Romeo and Juliet

The Nurse Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Juliet’s nurse is the main source of comic relief throughout the play. Forgetful, long-winded, bawdy, and seemingly immune to embarrassment, the nurse is happy to share cringe-worthy stories from her own past and Juliet’s with anyone who will listen. The nurse has been caring for Juliet since Juliet was born, and even nursed her from her own breast. She loves Juliet deeply and, though employed by Juliet’s parents, Capulet and Lady Capulet, often goes against them in order to do what Juliet wants or needs of her. The nurse has a romantic side, often languishing in rambling stories about her late husband, and so when Juliet asks her nurse to help her secretly meet with and marry Romeo, the nurse is all too happy to help. At a certain point, however, the nurse’s age and pragmatism kick in—she stops helping Juliet pursue Romeo and starts encouraging her to make the safer choice of listening to her parents and marrying Paris. Juliet’s relationship with her nurse is both complex and comical; though often treated like a friend and confidant, at the end of the day, the nurse is forced to realize that she’s ultimately little more than hired help.
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The Nurse Character Timeline in Romeo and Juliet

The timeline below shows where the character The Nurse appears in Romeo and Juliet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 3
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At the Capulet house, Lady Capulet asks Juliet’s nurse to call for Juliet. Juliet enters and asks her mother what she wants. Lady Capulet... (full context)
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The nurse says one last thing—that if she lives long enough to see Juliet married, she will... (full context)
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...have arrived. Lady Capulet bids Juliet to follow her out to the feast, and the nurse encourages Juliet to go and “seek happy nights to happy days.” (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
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...hands do.” He kisses her, and she states that he kisses “by th’ book.” Juliet’s nurse catches them and tells Juliet her mother wants to speak to her—Juliet hurries away. Romeo... (full context)
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...an end. Romeo and his kinsmen begin sneaking out of the party. Juliet asks her nurse who Romeo is. The nurse pretends she doesn’t see Romeo, and when she does admit... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Juliet’s nurse calls for her, and Juliet tells Romeo that she has to go inside but will... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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Juliet’s nurse and Peter enter and greet the Montague men. The nurse wishes them good morning, but... (full context)
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The nurse tells Romeo how little she cared for Mercutio’s “saucy” jokes and chides Peter for remaining... (full context)
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Romeo gives the nurse some money for her trouble, in spite of her protestations, and informs her that in... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
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In the courtyard of the Capulet manor, Juliet paces nervously—her nurse is not yet back from meeting Romeo, and she is worried about what could have... (full context)
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The nurse states that Juliet has made a “simple choice” in Romeo—though he’s handsome and gentle, she... (full context)
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The nurse begs Juliet to calm down, then asks if she has permission to go to confession... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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The nurse enters with Romeo’s rope ladder, and Juliet asks if she brings any news. The nurse... (full context)
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The nurse points out that Romeo did kill Juliet’s cousin. Juliet wrestles with the emotional and moral... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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Friar Laurence asks who is knocking, and Juliet’s nurse calls out, stating that she has brought a message from her lady. She enters, and,... (full context)
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...Verona find a way to secure a pardon from the prince. The friar urges the nurse to return to Juliet and tell her that Romeo is coming for her. The nurse... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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...dawn and laments that as “more light” breaks, his and Juliet’s troubles grow “dark[er.]” The nurse enters and announces that Lady Capulet is on her way to Juliet’s room. Juliet states... (full context)
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...marry Paris—she would, she says, marry her sworn enemy Romeo before him. Capulet and the nurse enter, and Capulet asks why Juliet is still crying—surely, he says, her mother must have... (full context)
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...but Capulet is so angry that he calls Juliet a “curse” upon their family. The nurse chides Capulet for speaking so coarsely of his daughter. Capulet orders the nurse, whom he... (full context)
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...whatever she wants—her parents are “done” with her, then storms away Juliet, crying, asks her nurse what can possibly be done. The nurse urges Juliet to marry Paris, since Romeo is... (full context)
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Alone, Juliet remarks what a “wicked fiend” the nurse is, and says she regrets having ever trusted her. Juliet resolves to go to Friar... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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...guests and another to find a cook who will make the food. He asks Juliet’s nurse where Juliet is, and the nurse tells him she’s at Friar Laurence’s. Capulet says he... (full context)
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Juliet asks her nurse to come with her to her room and help her pick out adornments for the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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In Juliet’s chambers, Juliet thanks the nurse for helping her to pick out clothes and jewels for the wedding, but asks the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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Very early the next morning, the Capulet manor is bustling as Capulet, Lady Capulet, Juliet’s nurse, and several servingmen rush about the house preparing food, lighting fires, and getting ready for... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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The nurse enters Juliet’s bedroom to find her sleeping soundly. She chides the girl for being lazy... (full context)
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...Death, now, is his son-in-law. Paris is shattered, and joins Capulet, Lady Capulet, and the nurse in loudly and dramatically lamenting Juliet’s horrible death. Friar Laurence tries to mitigate their mourning... (full context)