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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: February ::
Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0136. Saturady, 25 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Stuart Lee <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Feb 1995 15:08:58 +0000
        Subj:   Attica's Romeo & Juliet CD
 
(2)     From:   Jon Enriquez <ENRIQUEZJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
        Date:   Friday, 24 Feb 1995 09:39:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0121  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(3)     From:   Gail Garloch <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Feb 1995 10:18:17 EST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0131  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(4)     From:   Dan How <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Feb 1995 13:19:14 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0131  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(5)     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Feb 95 16:44:53 EST
        Subj:   Some Observations on Romeo and Juliet and Rosaline and Love:
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Lee <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Feb 1995 15:08:58 +0000
Subject:        Attica's Romeo & Juliet CD
 
I'm well aware that advertising is strictly forbidden but I hope people will
forgive me the following. in repsonse to my query on use of Attica's new CD on
_Romeo and Juliet_ many people wanted to know where it is available from. I
don't know the exact price but it is around the 50 pounds mark in the UK,
 
Stuart
**********
Message from Attica:
 
R& J is available from CAMBRIX Publishing in the states.
6269 Variel Avenue,
Suite B
Woodland Hills
CA 91367
 
Tel: (818) 992-8484
Fax: (818) 992-8781
 
In the UK various outlets but you can contact ATTICA directly
Tel: 01865 791346
Fax: 01865 794561
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jon Enriquez <ENRIQUEZJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
Date:           Friday, 24 Feb 1995 09:39:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0121  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0121  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
One more remark about this topic.  The extratextual speculation seems to me to
be a great way to get students to think about a "hidden" question.  What is the
nature of R&J's love?  I am personally of the opinion that the tragedy of R&J
is that their immature attitude about love dooms them to death.  Consequently,
I would argue that yes, Romeo would have fallen in love with Rosaline given the
chance -- or indeed with any carbon-based bipedal life form that returned his
advances.  Cool teaching tool.
 
Jon Enriquez
The Graduate School
Georgetown University
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gail Garloch <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Feb 1995 10:18:17 EST
Subject: 6.0131  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0131  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
Whether Romeo and Juliet's marriage would have lasted?  Maxine Kumin's
wonderful sonnet has always made me glad it didn't:
 
                Purgatory
And suppose the darlings get to Mantua,
suppose they cheat the crypt, what next?  Begin
with him unshaven.  Though not, I grant you, a
displeasing cockerel, there's egg yolk on his chin.
His seedy robe's aflap, he's got the rheum.
Poor dear, the cooking lard has smoked her eye.
Another Montague is in the womb
although the first babe's bottom's not yet dry.
She scrolls a weekly letter to her Nurse
who dares to send a smock through Balthasar,
and once a month, his father posts a purse.
News from Verona?  Always news of war.
        Such sour years it takes to right this wrong!
        The fifth act runs unconscionably long.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dan How <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Feb 1995 13:19:14 -0800
Subject: 6.0131  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0131  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
WHILE WE'RE DISCUSSING R&J...(don't get me started...)
 
I think it's important to realize that although Romeo and Juliet are young by
OUR standards, in the context of the period, it was common for people that age
to get together and have babies.  (Can someone say, full circle?) And however
romantic we may view this period, death was prevalent, not love.  It was not
the most sanitary time, and people did not bathe much. There were many diseases
that were floating around, and many children did not live to maturity.  (Take
Shakespeare's own children, for instance). The average life span was shorter
than it is today, so naturally the ages of love, marriage and death were
compressed.  Lord and Lady Capulet, and Lord and Lady Montague were probably in
their 30's, depending on how many offspring you argue they each had.  The Lords
would probably be a little older, because the marriages were probably arranged,
but the point is that for the most part, people were younger than we would
assume.
 
Many people argue, "they were SO young..."  Yes, they were young by OUR
standards, but their relationship and its maturity were commonplace.  Girls as
young as Juliet were married off (and she just about was).  The idea of love
has changed considerably, and it is unreasonable to apply 20th century
standards to Romeo and Juliet.  "The marriage won't last..." argument doesn't
really apply, because many marriage were arranged, with love pushed aside.
Romeo and Juliet, although from different families, most likely would have
stayed together even if their love failed, because their union would create a
very POWERFUL alliance with GREAT influence over the politics of the city.
Let's remember that love and marriage were two fairly separate things in this
time and place; one emotional, the other legal and financial.
 
The point is these "Star-crossed lovers", which means, "these lovers CURSED by
fate" (I hate it when this quote is used in a positive sense), were simply
that: Cursed.  Arguing whether or not the marriage would have lasted is kind of
pointless, as fate declared they must die.  Arguing "what if's" are
interesting, but pay attention to the variables involved.  Do not argue that
their marriage won't last based only on a 20th century opinion. You're better
off rewritting it and making sense of it in a 20th century version.  (See
"westside story")  What would have happened if they lived? What would happen if
we prove the existence of God?  Both are simply self-defeating.  The play was
written with the ending in mind, hence it was a tragedy.  I enjoy SPECULATING
on "what if's", but I dislike people that give them as if they were
CONCLUSIONS, attempting to end the subject.
 
stay tuned to this email address for more R & J...and there will be MORE :)
 
-dan
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Feb 95 16:44:53 EST
Subject:        Some Observations on Romeo and Juliet and Rosaline and Love:
 
(1)  Dale Lyles: Shakespeare "regarded that first passionate infatuation as
something to be gotten over as soon as possible. . . ."  Romeo's "first"
infatuation was clearly with Rosaline.  But in any case the evidence here is,
as usual, ambiguous.  The happy couples in the romantic comedies mostly love at
first sight, from Luciana and Ant. S. in <Err> to Rosalind and Orlando in
<AYL>; the only couple in any of those plays about whose long-term marital
prospects the text expresses doubts are Touchstone and Audrey; they are among
the more obviously mismatched, and the melancholy Jacques is not necessarily a
reliable expert on the gentle passion.  The tragedies and problem comedies,
especially <Tro> and <Oth>, offer a more equivocal view, but, as in <Rom>,
adverse circumstances are at least as responsible as shallow-rooted affections
for destroying these relationships.
 
(2)  Dan How: Romeo uses "lyric images," perhaps "the same lines used on
whatzername" (I take that to mean Rosalind).  Shakespeare clearly distinguishes
the images Romeo applies to Rosalind from those he applies to Juliet.  The
former are mainly visual, and are almost all conventional Petrarchan epithets,
in the familiar oxymoronic patterns, placing the speaker in an essentially
passive position.  The latter are tactile, novel, and active, consonant with a
love that is vigorously active, not merely verbal, expressing itself in clasped
hands and kisses, dangerously climbed walls, marriage and its consummation, and
finally suicide.  The text does not clearly state that Romeo has ever actually
communicated his feelings to Rosaline.  When I was a very weedy ninth grader, I
mooned over Lillian Fugate, who was a junior, and sat in third-period study
hall trying to write a sonnet about the way the morning sun caressed the curve
of her cheek and chin, but although I still have a clear image of her, wearing
a dark green sweater, white blouse, pleated plaid skirt, green knee socks, and
brown loafers, with a gold sun on a rather heavy gold chain nestled in the
sweet hollow between her breasts, I never gave her the poem, or said a word to
her, and would not be surprised to learn that to this day she has no idea who I
am.  As I recall Zeffirelli suggests something like this in the long wordless
first phase of his treatment of the Capulet banquet, by having somebody who is
probably Rosaline look at Romeo without recognition.
 
3.  Bill Godshalk:  "what would they be talking about 20 or 30 years down the
road?"  Most married couples pass through the passionate infatuation stage,
during which they mostly talk about how wonderful the other is.  Then they find
other things; the possibilities are pretty various, and may include
intellectual interests, politics, etc., or just domestic matters.  R and J are
as potentially compatible as anybody--more than most, perhaps, because their
talk is on the same general rhetorical plane, the speech of each equally rich
and various in its lexical and syntactic and rhetorical resourcefulness (except
that we don't hear Juliet matching quips with Mercutio); language so fertile
suggests wide-ranging interests.  Paris, by comparison, talks in cliches, and
so does Lady Capulet, as though to supply a linguistic baseline.
 
Romantically,
Dave Evett
 

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