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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: April ::
Romeo and Juliet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0272  Wednesday, 4 April 2007

From: 		Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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Date: 		Monday, 2 Apr 2007 18:24:09 -0400
Subject: 18.0266 Romeo and Juliet
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0266 Romeo and Juliet

Donald Bloom comments sadly on "the degree to which a sense of romance 
has at last died out in the English-speaking world" in regards to the 
more cynical views on R&J.

I would argue, however, that it's not "romance" in the sense of 
immediate and deeply passionate love that Shakespeare is portraying in 
this play, though folks certainly can experience it on this level.

Romeo, at least, is far more infatuated with the idea of love than with 
the fact of love. It's not just Rosaline who inspires such insipidity in 
him (though I'll certainly grant that his language is far more lofty 
when he speaks about Juliet!).

While I rather liked the suggestion from someone (sorry, I didn't save 
that email) that Romeo's response to "what satisfaction canst thou have 
tonight" is quick thinking to hide his desire to bed her, I'd suggest 
rather that "t'exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine" is pretty 
much an accurate description of what Romeo wants.

After all, he says to Friar Lawrence (who worries about leaving them 
alone 'till holy Church incorporate two in one'): "Do thou but close our 
hands with holy words/Then love-devouring death do what he dare/It is 
enough I may but call her mine."  (Note: typing lines from memory; a 
word may be off here or there)

He wants words, our "lover boy," not action -- he'll die happy if he's 
married to her, not if he's bedded her.

Actually, he speaks in more sexual imagery about Rosaline than about 
Juliet (Rosaline will not 'ope her lap to saint-seducing gold'-I think 
she's just to savvy to want a callow boy like Romeo!).

Juliet understands that sex comes with marriage-her soliloquy urging 
night to hasten Romeo's arrival in their marriage bed is highly sensual 
and quite beautiful.

In fact, I think Juliet by far the stronger and more attractive character.

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