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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0183.  Wednesday, 8 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 7 Mar 1995 17:51:56 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0176 Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(2)     From:   Frank Savukinas <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Mar 1995 14:42:40 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   R & J (age and 5.3)
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 7 Mar 1995 17:51:56 GMT
Subject: 6.0176 Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0176 Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
S. Hampton-Reeves is certainly right when he suggests that thirteen was
exceptionally young for marriage in Shakespeare's England - all authorities,
Stone, McFarlane, Anne Jennalie Cook (in 'Making a Match', 1992] concur on this
matter.  There were, of course, exceptions - as for example the notorious
marriage of Frances Howard and the Earl of Essex - but almost exclusively in
the highest reaches of society. (And when that marriage collapsed, King James
himself, who had played a significant part in its formation, was heard to
inveigh against youthful unions]
 
The minimum legal age for marriage was at 12 for girls, 14 for boys; perhaps
the reason Shakespeare changed Juliet's age from 16 to 13 was precisely to
place the issue of parental consent more squarely at the centre of the play.
Though legally parental consent was not required even for very young marriages,
there seems to have been some feeling then (as now in English law) that 16
marked a watershed.
 
David Lindley
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Savukinas <
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Date:           Tuesday, 07 Mar 1995 14:42:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        R & J (age and 5.3)
 
Stuart Reeves asked why Shakespeare would change Juliet's age to 13 instead of
keeping at Brooke's age of 16.
 
I think Shakespeare wanted to have his version of the play to be focused on the
idea of first love. If Shakespeare had kept Juliet's age at 16, I think the
audience would've had a harder time believing that this was her first love.
While Shakespeare does make other references throughout the play about Juliet
being a virgin, (Ex: "Death, not Romeo take my maidenhead. 3.2), to have her at
a younger age would be more convincing.
 
We know that Lady Capulet had Juliet at a rather young age (see 1.3), and
therefore married to Capulet at that same young age. This proves that the rich
were married and had children at a younger age. Therefore, if Shakespeare kept
Juliet at 16 and she still had not been in love, the audience might think that
there is something frightfully wrong with her.
 
Also, Juliet Youngren suggests that the poison that Romeo took might have
remained in powder form instead of being diluted like the apothecary says he
should do.
 
Sorry, but I find that highly unlikely. If the poison would have remained in
powder form, wouldn't it be likely that some it would have stuck to his lips?
Therefore when Juliet kisses his lips, she would've ingested some of the
poison. This does not happen. All Juliet says at that point is "Thy lips are
warm."
 
I was just wondering how many of you have ever seen Franco Zefferelli's 1968
version of Romeo and Juliet. Nobody I know has seen it and would like to get
some feedback.
 
Personally, It is my all time favorite movie. It would be the perfect movie if
Zefferelli hadn't done so much cutting of the text. Other than that, I thought
that the cinematography was great and the acting did justice to the Bard's
words.
 
Any other comments??
 

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