Saturday, June 5, 2010

Romeo and Juliet: By Any Other Name

For my money, Romeo and Juliet is an incredibly entertaining play. Not a moment passes without brawling, marrying, killing or some ominous prelude to one of those big three – not, at least, until the Prince comes out at the end to say “Shame on all of you, and me for putting up with you. Look what we did to these poor, whiny teenagers!” I mean, let’s be honest about our protagonists: these two weren’t exactly “look on the bright side” kind of people. One of my favorite scenes sees Romeo sprawled out on the ground of Friar Lawrence’s sell, crying his eyes out about his banishment. Both the bawdy Nurse and the good Friar himself in turn effectively say to Romeo “Geez, man. Seriously? Man up already.” Juliet of course throws some major fits of her own, but she clearly gets that from her crazy dad - one minute she’s his only unswallowed hope, the next he’s ready to kick her out and have her “die in the streets” (3.5.204).