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Paris


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PARIS: Of honourable reckoning are you both; / And pity 'tis you lived at odds so long.
[Act 1, scene 2] Shakespeare has Paris foreground the good that could come from a marriage between Romeo and Juliet: alliance and peace. Shakepeare invents the character, though, to act as a disruption to that possiblity, albeit inadvertently.
NURSE: A man, young lady! lady, such a man / As all the world - why, he's a man of wax.
[Act 1, scene 3] Shakespeare uses the nurse, here, to inadvertently undermine Paris. Though the nurse's metaphor means he's a 'model' (as if made from wax by sculpters), the connotations are also of someone soft and maliable. There's also a dose of dramatic irony here, considering Paris will die for Juliet; Juliet is "the sun" and wax doesn't last long in its heat.
PARIS: her father counts it dangerous / That she doth give her sorrow so much sway
[Act 4, scene 1] Paris' response to the Friar's concern that the marriage is hasty (he's not really concerned about the speed - think how quickly he married Romeo and Juliet - but rather that she's already married) focuses on the positive reasons for the move. Shakespeare has Paris claim that the marriage is to protect Juliet and bring her out of "dangerous [...] sorrow" before it becomes more serious. This mirrors the concern that Lord Montague had for Romeo in Act 1. We might respond positively to Capulet here, or critically considering this a lie.
PARIS: Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew, / O woe! thy canopy is dust and stones; / Which with sweet water nightly I will dew, / Or, wanting that, with tears distill'd by moans
[Act 5, scene 3] Paris’s actions – strewing flowers and sweet water – foreground the connection, which is going to be so central to this scene, between grave and wedding bed: both would be decorated with flowers and sprinkled with perfume (or indeed holy water). Shakespeare has Paris declare that he will, nightly, visit the tomb of Juliet and water it with his tears. As an extension of his earlier grief, Paris is speaking in rhyming verse which can be described as a sestet (four lines with alternating rhymes and a couplet), so an incomplete sonnet. His love - so far as he knows - has died an untimely death on the morning of their wedding and his sadness and love seems heartfelt (as indeed does the earlier scene). By starting this climactic scene with Paris, apparently grief-stricken for Juliet’s death, the bar is set for Romeo to surpass and, of course, it makes it worse when Romeo kills Paris, that we’re feeling sorry for him too. . Juliet is, again, the sweet flower. And, again, those repeated sounds: O woe. They will recur. Paris is also imagining a future stretching out before him, saying that he’s going to keep doing this, night after night, mourning Juliet at her grave. And that’s poignant too. Poor Paris.
PARIS: Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee: / Obey, and go with me; for thou must die.
[Act 5, scene 3] Shakespeare has Paris commit a further act of devotion to Juliet attempting the arrest of Romeo, whom he assumes is the cause of her death by thinking she died of grief for Tybalt. The verb phrase "must die" here has additional irony as we know that "must" soon be true. Like Romeo just before these lines, Paris is shown as lovingly defending Juliet.
PARIS: O, I am slain! / If thou be merciful, / Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.
[Act 5, scene 3] Shakespeare has Paris die quickly and with little stage time. Again, like Tybalt's death, this is not a premeditated crime by Romeo but he causes yet another man's death just the same. Still, as a final wish, Shakespeare has Paris call for his body to lie with Juliet, confirming for an audience that he did genuinely love the girl he has just died for.
ROMEO: One writ with me in sour misfortune's book
[Act 5, scene 3] Shakespeare gives Romeo a final, painful note on the life and death of Paris: a highly unfortunate character and collateral casualty of the protagonists' relationship. Shakespeare has Romeo recognise his kinship with Paris - both have had their prmosied sweetness turned "sour" by "misfortune" - and honor his dying wish to lie with Juliet.