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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Romeo MUST Die (in DC)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1102  Tuesday, 23 April 2002

From:           Jimmy Jung <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Apr 2002 10:37:49 -0400
Subject:        Romeo MUST Die (in DC)

I was looking at David Wallace's response and thinking about a paper I
wrote, probably back in 11th grade, where I tried to resolve if in fact
Romeo and Juliet are in fact "star-crossed," or to blame for their own
tragedy.

Mr. Wallace points out that, "A lovesick Romeo and a dutiful Juliet are
necessary if we are to appreciate that their destiny is governed not by
some character flaw but by the manipulations Fate or God." He asks when
Romeo is "assigned the line 'O, I am Fortune's fool'.  How much clearer
do we need it?"  But it was never that clear to me, let's face it; 30
seconds patience at the tomb and the story has a happy ending
(recognizing, of course that we wouldn't really have much of a story, or
at least a tragedy, at all).  It makes me curious, I may have to dig
through the attic to see if I saw it the same way, when I was in my
passionate youth.

Nevertheless, when Mr. Wallace says, "But if one wants the aesthetic
satisfactions of the tragedy of Juliet AND Romeo, it might be best to
extend some sympathy his way," And while I'm inclined to agree, I put
the burden on the performer to create that sympathy (not me to extend
it) - and with Romeo, that just doesn't happen that often.

I will say, that through some ticketing/schedule goof-up, my wife and my
mother (who scoff at my defense of Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo) saw the
play yesterday and both proclaimed it "excellent."  Those roles I
considered weakest, they considered the strengths; (with the exception
of Romeo, which none of us can endorse, but which none of us saw as
quite as wretchedly as has been elsewhere described).

Someone on this list suggested that all subsequent viewings are through
the perspective of seeing our first Hamlet.  Not true of Hamlet for me,
but everyone in our party is agreed; we may need to go back to the
Zeffirelli film to see if Leonard Whiting comes off as well as we
remember.

Jimmy

PS:  Mr. Heller; Antony and Cleopatra had also crossed my mind as "most
romantic," but the politics always seemed to detract from the drama of
the heart.  I always considered A&C, R&J for grown-ups; something I took
to be a popular perspective.  I am left to wonder why we tend towards
tragedies as "more romantic," is there something unromantic about a
happy ending.  I want to nominate the mature love of "Much Ado ..." or
the insane love of "Midsummer ..." but it just doesn't feel right.

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