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Home :: Archive :: 2013 :: March ::
Question Regarding Pronunciation of “quit” as Shortened Version of “requite” . . .


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0128  Saturday, 23 March 2013


From:        Mari Bonomi < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         March 22, 2013 3:13:04 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Rom. Quit


Tiffany Moore disagrees with Larry Weiss’ suggestion that Romeo means “acquit”—to discharge, as a debt.


The line, again: “be trusty, and I’ll quit thy pains:”


It can be “requite,” certainly, but it equally can be “be trustworthy, and I shall acquit my debt to you for your efforts.”


Hence, in terms of what Romeo is saying, either pronunciation would serve.  Looking at the entire speech offers two clues, based on which assonance Shakespeare was trying to achieve:


And stay, good nurse, behind the abbey wall:

Within this hour my man shall be with thee

And bring thee cords made like a tackled stair;

Which to the high top-gallant of my joy

Must be my convoy in the secret night.

Farewell; be trusty, and I'll quit thy pains:

Farewell; commend me to thy mistress.


Is it “secret night/....quite thy.../...thy”?  

Or is it “Which..../...quit.../...mistress”?


Mari Bonomi


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