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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: February ::
Re: R&J Prologue
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0321  Tuesday, 15 February 2000.

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Monday, 14 Feb 2000 19:50:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0299 Re: R&J Prologue

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 2000 08:50:14 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.0299 Re: R&J Prologue


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Monday, 14 Feb 2000 19:50:17 -0500
Subject: 11.0299 Re: R&J Prologue
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0299 Re: R&J Prologue

Doesn't it seem inevitable that out of the interminable process of
vendetta answering vendetta, an illicit love must eventually emerge that
reaches across the battle front?  Although, whenever we view the play,
we entertain a fantastic hope that an acceptance of this love will heal
the divide, in the end, we resign ourselves to the knowledge that only a
virginal sacrifice on hallowed ground can serve to restore domestic
tranquility.

And so the lovers are truly star-crossed and their deaths have been
commanded by the tutelary gods of Verona, as surely as the death of
Iphigeneia had been commanded by Artemis.

Clifford

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 2000 08:50:14 -0000
Subject: 11.0299 Re: R&J Prologue
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.0299 Re: R&J Prologue

Marilyn A. Bonomi wrote:

>>I remember my college professor telling us that Shakespeare almost
>>definitely did not write the Prologue to Act II and probably not the
>>Prologue to Act I.

The general consensus seems to be that you had the wrong college
professor (or the wrong memory...).  Both prologues are in Q2, which is
thought to derive from the 'foul papers', and the Act 1 prologue even
appears in Q1, a 'bad' quarto.  If "Shakespeare" is defined as "the
person or committee who wrote the plays", then the prologues are
"Shakespearean" by definition!  That's the trouble with us  'text'
people, no poetry in our souls!

Talking of poetry, as others have pointed out, the prologues are sonnets
and sonnets are important in R&J.  Brian Gibbons in his Arden 2 edition
(1980) sees R&J as almost a sonnet sequence.  He sees the role of the
prologues as attuning the audience to hearing verse, so the content of
the prologues is probably unimportant: the form is the whole point.
This would explain why they became unnecessary after Act 2.  The
prologues in Henry V are performing a different function, but, yes, the
epilogue to Henry V is a sonnet!

John Briggs
 

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