Prof. Leon Harold Craig writes: "Shakespeare is the poet of Nature, of human nature especially but necessarily also of the whole natural order in which we find ourselves."1
As part this breadth of vision, Shakespeare put what we today call romantic love on the tragic as well as the comic stage. Prof. Harry Levin in his influential essay "Form and Formality in Romeo and Juliet" speculates that Shakespeare's audience
would have been surprised, and possibly shocked, at seeing lovers taken so seriously. Legend, it had been heretofore taken for granted, was the proper matter for serious drama; romance was the stuff of the comic stage.2
Furthermore, as Allan Bloom has memorably noted:
Romeo and Juliet are the perfect pair of lovers. They are beautiful, they are young, they are noble, and they are rich. People get angry about lookism, ageism, elitism, and so on, but, when it comes to Romeo and Juliet, I find that outrage is disarmed, and most everybody becomes a partisan of these youngsters. With envy silenced, even the most sparingly endowed of us gets satisfaction from this love, thus proving that you do not have to make the world ugly in order to compensate us for its defects. Man naturally craves a perfection that he cannot attain. But at least part of that perfection consists in our capacity to conceive it.3
But how may a political teaching be derived from this love story? The consensus is completely to the contrary: toward characterizing Romeo and Juliet as a story of private bliss opposed to public order. "Normality is their foe," wrote Mark van Doren, "as it is at last their nemesis; the artificial night of Juliet's feigned death becomes the long night of common death in which no private planets shine."4 I respectfully suggest that this approach reflects a 19th century Romantic gloss that is alien to Shakespeare's world. Recall Arnaldo Momigliano's remark, quoted by Allan Bloom, that "if Shakespeare had only become dominant before the beginning of the nineteenth century, we would have been spared Rousseau."5 Elaborating, Bloom continues: "The Romantics had much to do with raising Shakespeare to the undisputed throne he now occupies, but their mediation tainted Shakespeare, and they were already themselves solidly established."6
In freeing ourselves from the Romantics, we need not forego reveling in this play's love poetry, for this is part of human nature, and it needed no Romantics to discover it. But if we so free ourselves, we will see things the Romantics and their successors miss.
Love and the polis in the plays surrounding Romeo and Juliet
To begin with, consider Romeo and Juliet in the context of the author's output during the mid-1590s, the generally-agreed-upon date for this play.7 He had recently finished a series of history plays the Henry VI trilogy about civil wars in England, and had embarked, or was about to, on another trilogy Richard II and the two Henry IV plays also about civil wars. He had completed a comedy, Love's Labor's Lost, and was soon to embark on another, A Midsummer Night's Dream, that both deal with love and the polis, and in both of these comedies, the conflict between love and polis is successfully resolved: in Love's Labors Lost, love is not what causes the King and his men to shirk their responsibilities of state: on the contrary, it is the very thing that punctures their silly "little academe,"8 in which they fancied they had transcended both love and politics. Love makes them better rulers, not worse.
In the Dream, the city threatens the lovers, who must (as also in As You Like It) take refuge in the forest, outside of politics. There, after some faux pas, their problems are solved for them by forces that are supernatural, but not non-political: as Titania points out, her quarrel with Oberon is not a purely private matter, but has had consequences in the realm over which she and Oberon have jurisdiction.9 The mortal lovers then return to Athens, where a grand reconciliation of love and the city is celebrated by the integration of the young lovers' wedding rites with those of the Duke and Duchess. So capacious is this love-polis reconciliation that it can even welcome the rustics and their play.
So both the histories and the comedies that Shakespeare was producing around the time he worked on Romeo and Juliet suggest a preoccupation with civic order or the lack thereof, and (in the comedies) with the constructive role of love in the polis.
Turning to the tragedies, we find that Romeo and Juliet is flanked by Titus Andronicus and Julius Caesar. These two Roman plays both depict cities plagued by disorder. So does Romeo and Juliet. How, if at all, do these Roman plays overlap with the concerns of Romeo?
In Titus, we see a world utterly without marital love, except that of Bassianus for Lavinia, and he is treacherously killed early in Act II. Thereafter Rome, like Lavinia, is helpless in the face of extreme violence. No solution is offered except for the violence to play itself out, devouring, if one may so put it, the principal perpetrators and victims alike.
As for Julius Caesar, it stands out as the most sex-free play in the canon. Only the noble Portia makes any references to marital love; while this scene adds depth to the character of Brutus (and that of Cassius, as a kinsman of Portia), and reminds us that there are noble wives in Rome, it does not influence events. Though the Roman historians took women far more seriously than did the Greeks,10 Julius Caesar shows us a man's world, in which the charismatic politics of Caesar and Antony clash with the somber republicanism of Brutus and Cassius, and the peace attained at the end is a shaky one at best. Julius Caesar is devoid of any suggestion that the family or spousal eros can either help or hurt.11
In between these two tragedies, one in which marital love is too rare to prevent mayhem, and one in which it is virtually absent, we find Romeo and Juliet, another story of civic disorder, and also, along with the Song of Songs, the most lyrical hymn to spousal love ever written. Here, love, far from being the mere retreat from politics that the Romantics would make it, points the way toward the political solution, though this solution will have to be reached not by way of comic resolution, but by way of the tragedy of sacrifice.
A republican prologue
The Prologue sets out the civic theme very clearly. It is in the form of a sonnet, and the first quatrain does not even mention love or lovers:
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.Prologue, 1-4
Listen to those themes: families and their dignity; a fair polis; civil unrest. Were it not for the naming of Verona, we might be in Athens during the fall of the Peisistrades, Rome during the struggle of the orders, or even the Rome of Titus Andronicus (where Tamora's brood may count as a household, if somewhat lacking in dignity). Shakespeare lays out the civil theme first.
Then we come to the second quatrain:
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.Prologue 5-8
Now the lovers are front-and-center, but so too is the theme of destiny. Despite the charge of melodrama sometimes made against this play, the suspense is removed from the very start: in the play's first open disagreement with Machiavelli, Fortuna is not a woman to be mastered, but an unappealable authority. Mortals cannot evade her decrees; they can only decide how they will act in light of them: either to keep up their ancient grudge and new mutinies, or to accept reconciliation. Thus the first tercet:
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage
Which but their children's end nought could remove Prologue 9-11
So we are told from the beginning what choice will be made: the parents' rage will be removed through the agency of their children's end. The Chorus as brought us back to where we started Verona's civil strife but with a foretaste of a redemptive ending. To judge from the Prologue, the strife and the end thereof are the center of the play, and the lovers' joys, woes, and death are ultimately meaningful as sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.
Allan Bloom argues in his essay on Romeo and Juliet that "[t]he family, which has its root in erotic necessities, is profoundly anti-erotic."12 The present essay, if it is anything, is a respectful disagreement with Bloom on this point. What the family in Verona needs is to be re-founded on the basis of spousal eros, and this is what Romeo and Juliet, all unawares, undertake. They appear to fail spectacularly; yet by the social dynamic of sacrifice, their "death-marked love" and their brief yet life-long marriage do in fact bring about a restored civic order.
The Matter of Verona
Shakespeare is a playwright of love, except, generally speaking, in his Roman plays, in which eros is not prominent. Antony and Cleopatra is perhaps the exception that proves the rule, since the eros it so movingly showcases is radically incompatible with the Roman polity. The Imperial Forum is not lovers' lane.
But Verona (home of the "Two Gentlemen," as well as the two famous lovers) is a mother of lovers and Romeo's and Juliet's Verona had a history as a republic.
Verona was one of the republics of medieval northern Italy, though it had periods of princely government, including the time of our story. It existed from Roman times. According to Prof. Daniel Waley, one of its earliest appearances in medieval sources tells of a dispute between secular and ecclesiastical authorities at about the time of Charlemagne, over "construction of walls and ditches."13 By the year 945 it appears to have had a functioning popular government, called (and this is a beautiful example of medieval Latin developing into Italian) the concio civium.14 In 1245, when Verona had between 20,000 and 25,000 inhabitants,15 a meeting of its city council drew 1,285 councillors.16
Significantly for us, given our interest in Veronese civil unrest and in the Della Scala family, Prof. Miller notes: "The free commune, weakened by factional infighting, fell under the sway of despots (first Ezzelino da Romano in 1232, then members of the local Della Scala family in 1259.)"17
Dante arrived in Verona as an exile during the brief reign of the Bartolomeo della Scala, the leading candidate for the historical person behind Shakespeare's Prince Escalus.18 If this identification is accurate, then the story of Romeo and Juliet, though still fictional, can be linked to a precise historical period, like all great historical fiction. In this case, that would be between 1301 and 1304, for that was the extent of Bartolomeo's reign.19 (Just think: if they hadn't been so pressed by events, Romeo and Juliet could have had lunch with Dante and asked him about love, while he sounded them out on aiding an expedition against the Black Guelphs of Florence!)
In Bartolomeo's time, writes R.W.B. Lewis, Verona contained "reminders that Verona, like Florence, was a 'daughter of Rome' most visibly the vast Roman amphitheater, the Arena, rivaling in bulk the Roman Colosseum and dominating the urban center and the river view."20 Under Bartolomeo's nephew, Can Grande, Verona knew another golden age, such that Prof. Lewis is inclined to solve the mystery of the benevolent "greyhound" of Inferno, Canto I, by identifying it with this prince, whose name means "big dog."21
Thus, Verona is not itself either Florence or Rome, but it contains thematic echoes of each, and it provided a home-in-exile for Dante, the first poet to sing with equal fervor about love and politics. It had both republican traditions and well-meaning princes. To this, all that needed to be added was the fact that the various authors who contributed to the Romeo and Juliet legend, for about two hundred years leading up the Shakespeare's time, after initially setting these tragic events in Siena, eventually decided on Verona,22 enlisting the names of long-past political factions as the names of the warring families.23 Verona was thus an ideal location for Shakespeare to explore love and the polis.
Romeo, the pilgrim
In section 40 of the Vita Nuova, Dante watches a band of pilgrims passing through Florence, and gives us something of a catalogue of the categories of pilgrims exist:
[I]t must be known that in three ways are properly called the those who journey in the service of the Most High: they are called palmers [palmieri] inasmuch as they go overseas, from where they often bring back palms; they are called pilgrims [peregrini] inasmuch as they go to the house in Galicia, because the sepulcher of St. James was farther from his homeland than that of any other apostle; they are called Romers [romei] inasmuch as they go to Rome, where these I call pilgrims were going.24
I have quoted from what appears to be the most literal translation of the Vita Nuova, that of Dino Cervigni and Edward Vasta. Let us also look, however, at the translation by Barbara Reynolds, collaborator of Dorothy Sayers. In her version, the last clause of the quoted sentence reads: "...and Romeos are those who go to Rome, which is where those whom I call pilgrims were going."25
The original, as I've noted, says "romei," of which the singular would ordinarily be "romeo."
I must keep Dante on the witness stand for another moment. He is, after all, our first source for the Capulet-Montague narrative tradition, in Canto VI of Purgatorio. And there is significance to the Canto VI "series": Canto VI of Inferno contains Dante's first full-bore polemic about the civic morals of Florence; Canto VI of Purgatorio, the canto that mentions the Capelletti and Montecchi, broadens the polemic to take in most of the major cities of northern Italy, Florence pointedly included; and Canto VI of Paradiso shows us the Dantean pinnacle of good government, Emperor Justinian. Most of this canto is taken up with a thematic history of Rome and it ends with a reference to one Romeo. Not our Romeo, indeed but here is what Dante has Justinian says about this other Romeo:
And in this very pearl there also shines
The light of Romeo, of one whose acts
Though great and noble, met ungratefulness.
And yet those Provençals who schemed against him
Had little chance to laugh, for he who finds
Harm to himself in others' righteous acts
Takes the wrong path. Of Raymond Berenger's
Four daughters, each became a queen and this,
Poor and a stranger, Romeo accomplished.
Then Berenger was moved by vicious tongues
To ask this just man for accounting one
Given ten, gave Romeo five and seven.
And Romeo, the poor, the old, departed;
And were the world to know the heart he had
While begging, crust by crust, for his life-bread,
It though it praise him now would praise him more.26
Any competent commentary27 I happen to be drawing this from Singleton will tell you that the Romeo of this canto was an historical figure who lived from 1170 to 1250. He was an advisor to Count Raymond Berengar IV of Provence. Legend made out that he came to the Count's court as a pilgrim on the return trip; Singleton suggests this legend is due to his name, citing us to Vita Nuova 40. His good service to Count Raymond and to Provence consisted above all in arranging splendid marriages for the Count's daughters. Later he fell from favor through malicious rumors, and departed into poverty.
Singleton quotes from Giovanni Villani's Chronicle, to this effect: "The Count would not that he depart; but, for nought that he could do would he remain; and, as he came so he departed, and no one knew whence he came or whither he went. But many held that he was a sainted soul."28 A pilgrim to the end, it would seem.
Thus, by Dante's time, we have not only a Capulet-Montague narrative tradition, but, separately, a Romeo narrative tradition, linked to the notions of pilgrimage and marriage, and located by Dante within his Canto VI series the canto in each cantico that deals with civic morality. So far we can venture this much about a Romeo: we know not where he comes from or where he is going, but when he's here, marriages occur, and the polity is benefited. But an ill-run polity (such as Raymond's Provence, where the envious nobles have too much power) will get rid of him. And a well-meaning but overly Machiavellian Prince will banish him.
Identifying our Romeo as a pilgrim is a thematic move with deep roots in the tradition from which Shakespeare drew. In the tale of Mariotto and Ganozza in Masuccio Salernitano's Novellino, it is in disguise as a pilgrim that Mariotto journeys back to fair Siena (where we lay our scene at this stage of the legend's development), believing Ganozza to be dead.29 (It is hard to date this element of the tradition, because we know little of Masuccio's biography: "Not even regarding the dates of his birth or of his death is there any certainty."30 However, he wrote some time after Boccaccio, and seems to have been widely considered that writer's greatest imitator.31)
Finally, of course, Romeo is a "pilgrim" throughout the play. It is under the verbal guise of a pilgrim that he approaches the "shrine" Juliet, I.v.92-95, and "good pilgrim" is the first thing Juliet ever calls him, I.v.96. He turns up in improbable places, which is what Juliet considers her family's orchard to be, at least for Romeo, II.ii.62-65. He is willing to change homes forever to be near his shrine, "forgetting any other home but this." II.ii.175. Friar Laurence is astounded at his amatory itinerary, even though this has now reached home, II.iii.61-76. He must be lit on his way to Mantua, III.v.12-15; he goes there, but comes back too hastily. Until the end he is always in statu viator. His nautical images reinforce the pilgrim images: from "the steerage of my course," I.iv.112,32 to
Thou desperate pilot now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy seasick weary bark.V.iii.117-118
But alas, a pilgrim, by himself, is not a foundation for the polis. He needs to be fixed within family and community. Though there have been many female pilgrims, there is something male about the pilgrim identity: wandering, curious, needing to see what's out there, and so forth. As George Gilder argues,33 civilization will happen only when the wandering male is brought within the imperium of the female. To this we now turn.
Juliet, the empress
If we attend closely to the Nurse's story in I.iii, it becomes clear that one day when Juliet was three years old, she fell down and bumped her head, and the next day, there was an earthquake.34 Not bad for a three-year old; what will she do when she's fourteen?
Juliet did not have that name at the beginning of the narrative tradition; Masuccio called her Ganozza.35 Nor did she get the name from Shakespeare: as with the name Romeo, DaPorto appears to have been decisive here.36 Do narrative traditions name their personages arbitrarily? It will be my working assumption that they do not.
We have already seen how Romeo's name links him through Dante, who did not know of him to an identification as a pilgrim, an identity that follows him throughout the tradition. Bear with me, then, while I point out that Juliet's name links her to Aeneas's son Ascanius, also called Iulus. Virgil more often uses the name Ascanius, but it was under the name of Iulus, later Iulius, that a family arose in Rome, claiming descent from Aeneas (and through him, from the goddess of love), and eventually founding an imperial dynasty that preserved to a large extent the form of the Republic.
Iulus is first mentioned in the Aeneid by Jupiter himself, when in Book I he promises to Venus good fortune for Aeneas's line:
But then the boy Ascanius, who now
Is carrying Iulus as his surname (while
The state of Ilium held fast, he still
Was known as Ilus), with his rule shall fill
The wheeling months of thirty mighty years.
He shall remove his kingdom from Lavinium
And, powerful, build Alba Longa's walls.37
Perhaps it is just coincidence that Iulus, step-son of Lavinia, carried out the transition from Lavinium to the community's second home at Alba Longa, and that Juliet is Shakespeare's second tragic heroine after Lavinia in Titus Andronicus. Even if it is, there are other points of connection between Aeneas's successor and Verona's gold-statued bride. In Book II, Aeneas receives the only encouraging omen he is to get until his arrival at Cumae:38
So did Creusa cry; her wailing filled
My father's house. But even then there comes
A sudden omen wonderful to tell:
Between the hands, before the faces of
His grieving parents, over Iulus's head
There leaps a lithe flametip that seems to shed
A radiance; the tongue of fire flickers,
Harmless, and plays about his soft hair, grazes
It is of interest to us that this omen of the flaming yet unharmed head befell the earliest namesake of her who "doth teach the torches to burn bright." (I.iv.157; I.v.43 in the Arden edition). Prof. Alvis remarks: "Aeneas should look to a future invested in Ascanius-Ilus-Iulus wherein he will discover compensation for Trojan losses."40 Compare Capulet's
Earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she;
She's the hopeful lady of my earth.I.ii.14-15
It seems to be a consistent feature of this Iulus archetype that the hopes of the future ride on it/him/her. These hopes may come to fruition, as in Virgil's idealized Roman history, or they may be tragically extinguished, to blossom in unexpected ways, as in Shakespeare's pacified Verona over which the statues of Romeo and Juliet keep watch.
Modern scholarship backs up the identification of the Julii with sound civic rule, if not literally with Ascanius. Ronald Syme in The Roman Revolution tells us that the Julii were in the 1st century BC "a patrician house newly arisen from long decay...."41 It rose, of course, to the point where Julius Caesar became not only leader of Rome but, for later ages, the symbol of civic order itself. In the last canto of Dante's Inferno, the three-fold mouth of Satan chews eternally on the bodies of the ultimate traitors to Church and State: Judas is the former, and the latter two are Brutus and Cassius.42 I for one have never thought that Dante is here expressing unbounded partisanship toward Caesar. If he were, then he would hardly have given an exalted place guardian of the holy mountain of Purgatory to Cato of Utica,43 who slew himself rather than submit to Caesar. Rather, Brutus and Cassius function in Inferno XXXIV as icons of disturbers of civic harmony what the Prince of Verona would call "rebellious subjects, enemies to peace." (I.i.77)
Another authority who identified Julius Caesar with the line of Iulus was Ovid in his Metamorphoses, in the translation by Arthus Golding, first published in 1567.44 Though the historical Juliet, if there were one, would not have had access to this document, Shakespeare assuredly did,45 and he has his Juliet quote from it47 almost as frequently as Gilbert & Sullivan's Rose Maybud quotes from her book of etiquette.48 (It would appear that while Romeo was studying Petrarch,48 Juliet was studying Ovid: I leave it to you which family was the better home-schooler!)
In the fifteenth and final book of the Metamorphoses as translated by Golding, we find the goddess Venus protesting to Jupiter over the imminent assassination of her lineal descendant, Julius Caesar. In Golding's version, she refers to Caesar as the last remnant of "Jule, the Trojans' race."49 That would be Jule, J-U-L-E, the exact pet-name that the Nurse's late husband uses for the three-year-old Juliet50 in three of the four quartos, including the authoritative Second Quarto, backed up by the First Folio in two of its three occurrences,51 and respected by practically every modern editor.
To sum up, a classical translation known to have been used not to say plundered by Shakespeare explicitly links Iulus to Julius Caear, and Shakespeare, through the vividly memorialized character of the Nurse's late husband, links both to his Juliet.
Nor is this the only point in the play where Metamorphoses XV, with its Julius Caesar narrative, makes a significant appearance. Juliet's great "Gallop apace" speech in Act III scene II, which in its earnest virginal eroticism so thoroughly puts to shame the obscene reductionism of Mercutio,52 leads up to a vision of her post-coital self admiring a brand-new constellation of Romeo:
...and when I die
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.III.ii.21-25
At this point, Brian Gibbons, editor of the Arden edition, points us to a rather interesting subtext.53 From Juliet's bedroom let us momentarily move to the Roman Senate house where Caesar has been killed and Venus means to assure his everlasting memory, in Golding's translation of the Metamorphoses, Book XV:
Amid the senate-house of Rome invisible did stand
And from her Caesar's body took his new expulsèd sprite,
The which she not permitting to resolve to air quite,
Did place it in the sky among the stars that glister bright.
And as she bare it, she did feel it gather heavenly might
And for to waxen fiery. She no sooner let it fly
But that, a goodly shining star, it up aloft did sty
And drew a great way after it bright beams like burning hair.
The girl who bears the name of the first Caesars and who made the very earth tremble when she hit it with her head finds herself adverting unconsciously, I assume to images of political rule even as she fantasizes about her wedding night. And indeed, unions such as Romeo and Juliet's, in which marriage is re-eroticized, should be the foundation of a renewed republic. It would renew Verona, if Verona would let it; Friar Lawrence is not mistaken about that. Of course, it doesn't happen that way, but this is the path to authentic political renewal.
One more little item of cultural history from the time during which the Romeo and Juliet narrative tradition was taking shape may help show that identification of Juliet's name with revived Roman civic piety was, so to speak, in the cultural air. Jacob Burckhardt tells us in his book on the Italian Renaissance that once in 1485, at a time when the citizens of Rome enjoyed recreating at their carnivals "the scene most attractive to the imagination of the time the triumph of the Roman Imperator[,]"55 a remarkable incident occurred:
[T]he corpse of a young Roman lady of the classical period wonderfully beautiful and in perfect preservation had been discovered.... The body had been coated with an antiseptic essence, and was as fresh and flexible as that of a girl of fifteen the hour after death. It was said that she still kept the colours of life, with eyes and mouth half open.56
Burckhardt's words almost make us think of:
Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon they beauty.
But I digress, because the real point is that, according to Burckhardt, the sarcophagus in which this beauty lay pronounced her to be the daughter of one Claudius, and her name Julia.57
"Enemies to peace"
Though of course they do not know it, the lovers' project is to re-found the family, and by so doing, to re-found the city.
The city needs the family, even while transcending it. Aristotle gives us the family-village-city progress in Book I of his Politics.58 He adds that the family that gives rise to the city is not a family in which women are the equivalent of slaves, but one in which the arrangement is somewhat closer to what we might today call companionate.
Aristotle writes: "The barbarians, though, have the same arrangement for female and slave.... This is why the poets say 'It is fitting for Greeks to rule over barbarians'...."59 Professor Saxonhouse notes the connection, for Aristotle, between failing to accord the female a dignity above the slave, and failing to maintain the sorts of families that lead to cities.60
Strife-torn Verona has families, of course, but they are the source of the strife, not its cure. Perhaps they are Aristotelian examples of families in which the women are too close to a slave-like condition. At any rate, the men of these families do not look very highly on their women. For Capulet, his wife is mainly a walking argument against early marriages ("And too soon marr'd are those so early made." I.2.13.61), and his daughter is above all an item of capital in the marriage market. For the roughnecks of both families, women get in the way of the serious business of brawling. For Gregory and Sampson, and no doubt for their Montague counterparts, they are objects of locker-room bragging. And the city is full of "mutinies."
In a Verona verging on a breakdown of civil order and a return to warlordism, Prince Escalus is a would-be virtuous ruler seeking to bring the patriarchs within the domain of justice and good order. In his first speech, he calls the warring clans "beasts" (I.i.79) Aristotelian code for the pre- or sub-political. They are also
Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbor-stained steel(I.i.77-78)
Rebellion, enmity, profanation virtually the whole gamut of civil and religious offenses. He goes on:
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
With purple fountains issuing from your veins(I.i.80-81)
reminding us that Titus Andronicus is not as far behind us as the tender poetry we await in the present play would lead us to think.61 In fact, if we were to think of the early tragedies as a continuous flow, it might seem that Titus is not even over until we are more than a hundred lines into Romeo and Juliet. Until the entrance of Benvolio (he who "wills the good"), we see nothing but banter about rape, followed by actual violence, with Tybalt ("...peace? I hate the word/As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee" I.i.66-67) sounding more like Aaron the Moor than like anyone in a love story.
The Prince knows that chaos of Andronican proportions is simmering in Verona, and he had better clamp a princely lid on it. He emphasizes the needs and interests of the peaceful Veronese who are not part of either clan. Later, of course, Mercutio, with his famous "plague on both your houses" (III.i.91 and 106), will emerge as a vintage member of this class; but at present, the Prince's focus is not on his own kinsman (perhaps because such a focus would replicate the very clannishness he is rebuking), but on "Verona's ancient citizens," the Cacciaguidas, if you will, who, if we aren't careful, will speak of these as Verona's dark days in some future Divine Comedy.
So the Prince summons all to judgment later that day at a place he designates as "old Freetown, our common judgment place." (I.i.100) "Freetown" may be nothing more than a translation of Villa Franca, the name given to one of Capulet's properties in some of the sources, and here reassigned to the Prince; but the phrase as a whole suggests once-vibrant republican institutions.62 The Prince is forming a coalition between his personal authority and that of Verona's old institutions, against recrudescent tribalism. He is, in effect, proposing himself as Consul in a revived republic where the family is neither abolished nor absolutely sovereign, but integrated into a constitution according to justice.
But in his second appearance, the Prince shows that he has embraced Machiavelli, especially Chapter XVII of The Prince.... Though he cannot quarrel with the justice of Montague's remark that Romeo's "fault concludes but what the law should end,/The life of Tybalt" (III.i.187-188), he declares that "Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill" (III.i.199) and banishes Romeo. Many observers, like Friar Laurence at III.iii.24-28 and 138-139, stress the leniency of this penalty, when the Prince had earlier decreed death for inter-familial brawlers (I.i.94-95). But Romeo is the classic first offender of heretofore unblemished reputation ("And to say truth, Verona brags of him/To be a virtuous and well-govern'd youth," I.v.67). Whatever we may think, the Prince appears to think he's being a good Machiavellian, and that this course will restore order to Verona.
But it won't, because Verona's problem is more than just the presence of a few hotheads. Its problem is that the family, which should be the seedbed of love and civic virtue, has become the seedbed of hate and civil bloodshed. In Verona, the family needs to be refounded. And to refound the family, we have to go back to its origins: not the point where two patriarchs betrothe their children to each other for the economic and social advantage of all (though we need not doubt that many decent families have begun this way), but to the point where man first looked on woman and said "This at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh...."64
"An old-accustom'd feast"
In Shakespeare's Verona, this refounding moment takes place within a setting that is rich in tradition, and then moves to a setting that is older than tradition, that of a garden.
The traditional setting is Capulet's feast. Two different characters, representing each of the quarreling houses, and speaking to different listeners, stress this aspect. Capulet himself calls it "an old-accustom'd feast" (I.ii.20), and Benvolio calls it an "ancient feast" (I.ii.84). Its rituals are ancient: the "pattern of courtship," Harry Levin notes, is "formally embodied in a dance."65
To be sure, Romeo does not take part in the dancing; in fact it is by this distinction that Juliet is able to identify him when asking the Nurse to find out who he is (I.v.131). In the previous scene, on the way to the ball, he had consciously chosen the role of torch-bearer. Both the Oxford and Arden annotations at I.iv.11 (Romeo: "Give me a torch, I am not for this ambling. Being but heavy I will bear the light.") note that those who bore the torches at dances did not themselves dance; and given Romeo's reasons for choosing this role "Under love's heavy burden do I sink," I.iv.22), it is impossible not to think of the modern sense of "carrying the torch."
Because of all this baggage carried by the word "torch," it could not be more fitting that his first words describing Juliet are, "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright." He does not join the literal dancing, but he joins the dance of life.
Up to that point he had not been in that dance at all. Here is the point at which we ask: why Rosaline? Denis de Rougemont, in his fascinating book Love in the Western World, while taking a very different view of Romeo and Juliet than I do, offers an on-point analysis of the earlier Courtly Love tradition (from which I, though not de Rougemont, view Romeo and Juliet as a salutary departure).
Using the Tristan legend, from the Middle Ages to Richard Wagner, as his prime example, de Rougemont sketches a form of love in which neither "lover" nor "beloved" particularly care for each other. If this sounds outrageous, go read de Rougemont and look at all the examples he draws from the Tristan stories. These lovers not only encounter obstacles: they create them when they do not already exist; not out of legitimate anger, like Romeo in the brawl scene, but because being thwarted allows them to worship Love without having to put up with each other. Tristan and Isolde are not in love with each other, but with Love. This type of love is not life-giving, but death-worshipping: the "eternal night" and "Liebestod" imagery of Wagner's opera turn out not to be a 19th century, Schopenhauerian innovation, but part of the essence of the Tristan myth, and much else in the literature of Courtly Love.66
And there but for the grace of God goes Romeo. How often do we notice how little he really cares about Rosaline, even when he is supposedly in love with her? We never even hear him mention her name, apart from reading it off Capulet's guest list (I.ii.70), until well after he has ceased even to think about her. Presumably he does mention it somewhere in the off-stage phase of his conversation with Benvolio, between the end of I.i. and their reentrance in the next scene, but not where we can hear it. Yet Romeo's indifference to her identity does not keep from expanding on her resolute and, to him, regrettable chastity (I.i.206-222). I don't mean that Romeo, even in his Rosaline phase, is the sort of man to whom a woman's name is the least important thing about her, but as the play opens he is tending ominously in that direction, rather than in the direction of love as gift of self the latter being a Pope John Paul II expression to which I will return.
In contrast to this remarkable lack of interest in Rosaline's subjectivity in whom she, personally, is note the very first words that Romeo says about Juliet. Not "she doth teach the torches to burn bright" (I.v.43) that's his first description of her; but his first words about her are addressed to a passing servant, and they are: "What lady's that which doth enrich the hand/Of yonder knight?" (I.v.41-42) In other words who is she?
When they meet, in the glorious "If I profane..." duet (I.v.92-109) the formality is intense not at the expense of the underlying feeling, but heightening it precisely by channeling it. Far from being a pair of misunderstood rebels, they show themselves to be pious children of their Catholic culture and Italian literary tradition, assuming the personae of pilgrim and shrine, and exchanging courteous phrases that add up to a sonnet.
In the words of Jill Levenson, editor of the Oxford Shakespeare edition, they "share verse as sensitive children might share a game...."67 Indeed, they are children, they are sensitive, and they are sharing a game, which means they are sharing something that has rules something that gives joy because it has rules.
By contrast, under the regime of Rosaline, Romeo linked love with chaos: "Love is a smoke made with fume of sighs" (I.i.188). Even the just-ended brawl, in which real people probably sustained real wounds, strikes him as a metaphor for his own emotional state:
Here's much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,
O anything of nothing first create!I.i.173-175
But now, the smoke has cleared, order reigns (the sonnet form, the hierarchy of shrine and pilgrim), and Romeo, far from the egotism that makes others' physical woes mere metaphors for one's own emotional ones, is concerned that he may "profane with my unworthiest hand/This holy shrine...." (I.v.92-93)
When they separately discover that they have fallen in love across the feud-line, Romeo reacts with legal language: "My life is my foe's debt." I.v.117. Approaching the feast earlier in the evening, he had said, again in legal language, that "Some consequence yet hanging in the stars" would soon begin the running of a "term" that will "expire" and will have to be paid with his "despised life." Now he knows what that consequence is: the foeman's house now has power of life or death over him (either by their refusing him Juliet, or, as is still imaginable for him, Juliet refusing herself).
Juliet's reaction is more Roman, more political. Later on Romeo will acknowledge that Juliet is better than he is at putting their experience into words;68 here she does so by calling what has just happened a "Prodigious birth of love." "Prodigious," of course, is no synonym for "lovely" or "intense"; it is something closer to the old sense of "terrific," that is, inspiring terror. The couplet as a whole makes this clear:
Prodigious birth of love it is to me
That I must love a loathed enemy.I.v.139-140
But even without this clarification of "prodigious," we, as Shakespeare readers, would already know what a "prodigy" is from Julius Caesar, for example, where Casca describes to Cicero numerous horrible and unnatural sights seen in the streets during the storm on the night before Caesar's assassination, and calls them "prodigies."69 They are "portentous things,"70 he declares. Some consequence to the state is implied whenever there is a "prodigious birth."
Thy purpose marriage
I've said that the Capulet ball is the locus of tradition, ancient usage, and the "accustom'd feast" that provides a growth medium for the love that could refound the family and save Verona. The other locus and growth medium, the one older than tradition, is a garden. We are accustomed to speaking of the "Balcony Scene"; modern editors seem inclined to call it the "Orchard Scene"; Benvolio sets the scene verbally by noting that Romeo "ran this way and leapt this orchard wall." (II.i.4) But the orchard is a garden, like the place where the first man rejoiced to find at least one like himself.71
As A. Bartlett Giamatti wrote at the outset of The Earthly Paradise and the Renaissance Epic: "The place of perfect repose and inner harmony is always remembered as a garden."72 Even more helpfully, for our purposes, Giamatti continues: "The word 'paradise' derives from the Old Persian word pairidaiëza formed on pairi (around) and diz (to mould, to form) which meant the royal park, enclosure, or orchard of the Persian king."73 From Persia, the word found its way into Hebrew as pardes,74 the word used in the Song of Songs: "A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse."75 In its Greek for paradeisos, it turns up in Homer's and Hesiod's descriptions of the land of the blessed and the golden age.76
We're down to cultural source-code here. Romeo acknowledges as much, when he says, entering the orchard, "Turn back, dull earth, and find thy center out." (II.i.2) He senses he is heading toward some central point in or on the earth, the earth that, Friar Laurence tells us in the next scene, is both "nature's mother" and "her tomb." (II.iii.5) We are at the earthly paradise, the garden, where the human family began, and where it can, in principle, be re-founded.
One cannot really write about the Orchard Scene. Better to do what, as I read him, Harold Bloom does: just quote it and kneel.77 But I want to try to show how the project of re-founding the family goes forward in this new Garden.
In the course of this scene, Juliet carries out the duties assigned to woman under what has come to be known as the Gilder Theory. Briefly, this theory, associated with social theorists such as George Gilder and Maggie Gallagher, has it that men are naturally wild and coarse, that civilization arises only when male wildness is brought under the benevolent curb of woman, and that it lasts only as long as this domestication of the undomesticated male continues in force. Verona, obviously, is full of undomesticated males; both Mercutio's obscenity and Tybalt's violence exemplify it. The Prince can get as tough as he likes; the situation will never improve while this situation continues.
At first, Romeo's rhetoric, and perhaps his heart, are still influenced by the sexually predatory male instinct. Re Rosaline, back in Act I, Romeo regretted that
...she'll not be hit
With Cupid's arrow, she hath Dian's wit,
And in strong proof of chastity well arm'dI.i.206-208
...and so forth. Now in Act II, he calls his beloved "lady," which he never did during Rosaline's incumbency, so there's some improvement there. However, likening Juliet to a votaress of the moon, that is, of Diana, goddess of chastity, he says:
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.II.ii.8-9
Only the good die young, right? Nothing will keep him from moving in that direction, except, of course, Juliet.
Her position for pulling on the reins is undermined by what Romeo has overheard. When she remarks "farewell, compliment," I suggest she is not so much expressing contempt for "compliment" as sizing up her situation realistically, and implementing plan B, which starts with the remarkably brash question, "Dost thou love me?" II.ii.90.
In many productions, including Zeffirelli's film, Romeo at first thinks this as an unexpected chance to re-take the initiative but Juliet is not, in fact, of a mind to yield the balance of her time to the right honorable gentleman. Instead she retains the floor, with a view to testing whether this is, in fact, a right honorable gentleman. Whatever she may tell her mother about marriage being far from her thoughts, she now reveals that she has been studying what she needs to know about male behavior:
...Yet, if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false. At lovers' perjuries,
They say, Jove laughs.II.ii.91-93
It appears this avid Ovid-quoter has been studying not only the Metamorphoses,78 but the Ars Amatoria as well, since she is now quoting from Book I line 633 of that work.79
For herself, she needs no artificial reticence to be certain that she will be true once she has committed herself
But trust me, gentle man, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.II.ii.100-101
but how is Romeo to prove himself? One way might be to swear, to take an oath. He starts out swearing by the moon, lines 106-108, despite his earlier deprecation of it at lines 4-9, but Juliet demurs, because the moon is constantly changing. She then lets her feelings draw her almost to blasphemy, as she suggests that Romeo, the "god" of her "idolatry," line 114, swear by himself alone, which is a prerogative of God.80 She then decides against the whole swearing project: despite Romeo's earnest beginning "If my heart's dear love " (line 115) she cuts him off and tries another tack: caution, and just a touch of the reticence that she had apparently foresworn earlier:
...Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract tonight:
It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden,
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say 'It lightens.'II.ii.116-120
Besides having all too much truth in it, and besides reflecting her probable real thoughts, we can easily imagine that this speech serves still another function making Romeo a little apprehensive, a little doubtful that this love has a future despite its apparent mutuality. He must be only partly reassured by her next few lines, about "when next we meet" (line 122). He thought he was carrying all before him, and now here she is, apparently proposing the long courtship to which she had earlier said a blithe "farewell."
Now comes the part that is usually ruined in performance by audience laughter. What is objectionable about such laughter is that it is rooted in the assumption that we post-industrial sexual sophisticates that we are know so much more than these children, when in fact, as I am trying to show, we know so much less.
There are various ways in which Romeo could pass the test the Juliet is giving him. One would be to accept her good-night, go away, and commence a long (and necessarily surreptitious) courtship. His first line in the next exchange does not suggest he is going to pass:
Romeo: O wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
Juliet: What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?II.ii.125-126
Usually, if audiences don't crack up at the first line, they're rolling in the aisles at the second. But Juliet isn't laughing. She knows perfectly well what satisfaction he could have, or aim to have, tonight, if he were that kind of a young man. For her at this point, no less than for Cassius, "The storm is up, and all is on the hazard."81
She wins. Whether the line is delivered quickly, to suggest that Romeo is in haste to allay any unworthy suspicions Juliet may have, or only after a pause, to suggest that Romeo is sorely tempted to justify those suspicions, he passes the test: the "satisfaction" that he asks for is not a roll in the hay but "Th'exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine" (line 127).
This generous reply passing the test, and justifying Juliet's repeated use of "gentleman" and "gentle man" throughout the scene draws forth from Juliet a responsive declaration beyond anything she has said so far:
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.
These words scramble all economic calculation. There is implicit in them a very gentle rebuke to Romeo, because earlier in the scene he had used the rhetoric of economic valuation, albeit in a courteous way.
I am no pilot, yet wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea,
I should adventure for such merchandise.II.ii.82-84
High praise, to be sure, and full of Romeo's now-familiar pilgrim-sailor imagery, but still "merchandise"? Romeo enters the orchard valuing Juliet extremely highly; before he leaves it, she teaches him that love is a gift of self, completely off of any scale that can weigh merchandise.
Exchanges of merchandise and/or money make both parties better off than they were before, but this is in part because each gives as little as he can bargain for. That's the rule of the market, and in the market it belongs not in the orchard. Without the family based on spousal eros, the market turns into the war of all against all. Against Machiavelli, Hobbes, and their heirs, Juliet affirms that we are not calculating beings all the way down. Her ecstasy attacks the foundations of modern political philosophy.
Not only Machiavelli and Hobbes Juliet also goes up against eloquent opposition spokesmen elsewhere in this play and elsewhere in Shakespeare. Harold Bloom, citing Mercutio's obscene rant just before the Orchard Scene, delivers the verdict that for Mercutio, "love is an open arse and a poperin pear."82 Or the Nurse, who through the first two acts seems to be the handmatron of true love, but turns out to have more in common with the hold-door trade.83 Or Iago: "It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will."84
Against these arises what Harold Bloom calls "the erotic greatness of Juliet and the heroic effort of Romeo to approximate her sublime state of being in love."85 What he calls heroic approximation, I have called passing the test: Romeo has successfully sublimated his naturally masculine, short-term erotic horizon to Juliet's naturally feminine, long-term one a "bounty...as boundless as the sea." The long-term feminine erotic horizon is implicitly pro-natalist: the words "the more I give to thee/The more I have" come true rather literally in childbearing. Though of course Romeo and Juliet don't live long enough to become parents, the horizon of parenthood is implicit in some of their especially Juliet's love-rhetoric.
I wouldn't claim that Romeo understands all this or even that Juliet does, necessarily but he clearly understands that some great hurdle was overcome when he gave that answer about exchanging faithful vows. Left momentarily alone, he exclaims:
...I am afeard,
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering sweet to be substantial.II.ii.139-141
Yes, "dreamers often lie," I.iv.51, as Mercutio would have it86 but some dreams are true. Which ones? Remember the remark of Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream, demurring from Theseus's dull skepticism about "the lunatic, the lover, and the poet"87:
But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images,
And grows to something of great constancy,
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.88
Hippolyta's teaching is that the test of truth in dreams is mutuality: if a dream transcends the individual dreamer, it may be a "true" dream, or not a dream at all. Such is that which Romeo now fears is a dream: it is something that is able to grow to great constancy, by which Hippolyta may mean consistency, but which also means fidelity the very thing Juliet has been testing Romeo for.
1 Leon Harold Craig, Of Philosophers and Kings: Political Philosophy in Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001, p. 7. href="#footnote1return">(Return)
5 Ibid., p. 269. href="#footnote5return">(Return)
6 Ibid. href="#footnote6return">(Return)
8 Love's Labors Lost, I.i.13. href="#footnote8return">(Return)
9 See A Midsummer Night's Dream, II.i.84-119. href="#footnote9return">(Return)
10 Arlene Saxonhouse, Woman in the History of Political Thought, Westport: Praeger, 1985, pp. 104-124. href="#footnote10return">(Return)
11 See, however, G. Wilson Knight, The Imperial Theme: Further Interpretations of Shakespeare's Tragedies Inlcuding the Roman Plays, New York: Methuen [date not visible], ch. 3, "The Eroticism of Julius Caesar." This is a political eroticism, not a spousal eroticism with political implications. href="#footnote11return">(Return)
12 Bloom, op. cit., p. 276. href="#footnote12return">(Return)
14 Ibid. href="#footnote14return">(Return)
15 Maureen C. Miller, The Formation of a Medieval Church: Ecclesiastical Change in Verona, 950-1150, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999, p. 7. href="#footnote15return">(Return)
16 Waley, op.cit., p. 62. href="#footnote16return">(Return)
17 Miller, op.cit., p. 7, n. 12. href="#footnote17return">(Return)
18 So named only in the dramatis personae and in the stage direction after I.1.78. William Painter, the prose translator of the French adaptation of Bandello's version of the story (see Olin H. Moore, The Legend of Romeo and Juliet, Columbus: Ohio Univ. Press, 1950, pp. 87, 95), calls the Prince "Lord Bartholomew of Escala." See annotation at I.i.78 in the Arden edition (p. 86), where editor Brian Gibbons adds: "In fact Bartolommeo della Scala ruled Verona in the period in which Luigi da Porto and Bandello set the story of Romeo and Juliet." href="#footnote18return">(Return)
20 R.W.B. Lewis, op. cit., p. 87. href="#footnote20return">(Return)
21 Dante, Inferno, I.101; R.W.B. Lewis, op. cit., p. 131. Accord Robert and Jean Hollander, Inferno: a Verse Translation, note to I.100-105 (p. 21). href="#footnote21return">(Return)
22 Olin H. Moore, The Legend of Romeo and Juliet, Columbus: Ohio State Univ. Press, 1950, chs. V and VI. href="#footnote22return">(Return)
23 Ibid., ch. 1. href="#footnote23return">(Return)
24 Dante, Vita Nuova, tr. Cervigni & Vasta, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995, 40:7-8, p. 141. href="#footnote24return">(Return)
25 Dante, La Vita Nuova, tr. Reynolds, New York: Penguin Books, 1969, Section XL, p. 97. href="#footnote25return">(Return)
26 Dante, Paradiso, VI 127-142, tr. Allen Mandelbaum, New York: Bantam Books, 1986, p. 55. href="#footnote26return">(Return)
27 Dante, The Divine Comedy, tr. & comm.. Charles Singleton, Paradiso 2: Commentary, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975, p. 127. href="#footnote27return">(Return)
28 Ibid. href="#footnote28return">(Return)
29 Olin H. Moore, op. cit., p. 36. href="#footnote29return">(Return)
30 Ibid. p. 37. href="#footnote30return">(Return)
31 Ibid. p. 38. href="#footnote31return">(Return)
32 The image in line 112 is nautical even if one goes with Q2'a "suit" in line 113, as both the Arden and Oxford editions do, rather than Q1's "sail," preferred by many editors and used by Zeffirelli. href="#footnote32return">(Return)
34 Juliet was weaned on the day of the earthquake, eleven years earlier. I.iii.23-25. It was "even the day before" that she "broke her brow," I.iii.38. The day before what? Presumably, the day before she was weaned, which would be the day before the earthquake. Why the Nurse would choose to wean Juliet while the child was still recovering from a head injury, I really couldn't say. Nor do I vouch for the accuracy of the Nurse's memory, but I note that neither Juliet nor Lady Capulet finds fault with it. href="#footnote34return">(Return)
35 Olin H. Moore, The Legend of Romeo and Juliet, Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1950, p. 35. href="#footnote35return">(Return)
36 Ibid., p. 43. href="#footnote36return">(Return)
37 Aeneid, I 267-271, tr. Mandelbaum. href="#footnote37return">(Return)
38 On the significance of this omen in the plan of the Aeneid, see John Alvis, Divine Purpose and Heroic Response in Homer and Virgil, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1995, p. 184. href="#footnote38return">(Return)
39 Virgil, Aeneid, II 679-687 (tr. Allen Mandelbaum; lines 920-928 in his text) href="#footnote39return">(Return)
40 Alvis, op. cit., p. 184. href="#footnote40return">(Return)
41 Ronald Syme, The Roman Revolution, New York: Oxford University Press, 1939, repr. 1983, p. 25. href="#footnote41return">(Return)
42 Dante, Inferno XXXIV 64-67. href="#footnote42return">(Return)
43 Dante, Purgatorio I and II passim. href="#footnote43return">(Return)
44 Madelein Forey, Introduction to Ovid's Metamorphoses, tr. Arthur Golding, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, p.xii. href="#footnote44return">(Return)
45 Ibid. href="#footnote45return">(Return)
46 See Juliet's words at II.v.9, paraphrasing the Ovid-Golding Metamorphoses (hereinafter Metam.)at II.64-86; III.ii.2, quoting "wagoner" in connection with Phaeton from Metam. II.394; III.2.1, quoting "fiery-footed" from Metam. II.491; and III.ii.3-4, reflecting Ovid's Phaeton narrative in Book II as a whole. For her reference to Metam. XV.949-956, see infra note __ and accompanying text. href="#footnote46return">(Return)
47 Gilbert and Sullivan, Ruddigore, in The Complete Gilbert & Sullivan... href="#footnote47return">(Return)
48 As Mercutio thinks, perhaps anachronistically: II.iii.40. href="#footnote48return">(Return)
49 Ovid-Golding, op. cit., XV.862. href="#footnote49return">(Return)
50 I.iii.43, 47, and 57. href="#footnote50return">(Return)
51 See the apparatus criticus in the Arden edition, p. 102. At line 43, the Second, Third, and Fourth Quartos and the First Folio all say "Jule." Only the First Quarto, usually considered one of the "bad" ones, says "Juliet" at this point. At line 47, F1 switches to "Julet," dropping the "i," Q1 sticks with "Juliet"; the rest of the Quartos adhere to the Nurse's husband's jocularity and stick with "Jule." At line 57, F1 is back in the "Jule" fold, leaving the Bad Quarto isolated in insisting on "Juliet." href="#footnote51return">(Return)
52 Is this perhaps the reason why it is given only after Mercutio (unbeknownst to Juliet) is dead? See Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: the Invention of the Human, New York: Riverhead Books, 1998, p. 92 ("Mercutio, endlessly obscene, is not qualified to darken Juliet's intimations of ecstasy.") href="#footnote52return">(Return)
53 I owe thanks both to Gibbons, for the cite, and to Jill Levenson, editor of the Oxford Shakespeare edition, for citing to Gibbons. href="#footnote53return">(Return)
54 Ovid/Golding, op.cit., XV.949-955. href="#footnote54return">(Return)
56 Ibid., p. 112. href="#footnote56return">(Return)
57 Ibid. href="#footnote57return">(Return)
59 Ibid, at 1252b1; Lord, p. 36. href="#footnote59return">(Return)
60 See Arlene Saxonhouse, Women in the History of Political Thought, Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1985, p. 77. href="#footnote60return">(Return)
61 The interpretation of this line as applied to Lady Capulet is, of course, debatable. Zeffirelli has Capulet glance sidelong at his wife at this point. href="#footnote61return">(Return)
62 Brian Gibbons in the Arden edition (p. 86) compares these words of the Prince with Titus, II.iv.22-4, the scene where Marcus Andronicus discovers the mutilated Lavinia: "Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,/Like to a bubbling fountain stirr'd with wind,/Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips." href="#footnote62return">(Return)
63 Prof. Levenson, in the Oxford Shakespeare edition, notes two appearances of "Freetown" in Arthur Brooke's poem Romeus and Juliet, and adds: "Whatever its source, Prince Escalus's description of old Freetown supports the impression created by his speech of long-established peoples and institutions." The Oxford Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet, p. 151. href="#footnote63return">(Return)
65 Harry Levin, "Form and Formality in Romeo and Juliet," in idem., Shakespeare and the Revolution of the Times, New York: Oxford University Press, 1976, p. 109. href="#footnote65return">(Return)
67 Jill Levenson, Introduction, The Oxford Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet, p. 27. href="#footnote67return">(Return)
68 "...and that thy skill be more/To blazon it...." II.vi.25-26. href="#footnote68return">(Return)
69 Julius Caesar, I.iii.15-32 (Oxford Shakespeare edition); "prodigies" is at line 29. href="#footnote69return">(Return)
70 Ibid., line 31. href="#footnote70return">(Return)
71 Genesis 2:23. Gethsemane, too, was a garden, and so was the location of the Sepulchre; see John 19:41 and 20:15. See also G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, New York: Doubleday Image, 1925, repr. 1955, p. 217 : "...and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn." href="#footnote71return">(Return)
73 Ibid. (boldface added) href="#footnote73return">(Return)
74 Ibid. href="#footnote74return">(Return)
75 Song of Songs 4:12href="#footnote75return">(Return)
76 Giamatti, op.cit., pp. 12-26. href="#footnote76return">(Return)
77 Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: the Invention of the Human, New York: Riverhead Books, 1998, pp. 90-91. href="#footnote77return">(Return)
78 See supra note __ and accompanying text. href="#footnote78return">(Return)
79 According to Gibbons, Arden edition, p. 131. href="#footnote79return">(Return)
80 Hebrews 6:13. Levenson points this out: Oxford Shakespeare edition, p. 214. href="#footnote80return">(Return)
81 Julius Caesar, V.i.68 (Oxford Shakespeare edition). A few lines later he laments that he is "compelled to set/Upon one battle all our liberties." V.i.75-76. href="#footnote81return">(Return)
82 Harold Bloom, op. cit., p. 97, citing II.i.34-38. href="#footnote82return">(Return)
83 Her remark at II.v.76 "I am the drudge, and must toil in your delight" which sounds innocent enough in context, takes on a decidedly sinister cast when she later volunteers to do essentially the same in re Paris (minus, one presumes, the rope-ladder). One wants to ask, did she think of herself as Juliet's bawd all along, or only after Romeo's banishment? "Your first is dead, or 'twere as good he were/As living here and you no use of him." III.v.224-225 (emphasis added). href="#footnote83return">(Return)
84 Othello, I.iii.358-359 (Yale Shakespeare edition) href="#footnote84return">(Return)
85 Harold Bloom, op. cit., p. 89. href="#footnote85return">(Return)
86 In fact, Mercutio implies that Queen Mab is the author of true dreams. He launches into the Queen Mab speech not when Romeo says "I dreamt a dream tonight," I.iv.50, but when Romeo insists that sometimes dreamers "do dream things true." I.iv.52. href="#footnote86return">(Return)
87 A Midsummer Night's Dream, V.i.7 (Yale Shakespeare edition) href="#footnote87return">(Return)
88 Ibid., V.i.23-27 href="#footnote88return">(Return)