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Thy face is mine, and thou hast slander'd it.
~ Paris chiding Juliet for crying, and asserting she belongs to him.
Younger than she are happy mothers made.
~ Paris saying Juliet should marry him even though she's but 13 - his most infamous line.

Count Paris is the central antagonist of Shakespeare's tragedy play Romeo and Juliet. He is a noble of Verona who seeks Juliet's hand in marriage, despite her disgust towards him, truly becoming an active threat in the fifth and final act, when he attempts to slay Romeo.

History

Count Paris is a well-to-do noble in Verona, and a kinsman of Prince Escalus. He's first seen in the second scene of the first act, when he goes to confer with Lord Capulet, head of the Capulet household. He bids that his daughter marry him, but Capulet turns this down, saying that Juliet is much too young for marriage. Paris states that women younger than her have been made happy mothers, and Capulet adds that some are made mothers/wives far too early. Yielding, Capulet invites Paris to the imminent ball, asking him to woo Juliet if he really wants her hand in marriage.

Paris doesn't quite make his mark during the party, and Juliet falls for the Montague Romeo instead. However, when Tybalt dies a couple of acts later into the play, Capulet in his twisted idea of perking things up elects that Paris will without question marry Juliet, rushing the marriage to this Thursday. Before even greeting Juliet, Paris hurries to Friar Lawrence's church, to officiate the approaching wedding.

Here, he happens upon a devastated Juliet, who just committed to the undertaking in which she is to fake her own death, to elope with the banished Romeo. Paris deprecates her, finding that her tears have slandered her face, which he declares is now his. He continues to press that she is his wife, even though she is quite evidently not having any part in this, though she can't muster the strength to deny him.

Paris in the graphic novel.

After Juliet's apparent death, Paris visits the family tomb to mourn her. When Romeo arrives to take his own life beside her, as he is under the impression that she's really dead, Paris concludes he's here to somehow vandalize the tomb, and bounds out of his hiding spot to fight Romeo; leading into the last battle of the play.

Paris's endeavors are in vain, as Romeo slays him after their brief duel. In his last breaths, Paris asks to be put aside Juliet in the tomb, and depending on the version, Romeo will or won't comply with his wish.

Personality

In some productions of the play, Paris can be seen as naive, unsuspecting and generally unaware of Juliet's discomfort. However, he can just as soon be interpreted as a controlling, disrespectful chauvinist who values Juliet less as a person, and more as a prize bound to him by law. It is shown when he wants to apprehend and kill Romeo when he believes Juliet is really dead and Romeo is there to vandelize the tomb.

Trivia

  • Interestingly, a large portion of performances and films of the play omit his final fight with Romeo, making him fall into obscurity after the 4th act, when his antagonistic role begins to propel.

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Proteus

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Aaron the Moor | Tamora | Chiron & Demetrius | Saturninus

Richard III
King Richard III

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Antipholus of Ephesus

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Lord Capulet | Tybalt | Paris

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Egeus

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Shylock

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Malvolio

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