The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0214 Wednesday, 6 May 2009
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.
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