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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0149.  Thursday, 2March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   David Middleton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 01 Mar 95 12:02:54 CST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
 
(2)     From:   Bruce Coggin <
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        Date:   Wednesday, March 1, 1995
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0145  Re- *Romeo a
 
(3)     From:   Jean Peterson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Mar 1995 14:30:38 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
 
(4)     From:   David Loeb <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Mar 1995 15:01:07 U
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0145  Re- *Romeo a
 
(5)     From:   Dan T. M. How <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Mar 1995 05:13:12 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
 
(6)     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Mar 1995 21:51:28 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Hedgehogs
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Middleton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 01 Mar 95 12:02:54 CST
Subject: 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
 
Romeo and Juliet discussants--I myself am less interested in the ages of the
principals than in the "kind" and quality of their love and the way the
narrative tests its validity. I've had notable success this semester teaching
the play alongside selected scenes from "True Romance" (screenplay by
Tarantino, directed by Tony Scott). Both begin with a bang that brings two
young folks together in a transforming way, despite their having had no such
expectations. Thereafter, it seems to me, both selections "test" the validity
of the love relationships, asking, among other questions, "What will you do for
love--will you die for love? Will you kill for love (Tarantino)? Will you NOT
kill for love (Shakespeare's test of Romeo in Act 3)?" The comparative study
has allowed the class to deductively create their own sense of genre, because
slight differences in action and character produce great differences in effect.
Particularly useful is the strategy of studying the chorus (and friar at the
end) in contrast with the voice-over of Alabama speaking about chance and
destiny and choice in "True Romance."  I'd like to know if others have used
this piece, if so, how, or if not, what other selections complement the
classroom study of the tragedies.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Coggin <
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Date:           Wednesday, March 1, 1995
Subject: 6.0145  Re- *Romeo a
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0145  Re- *Romeo a
 
Surely, Old Capulet is OLD.  When he foolishly cries for his "long sword," his
lady says he needs "A crutch!  A crutch!" (I.i.81-82).  As for the Nurse, she
should be considered old.  One of the markers of Sh's oldsters is maddening
loquacity, to which she treats Juliet (I.iii.58) until she orders the old bag
to hush, a command she cannot obey.  This recurs (II.iv, II.v).  Oldsters also
are given to endless repetition, cf. Nurse's quadruple telling of her husband's
joke (I.iii).  They also pepper their speech with exclamations and expletives,
as does the Nurse.  And not least, the boys say flatly that she is old, razzing
her as "ancient lady" (II.iv.151).  Surely she is old--which might mean nothing
more than in her forties.  (My dissertation, unpublished, deals with Sh's
treatment of old age.  University of Texas at Austin, 1982.)
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jean Peterson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Mar 1995 14:30:38 -0500
Subject: 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
 
>Since I have rattled on longer than I should have about ages, I've been trying
>to figure out the approximate age of the Nurse. We know that she has a daughter
>who would've been around Juliet's age had she lived. The Nurse mentions her as
>"Susan" in 1.3. This idea would suggest that the Nurse is not very old.
>
>However, in that same scene, the Nurse remarks: "I'll lay fourteen of my
>teeth/Yet to my teen be it spoken I have but four,"
>
>This would suggest that she is pretty old if she has only four teeth,
>Any thoughts.
 
I disagree.  Poor dental hygiene and crude dentistry will do a number on your
teeth by your late twenties.  Since the Nurse's daughter would have been
Juliet's age, why not assume the Nurse was close in age to Lady Capulet?
 
Better to lose a diamond than a tooth, says Don Quixote!
 
Jean Peterson
Bucknell University
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Loeb <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Mar 1995 15:01:07 U
Subject: 6.0145  Re- *Romeo a
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0145  Re- *Romeo a
 
On the subject of whether the R&J's love would have lasted, perhaps a look at A
Midsummer Night's Dream would be instructive.  Even though the fairies bless
the house, any student of mythology knows that Theseus is headed for disaster,
with the child conceived that evening (presumably) destined to die cursing
Theseus, having caused Phaedra's death etc.  My students make the point that
Shakespeare's view of post-marital comedy was along the lines of "Married With
Children," and that comedies like MND, AYLI, and 12th Night end just in time.
Dave
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dan T. M. How <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Mar 1995 05:13:12 -0800
Subject: 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0145  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*; Love
 
In response to Frank Savukinas...
 
The age of the nurse is an interesting question.  I failed to notice "Susan" in
1.3, and that does put her age into better perspective for me. However, I think
you may be paying to much respect to the hygiene of the times.  Queen Elizabeth
was described as having BLACK teeth.  A sure sign of tooth decay, where the
acids in various sugars have already eaten through the enamel of the teeth.
People did not bathe much, didn't brush their teeth, threw their..."trash" out
the window onto the street, burned corpses outside the city walls, didn't wash
their clothes, etc, etc, etc. (I love telling this to people who "wished they
lived in such a romantic era")  The fact that she only has four teeth isn't as
telling back then as it is today, but FOUR?  She has to be a little old, I
would think.  The fact that her husband is deceased, along with her teeth,
would seem to justify that...
 
In the same scene ln 67:  "...Were not I thine only nurse, I would say thou
hadst sucked wisdom from thy teat."  Could it be possible that the nurse was
also Juliet's wet-nurse?  If I interpret correctly, "If I hadn't breast-fed you
myself, I would say you got wisdom from your mother's milk" If this is so, the
Nurse could not be that old at all, unless she had a breast-pump or something.
Could it be that the reference to having only four teeth is just another one of
the nurse's exaggerations?
 
-dan
 
(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Mar 1995 21:51:28 -0500
Subject:        Re: Hedgehogs
 
I thought Anne's epithet was a slighting reference to Richard's crest, a wild
boar, which is pretty bristly itself and would have appeared even moreso in
heraldic rampantry.  Think Razorbacks.
 
Dale
 

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