Romeo and Juliet Questions
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How old is Juliet?
Juliet is thirteen years old. In Shakespeare's primary sources, Juliet is considerably older than she is in the play. Why does Shakespeare change Juliet's age? Professor Gayle Whittier offers this explanation: "Juliet's very age suggests that she both represents and defeats a translation of sonnet into flesh. At 'almost' fourteen (and not sixteen, as in Brooke's earlier "Romeus and Juliet"), she has years almost equal to the completed form of the sonnet's fourteen-lined body."
(The Sonnet's Body and the Body Sonnetized in Romeo and Juliet, in Critical Essays on Romeo and Juliet, Joseph Porter, ed., 63)
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