The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0267  Tuesday, 4 June 2013


From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 3, 2013 1:57:31 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Petruchio


>In Q2 of Romeo and Juliet (1599), at what modern editors 

>would number 3.1.90, occurs a line of type, centered and 

>reading “Away Tybalt.”  It looks like a stage direction, and 

>is so taken by most editors.  But in 1960, George Walton 

>Williams wrote an article claiming that this is in fact a line 

>of dialogue.  The Q2 compositor doesn’t use “Away” to 

>mean “Exit,” speech prefixes for minor characters are often 

>omitted, and there is a neat parallel later in the scene with 

>Benvolio’s “Away, Romeo.”


>Williams has a plausible argument, and, in any case, he is 

>by common consent irreproachable. (As with Sara Lee, 

>nobody doesn’t love GWW.) But his claim has put a sting 

>in Rene Weis, with which he might do mischief in his Arden3 

>edition of the play. Since Weis accepts “Away, Tybalt” as 

>speech, he needs a speaker.  And where a less adventurous 

>editor might settle for “Another Capulet” or “Tybalt’s follower,” 

>Weis decides that the line is spoken by “Petruchio.” [!!!]


Weis’s surmise is not so bizarre as Tom Pendleton’s amusing post would have it. In fact, Q2 (the good text) has a ghost character named “Petruchio” enter with Tybalt at l.34. Assigning him the “Away Tybalt” line gives him something to say, and so upgrades him from “ghost.” There is no need to speculate that this Petruchio is the same, or a relative of, the one in T/S. I could be wrong, but I believe there are instances of Shakespeare’s using the same name more than once.


Another possibility, which I don’t think is as likely, is that Petruchio is another name for Peter—it means “big Peter.”


Subscribe to Our Feeds


Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.