[LMB] Rom and Jules, was When World-Views Collide, books

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 12 11:52:45 GMT 2022


From: Margaret Dean <margdean56 at gmail.com>

On Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 2:23 AM Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com>
wrote:
> Gwynne: It's a long time since I hit R&J and I can't remember; was Juliet
> an only child? I think she was. If her mum was only 28 she should still be
> having children, by the expectations of that society she should have half|
 a dozen already. So if she didn't, and Juliet is the only one (problems with the
> birth?) there's a whole other stressor there, for her mother; she's failed in her
> duty to produce the valuable sons. That would tend to make her put even more
> pressure on Juliet - as her mother has to deliver the most value she can
> out of her sole child.

Yes, Capulet says of Juliet, "The earth hath swallowed all my hopes but
she", which I take to mean that she is his only *surviving* child. How this
came to be so we're not told; whether the other (deceased) offspring were
older than Juliet--perhaps by a previous wife, since the current Mrs.
Capulet is so young--or younger, which would argue some sort of fertility
issue with Mrs. C ... Not that Shakespeare would know anything about Rh
factors, but that sort of thing did happen in his day. I've seen
speculation that that might have been Anne Boleyn's problem, why she was
able to have one perfectly healthy child (Elizabeth) and then couldn't have
any more.
--Margaret Dean


Gwynne: The audience at the time would know about the pressure for a wife
of a rich man to have sons, so they'd probably see more in the speeches, and
in the situation. No matter how we try, we miss some of that extra cultural
and social knowledge that adds other perspectives.

I saw an interesting 'Measure for Measure' years ago (a most neglected gem,
in my opinion, and it'd be a wonderful play for our times) that had three
screens at the back of the stage. As the players spoke, the screens would show
images that were some of the knowledge the characters would be bringing to
the situation; when they talked about executions, the screens would show
images of someone being prepared for a hanging. It did give more understanding
of the characters (of course, you had to process a lot of input at the same time.)


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