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Nurse is a side character who appears in William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

Role Edit

Juliet-Lady-Capulet-Nurse-1968-romeo-and-juliet-by-franco-zeffirelli-28127068-640-480

Nurse (Pat Heywood) and Juliet (Olivia Hussey) in Romeo and Juliet 1968.

Nurse is Juliet's maid and on the side of the house of Capulet. She is the one who nursed Juliet when she was a baby, as was the custom in that point in time. Nurse, much like Friar Lawrence, serves as one of the influential adults in the play, and a guiding influence on Juliet. However, her main role is to provide comic relief to the audience and be Juliet's sole confidant.

The facts we know about Nurse are very small, and come from her long speeches about her past, however little we learn -- she is a widow, she has (or had?) children, and she lost her virginity at age 12. She also says frequently that Juliet is the prettiest baby she had ever nursed. When Nurse tells her stories, it is evident that she is rather scatter-brained and airheaded. However, Nurse very personally wants Juliet to be married and happy. Upon Romeo and Juliet meeting, Nurse is the one to see Romeo afterwards. She warns Romeo not to lead Juliet down the wrong path, but other than that, she seems genuinely happy that Romeo and Juliet are pursuing their ambitions as young lovers, albeit be forbidden.

In Act 3, when Tybalt dies, Nurse is very upset by it. She says that Tybalt is the best friend she ever had, and she, along with Juliet, weep very profusely over him. Seeing that Juliet is very torn over who to feel bad for-- Romeo, or Tybalt -- Nurse promises Juliet that she'll bring him to her chamber to comfort her. Nurse then goes to Friar Lawrence's cell, where she knows the Friar is hiding Romeo. Romeo willingly comes with Nurse.

Nurse is last seen in Act 4: scene 5, when she is the one to discover Juliet lying lifeless in her bed. Although this is not the true reality and she is only sleeping, Nurse causes quite a ruckus, yelling and screaming for several lines and alerting Lord and Lady Capulet, interuppting the preparations for Juliet's marriage and instead turning it into a funeral service. Nurse is not seen again after this, so the audience does not know what her reaction to the lover's true death together was.

Great Quotes Edit

"What, lamb! what, ladybird! God forbid! Where's this girl? What, Juliet!" -- Nurse, 1.2

"Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed: An I might live to see thee married once, I have my wish." -- Nurse, 1.3

"A man, young lady! lady, such a man as all the world—why, he's a man of wax." -- Nurse, 1.3

"His name is Romeo, and a Montague; The only son of your great enemy." -- Nurse, 1.5

"Jesu, what haste? can you not stay awhile? Do you not see that I am out of breath?" -- Nurse, 2.5

"O Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I had! O courteous Tybalt! honest gentleman! That ever I should live to see thee dead!" -- Nurse, 3.2

"O, she says nothing, sir, but weeps and weeps; and now falls on her bed; and then starts up, and Tybalt calls; and then on Romeo cries, and then down falls again." -- Nurse, 3.3

"Alas, alas! Help, help! my lady's dead! O, well-a-day, that ever I was born! Some aqua vitae, ho! My lord! my lady!" -- Nurse, 4.5

"Honest goodfellows, ah, put up, put up; for, well you know, this is a pitiful case." -- Nurse, 4.5

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