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ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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ROMEO & JULIET: Act I (Wk. of 5/3/10; no spoilers, please!)

We may have discussed Romeo & Juliet in the club before, but this is a perennial favorite among Shakespeare's tragedies, of course.

 

In this thread, please feel free to talk about passages, plot, characters, lines, etc. from Act I, but please also avoid talking about future plot points from beyond Act I.  There are still always new readers of Shakespeare out there who may be reading the play for the very first time!

~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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friery
Posts: 209
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: ROMEO & JULIET: Act I (But Shakespeare Himself Uses Spoilers!)

It's really delightful that Shakespeare starts this play with a sonnet.  However, the Bard himself includes big-time spoilers in his sonnet.

 

He tells us that there has been bad blood and uncivil behavior between two aristocratic families.  And that the issue of the two families--two star-crossed lovers--will take their own lives.  And that these deaths will bring an end to the families' blood feud.

 

What's left to tell?  Oh, yeah, the play in which all this unfolds will take exactly two hours.  (Plus, the couplet that ends the sonnet says, if we forgot to tell you any of the details of the story in the last 14 lines, pay attention for the next two hours, and we'll seek to fill you in on the details.)

 

That's cheeky conduct indeed by the greatest playwright our language has even known.

Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: ROMEO & JULIET: Act I (But Shakespeare Himself Uses Spoilers!)

friery wrote:

It's really delightful that Shakespeare starts this play with a sonnet.  However, the Bard himself includes big-time spoilers in his sonnet.

 

He tells us that there has been bad blood and uncivil behavior between two aristocratic families.  And that the issue of the two families--two star-crossed lovers--will take their own lives.  And that these deaths will bring an end to the families' blood feud.

 

What's left to tell?  Oh, yeah, the play in which all this unfolds will take exactly two hours.  (Plus, the couplet that ends the sonnet says, if we forgot to tell you any of the details of the story in the last 14 lines, pay attention for the next two hours, and we'll seek to fill you in on the details.)

 

That's cheeky conduct indeed by the greatest playwright our language has even known.

 

Well, I wonder if readers/audiences don't pick up on all that the first time around? 

 

I'm wondering if any first-time readers see Romeo as a bit of a whiner?  Ha.

~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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friery
Posts: 209
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: ROMEO & JULIET: Act I

[ Edited ]
ConnieK wrote:

friery wrote:

It's really delightful that Shakespeare starts this play with a sonnet.  However, the Bard himself includes big-time spoilers in his sonnet.

 

He tells us that there has been bad blood and uncivil behavior between two aristocratic families.  And that the issue of the two families--two star-crossed lovers--will take their own lives.  And that these deaths will bring an end to the families' blood feud.

 

What's left to tell?  Oh, yeah, the play in which all this unfolds will take exactly two hours.  (Plus, the couplet that ends the sonnet says, if we forgot to tell you any of the details of the story in the last 14 lines, pay attention for the next two hours, and we'll seek to fill you in on the details.)

 

That's cheeky conduct indeed by the greatest playwright our language has even known.

 

Well, I wonder if readers/audiences don't pick up on all that the first time around? 

 

I'm wondering if any first-time readers see Romeo as a bit of a whiner?  Ha.

 

ConnieK!  I hope you're not saying, SHHHH!  Keep quiet about the sonnet that opens the play, and maybe our newer readers won't notice the spoilers. Yikes.

 

Anyhow, about Romeo.  I always thought of him as a kind of Hamlet Light.  He's basically mopey and annoying.  Maybe that's to give some contrast to the character of Juliet, who basically takes charge of the relationship once it happens.  (Oops, that's a spoiler.)

 

Anyhow, about the first act overall.  Someone once said that all of Shakespeare's plays are about families, and that's absolutely true about R & J.  The opening sonnet is about parents and children. The young hot-blooded sons start the play off.  (Note, however, that Benvolio plays the peacemaker. Let's see where that gets him.)   The wives act as the voice of reason--ignored, unfortunately.  The fathers of the families, doddering though they may be, are also ready to take up swords.  But it's the Prince who acts as the firm father figure.  (He basically says, "Don't make me stop this car!"  However, it's actually the death sentence that he threatens the families with.)

 

A side note--is anyone else creeped out at the beginning of scene 2, when Capulet says that Juliet is not yet 14, and Paris says "Younger than she are happy mothers made."?  (It's reiterated in act 1, scene 2, when Lady Capulet says that younger Veronese women have already been made mothers.)

 

A question--when Romeo reads the letter borne by the servingman in scene 2, it indicates that there is a Capulet by the name of Rosaline.  That's the name of the young woman Romeo is moping about at the beginning of the play.  So, does he have a thing for Capulet women?  (If so, he's not star-crossed.  He's just dense.)

 

The play suddenly gets darker and grittier when Mercutio recites his story about Queen Mab in scene 4.

 

Notice how quickly Romeo forgets about Rosaline when he first sees Juliet at the gala?  He's really fickle: "I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."

 

Notice that R & J's lines before they first kiss are actually a sonnet?  And the imagery is mostly religious.

 

Juliet's best line: "You kiss by th' book."

Correspondent
b00kwerm
Posts: 184
Registered: ‎11-29-2009
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Re: ROMEO & JULIET: Act I (But Shakespeare Himself Uses Spoilers!)

 

ConnieK wrote:

friery wrote:

It's really delightful that Shakespeare starts this play with a sonnet.  However, the Bard himself includes big-time spoilers in his sonnet.

 

He tells us that there has been bad blood and uncivil behavior between two aristocratic families.  And that the issue of the two families--two star-crossed lovers--will take their own lives.  And that these deaths will bring an end to the families' blood feud.

 

What's left to tell?  Oh, yeah, the play in which all this unfolds will take exactly two hours.  (Plus, the couplet that ends the sonnet says, if we forgot to tell you any of the details of the story in the last 14 lines, pay attention for the next two hours, and we'll seek to fill you in on the details.)

 

That's cheeky conduct indeed by the greatest playwright our language has even known.

 

Well, I wonder if readers/audiences don't pick up on all that the first time around? 

 

I'm wondering if any first-time readers see Romeo as a bit of a whiner?  Ha.

 

Romeo is a whiner!!! ;D Yet we all love him anyway.

 

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