The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0114  Monday, 18 March 2013


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

Date:         March 17, 2013 6:49:37 PM EDT

Subject:     Question Regarding Pronunciation of “quit” as Shortened Version of “requite” . . .


Hello all,


So, in R&J at the end of 2.4, Romeo tells the Nurse he will “quit” her pains—that is, in the modern spelling in most versions.


But in Q1 and F1 it’s spelled “quite,” which to my mind makes more sense if it’s meant as to requite her pains. Otherwise, if it’s said as our modern day “quit” it has a different meaning altogether . . . perhaps.


It appears that many scholars, directors, performers, et al., pronounce this as “quit” as in “to quit smoking” instead of “quite” as in “requite.”  


Is this a mistake born of the modernized spelling used in so many editions, or is it possible that it was, in fact, pronounced as the modern quit . . . that is, would “requite” have sounded like “requit”?  Or was the shortened form pronounced differently from the long form of the word?


Here you can see the quarto and folio variants:


Here you can see the OED with many spelling variants:


(This link will only work for a few days, otherwise, you have to find the OED online yourself . . . )


What say you, good people?




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