The Nurse is a major character in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. She is the servant and guardian, of Juliet Capulet ever since she was born. She reveals that she had a daughter named Susan who died, and after Susan's death she took care of Juliet as a baby in Lady Capulet's
absence. She is Juliet's confidant and one of the few people to know about the romance between Romeo and Juliet.
Nurse .jpg
Nurse laughing at her own vulgar joke.

First Impressions

  • Summary

First Impressions of the Nurse are that she has a strong affection for Juliet, and she seems to be good natured and kind hearted. On the other hand, she is vulgar and humorous and does not have a very high minded view of love and marriage. The Nurse first appears in Act One, Scene Three and she is a very entertaining character, especially when she tells a long story about breast feeding Juliet when she was young and making jokes in the story. The Nurse keeps talking and both Lady Capulet and Juliet ask her to stop, showing that she won't stop chattering unless she is told. It is revealed that she raised Juliet when Lady Capulet could not.
  • Quotes
"On Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen
That shall she, marry; I remember it well.
'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years;
And she was wean'd,--I never shall forget it.."-- (1.3.23)
  • This passage says a lot about the relationship between Juliet and the Nurse, and it is clear that it surpasses one of a girl and her servant. Lady Capulet could not remember Juliets birthday, yet the Nurse could remember the day she was born until the hour. This shows that she clearly cares about Juliet and would be someone that Juliet could confide in later in the play. Also it seems that the Nurse is very confident and comfortable around the Capulets, showing that she has a good relationship with her employer.

"Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit;
Wilt thou not, Jule?' and, by my holidame..."-- (1.3.45-46)
  • This quote shows another side to the Nurse, before we get an impression of a sweet old nanny, but then she starts cracking crude jokes. This shows that she is a humorous character and is the comic relief to the dramatic romance going on in the rest of the play.
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Juliet and the Nurse have a very close relationship.

  • Personal Opinions
The First Impression of the Nurse seems to be that she has come to raised Juliet as if she was her own and has grown a strong care for Juliet. Yet besides her dirty humour and her vulgar and upfront observations she still seems to prevail as a nice and caring elder woman. Yet as she grows in age she does not care for marriage for she seems uninterested view on love. The Nurse seems like she would be Juliet's close companion, confidant, friend, mother, and will help Juliet in any way she can to keep her happy.

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The Nurse loves to talk.

I Am What I Say

Paraphrase/Modern English Translation:
"Yea," quoth he, "Dost thou fall upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit,
Wilt thou not, Jule?" And, by my holidam,
The pretty wretch left crying and said "Ay."
To see now how a jest shall come about!
I warrant, an I should live a thousand years,
I never should forget it. "Wilt thou not, Jule?"
quoth he.
And, pretty fool, it stinted and said "Ay." 1.3.45-53
"Oh," he said, "Did you fall on your face?
You will have sex when you have more brains,
Won't you, Jule?" And, by my god,
the pretty thing stopped crying and said "Yes."
To see now the joke come true!
I bet, if I should live for a thousand years,
I will never forget it. "Won't you Jule?"
he said
And the pretty fool stopped crying and said "Yes."
This quote shows that one side of the Nurse is very vulgar and crude.
She cracks jokes in the story she tells about raising Juliet. In this quote as
well it shows that she loves to talk, she tells the joke that she finds funny
multiple times much to Juliet and Lady Capulets annoyance. This is one
of the first indications that the Nurse is a joker and quite a chatterbox.
Her mother is the lady of the house,
And a good lady, and a wise and virtuous.
Her mother is the lady of the house
She is a good, wise, and virtuous lady.
This shows that the Nurse is loyal to the Capulets, and Lady Capulet. She
She is trusted in the household and seems to hold a high position among
the servants in the household.
For the gentlewoman is young; and
therefore, if you should deal double with her,
truly it were an ill thing to be offered to any
gentlewoman, and very weak dealing.
For the girl is young. And so, if you should
trick her, it would be an evil thing to do to
any woman, and very despicable behavior.
Here the Nurse shows that she is protective over Juliet. She makes sure
that Romeo will not break her heart or mislead her love in any way. This
is another indication that the Nurse truly cares for Juliet's well being.
I am aweary. Give me leave awhile.
Fie, how my bones ache! What a jaunt have I!
I am tired. Leave me for a while.
Oh, how my bones ache! what a workout I had!
The Nurse here is annoying Juliet by not telling her what she wants to
hear immediately. Her joking side comes out in this quote when she
purposely retains the information she has to give to Juliet by stalling, and
blaming her age. She does this more than once in the play, so obviously
she gets quite a laugh out of it.
Well you have made a simple choice. You know
not how to choose a man. Romeo? No, not he.
Well, you have made a foolish choice. You don't
know how to choose a man. Romeo? No, not him.
Here the Nurse is giving advice to Juliet, since she cares for her dearly.
The Nurse giving advice to Juliet shows that she is someone that Juliet
can rely on to be there for her whenever she feels lost or alone. The Nurse
gives Juliet her opinions and (especially at the end of the play)
sometimes the Nurse gives Juliet advice she does not want to hear.
There's no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men. All perjured,
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.
There is no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men. All of them lie,
all of them are evil, all of them are deceivers.
The Nurse shows here how she really feels about men. She seems to really
not believe in marriage at all, she is possibly trying to tell Juliet in her
own way not to be in a relationship with Romeo. The Nurse does not
agree with marriage, and has a cynical view on love and relationships.
Then, since the case so stands as now it doth,
I think it best you married with the County.
O, he's a lovely gentleman!
Romeo's a dishcout to him.
Then, since things are the way they are,
I think it is best if you married the count.
O, he's a lovely gentlemen!
Romeo is a dishrag compared to him.
Here the Nurse says that Juliet is better with Paris instead of Romeo. This
This is something that was a real shocker to the audience and to Juliet.
Throughout the play the Nurse has been Juliet's confidant, and shoulder
to lean on. However after Juliets fight with Lady Capulet and Capulet,
the Nurse tells her something she did not want to hear. The Nurse is truly
thinking of whats best for Juliet, and did not mean to hurt her in any way,
however this is the first time that Nurse is not there for Juliet, and leaves
her to her suffering.
Go, you cot-quean, go,
Get you to bed. Faith, you'll be sick tomorrow
For this night's watching. 4.4.7-9
Go, you old housewife, go.
Go to bed. You will be sick tomorrow
because of staying awake all night.
This quote shows the Nurses loyalty to the Capulets, and her high
comfort level with her employer. It is again made clear in this quote that
the Nurse is comfortable with the Capulets when she calls Capulet a
"cot-quean". This shows she has a strong relationship with them and they
must trust her a great deal.
O, there is
a nobleman in town, one Paris, that would fain lay
knife aboard, but she, good soul, had as lief see a
toad, a very toad, as see him. I anger her sometimes
and tell her that Paris is the properer man
O, there is
a nobleman in town, named Paris, that is eager to
claim her. But Juliet would just as happily look at
a toad than at him. I anger her sometimes
and tell her that Paris is a better man than you.
The Nurse talks about Paris and how he wants to marry Juliet. She makes
it very clear that she does not like Romeo as much as she is fond of Paris.
She makes her opinion very clear that Paris is the better man for Juliet,
an opinion she tells Juliet towards the end of the play. This shows the
Nurse is very spoken and is not afraid to show her opinion no matter who
its to. (She practically insulted Romeo to his face.)
As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart,
I think you are happy in this second match (3.5.5)
Go with Paris, he is the right one this second time around.
This is a great example of how the Nurse just wants what is best for
Juliet. She believes that marrying Paris will give her more happiness and
stability. She loves Juliet and cares for her so much that she tells her what
she truly believes in her heart; that Paris is the better match for her.
I must another way,
To fetch a ladder, by the which your love
Must climb a bird's nest soon when its dark. (2.5.65)
I must go by a different path to get a rope ladder.
Then your love will climb up the ladder while its still
This is a great quote showing the Nurses loyalty and helpfulness to
Juliet. Although she is not fond of Romeo, she loves Juliet and helps her
in whatever she needs. Her duty is to keep Juliet content and happy, she
is immersed in her affairs and strives to help her with her plans.
Hie to your chamber: I'll find Romeo
To comfort you: I wot well where he is.
Hark ye, your Romeo will be here at night:
I'll to him; he is hid at Laurence' cell. (3.2.139)
Go to your bedroom. I'll find Romeo to comfort you.
I know where he is. Listen, your Romeo will be here
tonight. I'll go to him. He's hiding out in Friar
Lawrences cell.
This quote is important because it shows one of the last times the
Nurse will try to please and make Juliet happy. This again shows her
desire to keep the thirteen year old Juliet content and cheerful. She
truly loves Juliet and will do anything for her, even if that means
betraying the trust of Lady Capulet and Capulet.
  • Summary of Nurse (Scene By Scene)
Act One
Scene Three: The Nurse first appears in this scene. She seems like a caring old woman, who is very comfortable with her conversation with Lady Capulet. She tells a story from when Juliet was young and she discusses Paris' possible marriage to Juliet.
Scene Five: The Nurse does not play a large role in this scene but she finds out Romeo's name for Juliet, and she also lets Juliet know that Romeo is an enemy. (A Montague)

Act Two
Scene Four: In this scene the Nurse has an insulting and dirty conversation with Mercutio. Romeo then tells her to tell Juliet to meet at Friar Lawrence's cell to be wed.
Scene Five: The Nurse returns to Juliet to deliver the message about the marriage from Romeo, however she purposely stalls by saying that she is tired and old-much to Juliet's frustration.

Act Three
Scene Two: This is a very important scene for Nurse, she speaks with Juliet about the fight in the town that happened earlier. She makes it sound as if Romeo had died instead of Tybalt, but later clarifies to Juliet that Romeo murdered Tybalt. She then informs Juliet that Romeo had been banished from Verona, and then heads to Friar Lawrences to speak with Romeo..
Scene Three: The Nurse goes to visit Romeo at Friar Lawrence's cell. She tells Romeo how Juliet is doing with the news of his banishment. Before she leaves she gives Romeo the ring from Juliet.
Scene Five: The Nurse tells Juliet that her mother is coming into her room. After Capulet and Lady Capulet tell Juliet that she will marry Paris, she asks the Nurse what she should do in this marriage situation. The Nurse tells Juliet that she should just marry Paris and forget about Romeo. This response upsets Juliet, and she curses the Nurse.

Act Four
Scene Two: The Nurse notices that Juliet looks happy after coming from Friar Lawrence. After Juliet says that she will marry Paris, Capulet becomes so happy that he moves the wedding to the next day. The Nurse goes with Juliet to find nice clothes for the wedding.
Scene Four: Everyone is trying to get ready for the wedding. Lady Capulet tells the Nurse to wake Juliet up and get her ready.
Scene Five: The Nurse tells Juliet to wake up. When she doesn't respond, the Nurse opens the curtain and sees that she is dead. Lady Capulet and Capulet come in and they all start crying and saying how the wedding will now be a funeral. Friar Lawrence says that Juliet is in a better place now and that they should be happy for her.

Final Assignment

  • Song

The following song represents the Nurse's relationship with Juliet for the majority of the play. (Lean on Me - Bill Withers)
Lean on Me
  • Collage

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Nurse Collage