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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: The Capulets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0394  Monday, 8 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Bruce Young <
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        Date:   Friday, 05 Mar 1999 17:32:11 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0347 Capulets' Ages

[2]     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Saturday, 6 Mar 1999 20:50:37 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0374 Re: The Capulets

[3]     From:   Matthew Bibb<
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        Date:   Friday, 05 Mar 99 15:22:14 -0800
        Subj:   Lady Capulet

[4]     From:   Drew Whitehead <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Mar 1999 09:00:30 +1000 (GMT+1000)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0374 Re: The Capulets


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Young <
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Date:           Friday, 05 Mar 1999 17:32:11 +0000
Subject: 10.0347 Capulets' Ages
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0347 Capulets' Ages

In general, I found Marilyn Bonomi's reflections on the ages of the
Capulets and the Nurse perceptive.  But I wonder about the assumption
that Lord Capulet would have been ready to wed at age 20 and that the
Nurse must have had her child no later than her early 20s since "any
woman still dropping offspring after then would be too old and worn out
to be a viable candidate for wetnursing."

It's well documented that the average age of first marriage in England
of Shakespeare's time was 24 or 25 for women and 27 or 28 for men.  I
don't remember what the usual childbearing years were for women, but I'm
sure they must have extended into the 30s.  The upper classes had
slightly lower average ages of marriage, so maybe Lord Capulet could
have stopped masquing at 20--but he could easily have gone on doing it
into his mid-20s.

Did Shakespeare imagine Italians as having married much earlier?  That's
hard to say.  The fact is (at least in Tuscany) the age of marriage
didn't differ much from that in England.

So why does Shakespeare make Juliet so young?  That's been the subject
of several articles, including one by Ann Jennalie Cook and one by me.
Without getting into the details, I think it's pretty clear from the
play itself that Shakespeare knew he was making Juliet much younger than
brides would normally have been.

So I think the speculations about other characters' ages need some
refining.

Bruce Young

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Saturday, 6 Mar 1999 20:50:37 EST
Subject: 10.0374 Re: The Capulets
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0374 Re: The Capulets

I seem to recall that Prokofiev's ballet featured a rather clear link
between Lady C and Tybalt.  Or am I too misremembering?

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Bibb<
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Date:           Friday, 05 Mar 99 15:22:14 -0800
Subject:        Lady Capulet

C. David Frankel<
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 > wrote:

>I think Luhrmann has her lusting after Tybalt.

and James Marino <
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 > wrote:

>Tonya wrote that she had never seen a production with Lady Capulet
>lusting for Paris. I felt budgeoned by that point in Luhrman's
>"William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet".  Was I fantasizing?

You're both right. Diane Venora plays Lady C. as a faded southern belle
trying to recapture her youth through flirting with both Tybalt and
Paris. Her shock at Juliet's refusal to wed is the shock of a woman,
reliving her youth through her daughter, unable to comprehend Juliet's
refusal to play the game. One half expects to hear a "Fiddle-dee-dee",
or maybe a line about the kindness of strangers,

     Matt Bibb
     Lost Dog Productions

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Drew Whitehead <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Mar 1999 09:00:30 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject: 10.0374 Re: The Capulets
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0374 Re: The Capulets

John Savage asks:

>By the way, has there *ever* been a professional production of R&J where
>Juliet was actually Juliet's age -- 13?

Zeffirelli has it fairly close.  Ms. Hussey was 15 at the time.

Drew Whitehead
 

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