The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0236 Friday, 15 May 2009
Date: Wednesday, 13 May 2009 22:14:56 -0400
Subject: 20.0228 Playing Capulet
Comment: Re: SHK 20.0228 Playing Capulet
It is not necessary, I think, to take a standard western C21 view of
adolescent sexuality (the Palin family's, for example) to assess
Capulet's reaction to Juliet's resistance to Paris. Her mother learns of
it at 3.5.116, but defers response to her husband. He hears of it from
her at l. 141. Juliet confirms it, if somewhat obliquely, in 146-48.
Fifty lines ensue before he exits; he speaks all but 5 and a half of
them. Juliet gets 2, in which she requests, politely, to be heard:
Good father, I beseech you on my knees.
She kneels down.
Hear me with patience but to speak a word. (158-59)
He denies her even a single word: she will marry Paris on Thursday or be
thrown into the street to starve or sell herself. He also refuses to
hear the Nurse. Even Lady Capulet finds this wrong: "You are too hot"
(175). A less intemperate, less absolutely and merely and stupidly
patriarchal treatment of a youngster whose previous behavior seems on
the face of it to have been exemplary offers at least the possibility
of avoiding the tragedy that awaits them all. Nobody much really listens
to much of anybody, of course, in this impulse-driven play.
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