The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2686 Wednesday, 28 November 2001
From: Sam Small <
Date: Tuesday, 27 Nov 2001 18:44:29 -0000
Subject: 12.2626 Re: MND Tops Survey
Comment: Re: SHK 12.2626 Re: MND Tops Survey
It is an old screenwriting adage that "if a scene is about what the
scene is about you are in deep trouble". Writers of experience know
that sub text is sometimes never obvious and that telling an audience
clearly what you mean at every turn will bore them out of the theatre in
droves. I am sure Shakespeare applied this tenant to the whole of R&J.
It is due his genius that educated people mistake the play for a study
of adolescence. By placing young lovers centre stage the old
Shakespeare fears of civil unrest crowd around them like poisonous
clouds. To pull off the trick Shakespeare had to get us to love the
couple and perhaps identify with their hot and amorous affair.
Civil disorder is always executed by 18 to 35 year old men whilst the
older men and women tacitly - and occasionally noisily - approve.
Testosterone flushed males like Tybalt and Romeo will always be ready to
demonstrate their honour-led swordplay whilst the older generation has
the responsibility to regulate that much-maligned hormone. Clearly in
R&J they failed miserably. To tell young men not to violently compete
will always fail, but to show their destruction of the lovely Romeo and
sweet Juliet is more than most can take. But remember, 40 years later -
and in complete ignorance of the message of R&J - England tore itself
apart in a civil war between two "families". Perhaps Shakespeare failed
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