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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: November ::
All-Male Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Theatre
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0658  Tuesday, 18 November 2008

From:        Donald Bloom <
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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 
marriage-market)?

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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