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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Banned Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0453  Tuesday, 17 February 2004

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Feb 2004 11:28:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0435 Banned Shakespeare

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Feb 2004 12:17:18 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0435 Banned Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Feb 2004 11:28:25 -0500
Subject: 15.0435 Banned Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0435 Banned Shakespeare

 >As for begging or selling herself in the
 >streets, couldn't the good Friar smuggle her off to Mantua until the
 >storm blows over?

The answer to Alan Pierpoint's question is, I think, no.  "Smuggle her
to Mantua" how?  (The idea is not even considered in the conversation
leading up to the potion plot, though in fairness that may be part of a
dramatic scheme to make the plot seem the only way out of the dilemma.)
  She can't go alone: except in romances, young women did not take to
the highway without male escorts -  certainly not the daughters of
aristocrats.   Laurence does not seem to be free to leave Verona himself
(he sends the message to Romeo by his associate).  He can't pay somebody
to take her - he's a friar, sworn to poverty: no money.  So she needs to
stay in Verona.  But to live with whom?  Housing in an inn or rented
room costs money.  Romeo presumably has money from his family, since his
move is public.  But Laurence has no money for her to live on.  She has
none of her own.  An attempt to sell jewels or clothing would arouse
suspicions of theft.  No friends or relatives to move in with - their
fathers or guardians would share Capulet's views on filial obedience.
No finding respectable work as a sales clerk or housemaid or waitress:
girls that young did go into service, but with the support and
acknowledgment of their families; because servants lived in the house
with their masters, no respectable gentleperson or tradesperson or
tavern-keeper wanted servants with mysterious antecedents.  Same thing
with entering a convent - you didn't just walk up to the door and
request admission to the order.  That leaves illicit activities of a
kind for which her genteel upbringing will hardly have prepared her.
"Beg! Starve! Die in the streets," says Capulet.  Nobody in the play
suggests that the threat is not real.

Sociologically,
David Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Feb 2004 12:17:18 -0600
Subject: 15.0435 Banned Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0435 Banned Shakespeare

  Alan Pierpoint's remark --

"I'm not convinced that Juliet had no choice in the matter.  Capulet's
famous tantrum in III, v, is not the pronouncement of a man with power,
but the bellowing of a man without it.  He can disown her, yes, but he
can't force her to marry against her will, and that's part of what's got
him so upset."

-- does not square with my impressions of Medieval and Renaissance
marriage laws and customs. Does anyone have authoritative information on
what the rights and powers of fathers were in the relevant times and places?

Cheers,
don

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