The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0658 Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Date: Friday, 14 Nov 2008 13:18:17 -0600
Subject: 19.0648 All-Male Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Theatre
Comment: RE: SHK 19.0648 All-Male Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Theatre
Felix de Villiers writes, "The failure of Romeo and Juliet to abscond seems
plausible to me," and then offers several cogent reasons why. I agree. They are
trapped by circumstances. If they wait, Juliet is likely to be married off at
any moment -- and so might Romeo, for that matter. But if they marry, where can
they go? If they merely run off, what's to stop her father from sending men out
to find them, murder Romeo, and carry her back (now a widow and back on the
I used to think that Romeo could have just brought her home with him, but some
recent remarks on this list have made me question this idea. How can he be sure
that his father will welcome the daughter of his hated enemy into the family? If
he doesn't, they're really up a tree.
Obviously, their rationality is badly short-circuited by their emotional
attachment, and they are only teenagers to begin with, but, as Villiers points
out, they are given no time to plan a strategy. They've hardly consummated their
marriage before Romeo gets involved in the fracas with Tybalt and has to flee
the city. Perhaps it would have been smarter for Juliet to go along, but there
are great difficulties and dangers to her doing so that people don't seem to
take into account. They hold back -- perhaps wisely -- and then pay the price of
their parents' vicious egotism.
Verona in the 16th century is a much realer place than Athens in a hazy,
legendary past where Hermia and Lysander can hope to run off through the woods
to safety and happiness.
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