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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: "not well married"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1673  Monday, 2 July 2001

From:           Stuart Taylor <
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Date:           Saturday, 30 Jun 2001 09:14:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 12.1656 Re: "not well married"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1656 Re: "not well married"

With regard to:

"She's not well married that lives married long,
But she's best married that dies married young"
(Friar Lawrence, RJ),

Graham Hall said, "No edition I've read - although there may be one -
gives a gloss that incorporates the obvious bawdy pun on dying."

The passage cited by Mari Bonomi would support such a reading (Capulet
to Paris):

"O son, the night before thy wedding day
Hath death lain with thy wife. There she lies,
Flower as she was, deflowered by him."
(4.5.41-43; New Folger Library edition).

Thus, the Friar Lawrence passage could read:

"She's not well married that [doesn't die] married long,
But she's best married that dies married young".

(Didn't someone suggest that the Capulets are unhappily married? Or did
I imagine that?)

Another 'father' having lusty thoughts about his 'child'? (To add to
Capulet and Ed Pixley's example).

In any event, Friar Lawrence, being a bit of a rebel, and knowing Juliet
is not dead, might just pun his way through this little melodrama.

I believe the pun holds, at the same time as do other meanings, such as
condolence, philosophical truism, etc.

Graham Hall continues, "I do not suggest that Shakespeare put such
thoughts in the sanctified mind of a holy man, but my groundling mind
cannot resist the suspicion that he constructed it for those of us
accustomed to the sulphureous odours of the pit."

But in fact, aren't Holy men people, rather than God?  And being fallen,
aren't they subject to 'impure thoughts' that seek expression, just like
the rest of us?  Can any cognitive censor completely filter out or
abolish such ideation, thereby sanctifying a human mind?  Doesn

 

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