Duke, through the language that he uses to describe his former wife, eveals his own character and attitude, and how he subtly exerts power and control.
The Duke reters to his tormer wite as “My Last Duchess”. The possessive pronoun “my’ gives us the first implication that he saw her as a possession and that she is merely one in a line of many Duchesses. He is very possessive of his wife and wishes to control her even after death. The word “last” should not be interpreted as final, but as previous; the Duke intends to acquire another Duchess but indicates he would kill her, like his previous one, if she does not obey. + Similarly, in “Romeo and Juliet” Lord Capulet is very possessive of Juliet. will make a desperate tender of my child’s love” This indicates that Capulet sees his own daughter as his possession to give away. This is extremely similar to the Duke implying that he owns his wife and can do anything with her. The possessive pronoun “my’ is also used by Capulet to indicate that he owns Juliet as if she were an object. The Duke and Lord Capulet both objectify and control their subordinates. Both the Duke and Lord Capulet live in fiercely patriarchal societies having power over their dominion as head of their respective hierarchies.
The most engaging lement of the poem is probably the speaker himself, the Duke. Objectively, it’s easy to identify him as a monster, since he had his wife murdered for what comes across as fairly innocuous crimes. However, he is impressively charming in his use of language; he is affable and precise in the way he speaks. “Will’t you sit and look at her? ” Although this may seem like the Duke is very courteous and civilized, with further analysis we see that Browning has clearly used ironic disconnect. In fact, the Duke’s excessive demand for control, ultimately comes across as his most defining haracteristic. l gave commands; then all smiles stopped together. ” The obvious manifestation of this is the murder of his wife. The emissary is the Duke’s audience much as we are Robert Browning’s, with the Duke exerting an unequivocal control over his story reflecting Browning’s precise crafting of the ironic disconnect. In contrast, Capulet is not at all subtle; he uses strong imperatives to simply command others. He does not hesitate in insulting or violently threatening family members. “My fingers Itch” He uses his intimidation to dictate the other characters.
Also the insult “baggage” as previously analysed is exceedingly harsh and slanderous. Capulet is blunt and not afraid to speak the truth; as envisaged by him. In conclusion, the Duke and Capulet are similar in the amount of authority they wield, but the Duke is impressively subtle. Capulet, however, uses fear to his advantage, commanding and controlling his subjects. Capulet does not think twice in what he says, he is direct and ungracious whereas the Duke appears polite, pleasant and courtly; but in fact he is more deceitful and cunning in the execution of his power and control.