Romeo and Juliet

PrologueEnter Chorus.Two households, both alike in dignity(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.From forth the fatal loins of these two foesA pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;Whose misadventured piteous overthrowsDoth with their death bury their parents’ strife.The fearful passage of their death-marked loveAnd the continuance of their parents’ rage,Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;The which, if you with patient ears attend,What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. Prologues in Sonnets, points to language, oxymoron of desire (negative/positive)conflict between household ensues in lover’s death. Capulet (Juliet) vs Montague (Romeo)Prologue is a sonnet • Oxymoron: love as an untenable experience – it is wonderful, but it is impossible. Get this some sort of oxymoron use in the line “civil blood”• “Take their life” – brought into existence and out of existence in one phrase • Oxymoron palpable in the entire feel of the play messages:this is going to be a tragic story – a Romantic tragedy (something different)duration of the playfast-paced – original pronunciation (faster)movie version: 4 hourstemplates for performance; possibilities – not a Biblephrases – language of the playthe Prologue is a sonnet14 lineslove as untenable experience (wonderful and horrible at the same time; oxymoron; simultaneous positive and negative qualities)”civil blood””take their lives”brought into and taken from existence at the same timeoxymoron as the essence of the playpalpable to the generic feel of the playtragedy with a comic structurecan easily have the miraculous, romantic ending like the kind of TGV, but there isn’tpatrarchan references
O woe, O woeful, woeful, woeful day!Most lamentable day, most woeful dayThat ever, ever I did yet behold!O day, O day, O day, O hateful day!Never was seen so black a day as this!O woeful day, O woeful day! break down of language with grief(oxymoron love and hate with repetition of “o”)
MERCUTIOShe is the fairies’ midwife, and she comesIn shape no bigger than an agate stoneOn the forefinger of an alderman,Drawn with a team of littleatomiOver men’s noses as they lie asleep.Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’ legs,The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,Her traces of the smallest spider web,Her collars of the moonshine’s wat’ry beams,Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,Her wagoner a small gray-coated gnat,Not half so big as a round little wormPricked from the lazy finger of amaid.Her chariot is an empty hazelnut,Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.And in this state she gallops night by nightThrough lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;On courtiers’ knees, that dream on cur’sies straight;O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees;O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream,Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plaguesBecause theirbreaths with sweetmeats tainted are.Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,And then dreams he of smelling out a suit.And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail,Tickling a parson’s nose as he lies asleep;Then he dreams of another benefice.Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,Of healths five fathom deep, and then anonDrums in his ear, at which he starts and wakesAnd, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or twoAnd sleeps again. This is that very MabThat plats the manes of horses in the nightAnd bakes theelflocks in foul sluttish hairs,Which once untangled much misfortune bodes.This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,That presses them and learns them first to bear,Making them women of good carriage.This is she— Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace. Mercutio’s poetic idealsApparently unfitting to the playmore suitable for MND? (fairies)suggestions about that MND came first?YET first work on a sentimental workMercutio as an interesting characterfluiditygets invited to Capulet’s ball yetpre-figuration of what is going to happen to the young lovers• Mercutio’s speech: one of these grand poetic, idealist speeches. Seems really random to put in this play, seems like its not that relevant, like a speech that Shakespeare got carried away with that he liked that actually belongs in Midsummer Night’s Dream o This sort of suggests that MND comes first – gives the sense of a leftover piece of language that Shakespeare didn’t want to let just sit on the shelf Mercutio quite an interesting character – he is the one who has an invitation to the Capulet’s ball – how does he get this invitation when he hangs out with the Montagues? One of these characters that is fluid, goes back and forth, and it is that getting caught in the middle of this enduring animosity that crushes him
SAMPSON Gregory, on my word we’ll not carry coals.GREGORY No, for then we should be colliers.SAMPSON I mean, an we be in choler, we’ll draw.GREGORY Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of collar. semantic slippage the punthe relationship between the words and the referent is slipperythe stuff of poetry – if not arbitrary, some instability in their meaningallows metaphor, creation of meaning
JULIET Go ask his name. The Nurse goes. If he be marrièd,My grave is like to be my wedding bed.NURSE,returning His name is Romeo, and a Montague,The only son of your great enemy.JULIET My only love sprung from my only hate!Too early seen unknown, and known too late!Prodigious birth of love it is to meThat I must love a loathèd enemy. oxymoronpremonition of what’s going to happen(Juliet finds out Romeo’s name, oxymoron + Sonnet mutual acceptance rather than usual power and domination)
JULIET O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?Deny thy father and refuse thy name,Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.ROMEO,aside Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?JULIET ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy.Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,Nor arm, nor face. O, be some other nameBelonging to a man.What’s in a name? That which we call a roseBy any other word would smell as sweet.So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,Retain that dear perfection which he owesWithout that title. Romeo, doff thy name,And, for thy name, which is no part of thee,Take all myself.ROMEO I take thee at thy word.Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized.Henceforth I never will be Romeo.JULIET What man art thou that, thus bescreened in night,So stumblest on my counsel? the tension between social language and private languagename as barrier between their relationshiphe recognises her by her languagethroughout the sceneR&J learns to be the lover that each other needsunlike …: complete conventionalisedthe danger that they are in; she’s not going to let him gopushing against the faithful quality of his workwhat makes the play work: we know what is going to happen, thanks to the prologuepossessing and instilling the hope, with the audience witnessing that; the nurse and the priest (~counsellors / ally) helps with them when they want to kill themselvesavuncular, end-type characterscomplete isolation and alienationBalcony scene, tension between social and private language, she recognises him by his voice and words, line 173 first use of “deeply in love” metaphor; Shakespeare’s legacy.
ROMEO Lady, by yonder blessèd moon I vow,That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—JULIET O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon,That monthly changes in hercircled orb,Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.ROMEO What shall I swear by?JULIET But to be frank and give it thee again.And yet I wish but for the thing I have.My bounty is as boundless as the sea,My love as deep. The more I give to thee,The more I have, for both are infinite. Shakespeare made that part of our culture: how we talk about lovemedieval tradition: meddling (getting into stuff that one is not supposed to get into) priestsexually active member of the congregationinterfamilial affairs: relationship between R&J as a potential means to appease the tension between the two families
BENVOLIO O noble prince, I can discover allThe unlucky manage of this fatal brawl.There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.LADY CAPULET Tybalt, my cousin, O my brother’s child!O prince! O cousin! Husband! O, the blood is spilledOf my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true,For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.O cousin, cousin!PRINCE Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?BENVOLIO Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay—Romeo, that spoke him fair, bid him bethinkHow nice the quarrel was, and urged withalYour high displeasure. All this utterèdWith gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bowedCould not take truce with the unruly spleenOf Tybalt, deaf to peace, but that he tiltsWith piercing steel at bold Mercutio’s breast,Who, all as hot, turns deadly point to pointAnd, with a martial scorn, with one hand beatsCold death aside and with the other sendsIt back to Tybalt, whose dexterityRetorts it. Romeo he cries aloud”Hold, friends! Friends, part!” and swifter than histongueHisagile arm beats down their fatal points,And ‘twixt them rushes; underneath whose armAn envious thrust from Tybalt hit the lifeOf stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled.But by and by comes back to Romeo,Who had but newly entertained revenge,And to ‘t they go like lightning, for ere ICould draw to part them was stout Tybalt slain,And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.This is the truth, or let Benvolio die. Why does Benvolio needs to go along all these again, which we’ve just seen?Is this redundant? We just saw all these?the process of event turning into story, narrative, mytha greater sense of realism – these actually happened at one pointanalogue ; Euhemerus: the Greek gods are myths but they were one time real people; retold through people orallyan interesting way to read Greek mythsstories gets retold and retold and retold until they get crystallisedo Event turning into narrative/story/myth → lends us a sense that what we’re seeing in action in the play is legend/myth• We see the process occurring just after the event• Gives realism to those events• We see how things “become” myth• Euhemerus = Greek, notion that Greek gods were at one time real people, stories were told/retold until they were turned into gods – power of narrative
LADY MONTAGUEO, where is Romeo? saw you him to-day?Right glad I am he was not at this fray.BENVOLIOMadam, an hour before the worshipp’d sunPeer’d forth the golden window of the east,A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;Where, underneath the grove of sycamoreThat westward rooteth from the city’s side,So early walking did I see your son:Towards him I made, but he was ware of meAnd stole into the covert of the wood:I, measuring his affections by my own,That most are busied when they’re most alone,Pursued my humour not pursuing his,And gladly shunn’d who gladly fled from me. • “Sycamore” – double meaning, love sick • Romeo feels alienated because of his love sickness, pursues solitude so he doesn’t bother his friends in his emotional state • Important that this is our first meeting of Romeo: we meet him through words, hear about him before he meet him (this happens with Juliet too) – this is quite realistic, and something that Shakespeare does a lot • Melancholic lover is also a convention at the time: if you’re love sick, you behave in a certain way
ROMEO[To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest handThis holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready standTo smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.JULIETGood pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,Which mannerly devotion shows in this;For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss. • Romeo opens up a space where Juliet can participate in the creation of this love sonnet, becomes a kind of participatory activity. • In this sonnet, we get an emphasis on mutual consent on this sort of shared practice• Also significance that it condenses their entire meeting and getting to know each other into this one moment • Language of hands very important in this speech, as well as the play: for male characters, the hand often is a marker of a capacity for violence, for females it often has to do with this idea of consent. Is an important organ of communication, of touch. A kind of reciprocity about hand-holding that is a sort of physical manifestation of what is going on with their language. • “Your hand” – your writing, has to do with your identity, is closely connected with your specific individual identity. Unique individuality as a function of your hand.• Language turns from their hands to the kissing between their lips. There are two kisses here, if the first one is an accident then the first one emphasizes their mutual consent and relation. • Another important body part here is lips • Talking about erotic interest that they have in each other in terms of religious imagery. Way of investing greater meaning or sacredness to their interest in each other, they each want something much more out of their relationship.
BENVOLIOTybalt, here slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay;Romeo that spoke him fair, bade him bethinkHow nice the quarrel was, and urged withalYour high displeasure: all this utteredWith gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bow’d,Could not take truce with the unruly spleenOf Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tiltsWith piercing steel at bold Mercutio’s breast,Who all as hot, turns deadly point to point,And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beatsCold death aside, and with the other sendsIt back to Tybalt, whose dexterity,Retorts it: Romeo he cries aloud,’Hold, friends! friends, part!’ and, swifter thanhis tongue,His agile arm beats down their fatal points,And ‘twixt them rushes; underneath whose armAn envious thrust from Tybalt hit the lifeOf stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;But by and by comes back to Romeo,Who had but newly entertain’d revenge,And to ‘t they go like lightning, for, ere ICould draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain.And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.This is the truth, or let Benvolio die. Benvolio describing to the Prince the duel that just happened between Tybalt and Mercutio and Romeo Goes into this long speech that just tells us everything we just saw – seeing the process of event turning into narrative/story/myth, and when we see this process in action, we get the sense that this is myth. When you see this process occurring just after the event, it gives a greater sense of realism to the actual event.
CAPULETBut saying o’er what I have said before.My child is yet a stranger in the world.She hath not seen the change of fourteen years.Let two more summers wither in their prideEre we may think her ripe to be a bride. – Juliet’s extreme youth o Too young and dad wants to marry off –> Act 11 scene 2 line 6o Usually dad gives orders to daughter but he’s modern and says that she can agree on the match

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