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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: December ::
Re: Questions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2465  Monday, 30 December 2002

[1]     From:   Kristine Batey <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Dec 2002 09:59:38 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2463 Questions

[2]     From:   Russell MacKenzie Fehr <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Dec 2002 17:33:52 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Questions

[3]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Dec 2002 15:07:11 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2463 Questions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristine Batey <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Dec 2002 09:59:38 -0600
Subject: 13.2463 Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2463 Questions

Amy Irwin wrote:

>1:  Antony & Cleopatra:  Cleo is such a selfish drama queen, which leads
>me to ask: does she commit suicide to be with Antony or to escape
>Caesar?

All of the above? None of the above? She has a number of potential
motives.  She's a shrewd, intelligent, volatile woman and a politician
playing a high-stakes game that she's just lost. Both her personal life
and her political life have been destroyed. Her best-case scenario,
should she choose to live, is imprisonment and humiliation, followed by
death at the pleasure of her captor.

>2: Romeo & Juliet:  The final line of the play reverses the name order
>of the title to Juliet & her Romeo. Might it be because she has finally
>won power over a patriarchal society?

Speaking as an ardent feminist and a poet, I'd have to say the order is
reversed because it scans better and "Romeo" is easier to rhyme,
particularly in blank verse. Chick's dead! In what way has she won over
patriarchal society? Sorry, I'm not of the Thelma and Louise school,
where a woman drives over a cliff and thereby Proves Her Point. If
suicide is our only putative means of winning power, it tells us that we
have no way of winning power.

Kristine Batey
Evanston, IL USA

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Russell MacKenzie Fehr <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Dec 2002 17:33:52 -0500
Subject:        Re: Questions

1) The answer, most probably, is neither: she killed herself so that she
wouldn't be humiliated (and then probably killed anyway) by Octavian,
and

2) Look at the characters: Juliet grows up, while Romeo doesn't. In his
phrasing, the Prince is showing that he regards Juliet as the grown-up,
while treating "her Romeo" as something of a child, or possibly even a
condition.

Of course (to quote Dennis Miller), I could be wrong.

Russell MacKenzie Fehr

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Dec 2002 15:07:11 -0000
Subject: 13.2463 Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2463 Questions

>2: Romeo & Juliet:  The final line of the play reverses the name order
>of the title to Juliet & her Romeo. Might it be because she has finally
>won power over a patriarchal society?

I hate to be prosaic, but isn't it simply because "woe" rhymes with
"Romeo" and nothing useful rhymes with "Juliet" at this point, and
Shakespeare wanted to finish with a rhyming couplet?

A feminist reading is rather too modern to be likely to have occurred to
a Renaissance author, who - even if he had proto-feminist sympathies -
wouldn't have thought in terms of women winning over a "patriarchal
society" at all.

Shakespeare often reversed expected word orders in order to produce
rhymes, as most poets do.

Thomas Larque.

"Shakespeare and His Critics"
http://shakespearean.org.uk

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