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Sam Tucker

Meyer
English I
2 January 2017
Juliet BPD Rough Draft
Juliet from Shakespeare�s Romeo and Juliet, is easily
diagnosed with the personality disorder known as BPD, also known as Borderline
Personality Disorder. BPD is most commonly seen in teenage girls and is a disorder
that is characterized by unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships. Juliet
Capulet displays all of these characteristics. First is unstable moods: Juliet is
shown switching between sad and menacial, from torn to decisive and from mood to
mood in rapid succession. Juliet is displayed as being incapable of controlling
such feelings. She also shows unpredictable behaviours and indecisive actions. The
primary show of this is her faux suicide. Juliet is willing to push an entire
kingdom into deep despair over her death simply to �get with" a boy. Shakespeare's
stylistic linguistics show time and time again evaluating thought. Juliet seems
unremorseful about the event and spends very little time focusing on the
consequences or implications of her actions. Even the priest focuses on the
negatives of the poison, warning Juliet about it, yet Juliet spends very little
time heading his yield. Lastly, Juliet has an unstable relationship with Romeo. She
decides within a single conversation to not only date a man she had just met, but
marry him too. Juliet is stalked by Romeo and internally romanticizes a man who
should never have pushed her into a relationship.
What causes Borderline Personality Disorder? BPD is associated with a
heavy connection to stress or trauma in its victims past. The only logical source
of stress in Juliet's life is her father and her ultimatum to the character Paris.
�Doth she not count her blessed, [u]nworthy as she is, that we have wrought [s]o
worthy a gentleman to be her bride?� (Shakespeare 3.5.148-50) Her father, as well
as Paris, is known to yell at Juliet and force her into life long scenarios she is
given no control over. This is a reasonable suspect for BPD to occur. Juliet uses
Borderline Personality Disorder to avoid the stress involved with an arranged
marriage and her father�s refusal to change. No ordinary teenage girl should be
forced into a situation such as this and the abuse alone would be enough to break
her mental physique.
Borderline Personality Disorder is defined by the National Institutes of Health as
a �serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods,
behavior, self-image, and functioning. These often result in impulsive actions and
unstable relationships.� (NIH BPD) These are all heavily pieces of Juliet's
personality. She says �O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me
die.�(Shakespeare 5.3.174-75) She states this in a moment of instability, proving
the point about moods. For behavior, the source is her running away from her duties
to the kingdom spur of the moment and choosing to poison herself without assessing
consequences. This is shown in Shakespeare's lack of including her inner monologue
where other characters� monologues would have been included. Juliet Capulet also
has a distorted self image, seeing herself as Romeo describes her, as an almost
angelic creature. She doesn't deny his his advances and keeps him around only to
fuel her ego. Receiving positive attention from Romeo is the reason she was able to
agree to a relationship so easily.
Romeo and Juliet's relationship is an important factor in
understanding why Juliet has BPD, according to Salters-Pedneault for the VERYWELL
website �[A] BPD symptom that particularly impacts relationships is called
abandonment sensitivity. This can lead those with BPD to be constantly watching for
signs that someone may leave them and to interpret even a minor event as a sign
that abandonment is imminent. The emotions may result in frantic efforts to avoid
abandonment, such as pleading, public scenes, and even physically preventing the
other person from leaving.� Juliet is seen poisoning herself dangerously at the
simple idea of Romeo being sent away. When it is decided he is banished, Juliet
takes immediate action, hurting herself. She later, when faced by the potential
abandonment of Romeo's suicide, evaluates the situation and finds it best to take
her own life.
It could be argued that Juliet�s actions were on her own
will, that Juliet was acting out because that's simply what teenage girls do. But
that is incorrect; teenage girl actions are often mental issues that go unresolved
and are blamed simply on hormones. Juliet, without a doubt, is a victim of BPD. She
shows all signs of it without fault. She is unstable in her relationships, moods,
behaviors, and egotistical actions. It is wrong to identify her as anything other
than mentally ill.
Juliet disregards her family and her duties to the kingdom
time and time again. Her family suffers at the hand of the ever self supporting
Juliet. She chooses love over duties. Blood of the covenant is thicker than the
waters of the womb but Juliet has no covenant with Romeo. She dies without thinking
about the effects on her friendly nursemaid or her mother who cared for her.
In conclusion, Juliet from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
is an undeniable candidate for Borderline Personality Disorder. She not only shows
all symptoms of it but goes above and beyond and proves to the audience the
consequences of listening to mental illness instead of reason. Juliet is a victim
of tragedy but cannot be entirely blamed for her own misfortune. Throughout her
entire life she was taken advantage of by her family, friends, and even Romeo. Her
illness, end game, is not what killed her. People did.

Works Cited
�Borderline Personality Disorder.� National Institute of Mental Health, U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-
personality-disorder/index.shtml
Salters-Pedneault, Kristalyn, PhD | Reviewed by Steven Gans, MD. �Is an Intimate
Relationship P Possible with Someone with Bpd?� Verywell,
www.verywell.com/understanding-romantic-bpd-relationships-425217.
Shakespeare, William, Romeo and Juliet. Printed for J. Tonson, and the Rest of the
Proprietors, 1734.