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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: May ::
Playing Capulet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0214  Wednesday, 6 May 2009

From:       Mari Bonomi <
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Date:       Saturday, 2 May 2009 18:04:19 -0400
Subject: 20.0209 Playing Capulet
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0209 Playing Capulet

Thank you, Charles. For once we see the "way to play the character" in 
what appears to be very much the same way.

Capulet has already gone much further out on a limb for Juliet than a 
father in that context would/should appropriately go: "Let two more 
summers wither in their pride/Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride." 
How many "Lords" will tell the "kinsman to the Prince" who is a "Count" 
(I.e. not only higher in rank but much closer to the halls of power) 
"no, you can't marry  my daughter." Yet Capulet says first to wait, and 
then to look for someone more suitable than Juliet at the big party.

And his daughter has always to this point been obedient: as she tells 
her mother about Paris, "I'll look to like..../ But no more deep will I 
endart mine eye/Than your consent gives strength to make it fly."

Now, when Capulet has made a decision that he hopes will protect his 
precious only child from the wrath of the Prince that her cousin has 
killed his kinsman Mercutio... a decision that he could clearly have 
made previously... a decision that is totally appropriate for Juliet's 
father to make (and which she should understand and appreciate), his 
precious only child says.. NO???

He's already heartsick about losing the male he expected to be his heir 
(Tybalt). He's deeply concerned about Juliet's welfare. And he is 
totally at sea about her sudden disobedience.

As someone pointed out in the Iago thread, Capulet is a man who reacts 
to being thwarted with anger, not with sorrow. (As he tells a rudely 
obstinate Tybalt, "This trick may chance to scathe you, I know what!")

So tears, if indeed there are any, would be those of rage and 
frustration. Look at the way he berates Juliet. "I will drag thee on a 
hurdle thither!"  "Be quiet or... I'll make you quiet!" (I have always 
seen him about to strike her on this line and only just managing to pull 
his hand back... a good spot for those tears of rage if you must have them!)

I have always liked Capulet. He has always seemed to me a man who would 
have accepted his daughter's announcement that she's married to Romeo 
had she been able to make it without the complications of 3.1. It is 
Capulet who offers his hand first to Montague in 5.3.

To rank him as a "villain" baffles me as much as Juliet's sudden 
obsinacy must have baffled him.

Mari Bonomi

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