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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Romeo and Juliet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1188  Tuesday, 30 April 2002

[1]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Monday, 29 Apr 2002 16:15:10 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet

[2]     From:   Philip Weller <
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        Date:   Monday, 29 Apr 2002 14:00:16 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Apr 2002 01:00:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Monday, 29 Apr 2002 16:15:10 +0100
Subject: 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet

Yes, interesting stuff from Jimmy Yung.  But I disagree.  I still think
that R&J is an anti-civil war play.  But the point about chance and fate
is still interesting.  I have always thought that the letter incident
etc was very forced, amongst other things.  But let us not underestimate
the writer.  It is true there is no single antagonist - but surely that
role is played by the warring families?  Perhaps Shakespeare is saying
that when two halves of a society engages in bloody conflict innocent
people will be butchered by chance and fate. Rather like the army
opening fire on a crowd - some die, some don't.  Is there a real reason
why those that died died?  In a way yes, and also no.  The stars have
it.

SAM SMALL
http://www.passioninpieces.co.uk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Weller <
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Date:           Monday, 29 Apr 2002 14:00:16 -0700
Subject: 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet

In both of Brian Willis' latest posts on this thread he seems concerned
with the question of how we can feel sympathy for Romeo.  I think it's a
key question, but I don't agree with an implication (I thought I saw) in
his first post.  I think the implication is that we can't sympathize
with Romeo if he's a sap.  When Romeo throws himself on the floor and
bawls Romeo is quite sappy  ("unmanly" is Friar Laurence's word for
it).  Still, we can sympathize, even in age in which it's been cool to
be cool for so long that we're practically frozen.  I think that the
creation of a sympathetic sap is as great an achievement as the creation
of a sympathetic Shylock.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Apr 2002 01:00:06 -0400
Subject: 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1160 Re: Romeo and Juliet

> Tybalt was already dead.
>
> The law would have ended the life of Tybalt

What support is there for this?  Romeo was not executed for killing
Tybalt; just sent about 20 miles away.  Why would anyone assume that
Tybalt would have suffered a more grievous doom.  In any case, the point
of Romeo's killing of Tybalt was that he acted out of rage with no time
to stop to think.

But that does not seriously affect the point that R&J are not entirely
the victims of fate.  To blame fortune alone is to deny that this play
is a true tragedy; that there is no hamartia.  All the unfortunate
events directly flow from the main characters' rash insistence on
immediate gratification of their lust.

>It occurs to me that one other reason to introduce fate or the stars as an
active hand in the play might be the lack of a villain.

There is no strong candidate for villain in A&C either, and that play is
also about two lustful lovers who kill themselves.  But no one, I think,
would seriously contend that they are mere passive victims of fate.

Brian Willis says

> I would like us to consider however how the feud DOES play into all of
> this. Could Romeo and Juliet come out in the open with their marriage?
> Of course they could. But what would be the consequences of such an
> action? Their parents would certainly not condone the match.

Are you sure?  There are strong hints that the embers of the feud are
burnt out in the older generation.  It is kept alive only by the
servants, for whom it is a source of exercise, and Tybalt, whose
attitude is roundly condemned by Capulet.  The latter, in fact, has some
kind words to say about Romeo.  Why did WS give us these passages if not
to suggest that a little patience and diplomacy might have brought the
lovers together and given quietus to the feud into the bargain.

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