8 responses so far ↓
  • 1 Ben Ratkowski // Jan 30, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Part of the reason Shakespeare’s plays have sustained for over 400 years is because Shakespeare is a master at creating characters. At the same time Shakespeare illustrates adept stagecraft through the structure of a play, Shakespeare provides specific characterization through language. That characterization, though specific, naturally gives a performer and audience members the freedom of adding their own interpretation. An interpretation which derives from Shakespeare’s language. Shmoop’s assumption in Romeo and Juliet is not textually supported. The suggestion of 3.5 is forcing evidence where it does not exist. Shmoop’s assertion is an attempt in clevernesss to be innovative and provocative for the sake of students. Shakespeare’s cleverness will far outlast everyone. True innovation with Shakespeare is not forcing a new idea onto the text, but learning through exploration of the text. Students that truly explore the text and find ideas supported in the text will help sustain the masterful art of Shakespeare for another 400 years.

  • 2 Peter // Jan 31, 2012 at 7:39 am


    Great comment. Thanks for visiting. I agree 100%. Novel intepretations are great but they must be supported by the text, but that takes serious work and few are willing to do it.

  • 3 Kerr Lockhart // May 27, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I don’t disagree with your premise, but you mustn’t discount the idea that, as a good daughter of the Church (and remember Juliet is a Catholic, unlike much of her English audience), she has been married in and by the Church in the person of Friar Laurence. Consummation only goes to the MARRIAGE CONTRACT which is the concern of her father as the contracting party. Her only concern is as a woman and a Christian, and as she was married in the eyes of God –even without having relations with her husband — if she purported to marry anyone else, she would GO TO HELL. To marry Paris is to put her soul in peril and to risk ETERNAL DAMNATION. Too many modern readers of Shakespeare are too cynical about Christianity, which was sincerely accepted by the people of Shakespeare’s time. Therefore, the prospect of entering another marriage, and in a church, raises the threat of perpetual torment and separation from God. It would be natural for Juliet to be frightened to death at this possibility.

  • 4 Peter // May 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm


    Thanks for visiting. Interesting observations but the text does not support that interpretation. The text does show that Juliet was wildly in love with Romeo to the exclusion of all others, including Paris.

  • 5 Zev Farkas // Jan 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    shouldn’t the line: “It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,” be more like “It shall be Romeo, whom I know you hate,”?

    looks like a simple typo to me – but it totally changes the meaning…

  • 6 Neko // Feb 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Zev, that is not a typo. Juliet is saying, “I am not marrying anyone. And even if I WERE willing to get married, Paris is the last man I’d marry. I’d marry Romeo, who I hate, before I’d marry Paris.” Immediately prior to the quote, Juliet gave a speech to her mother that made it sound (to someone lacking the key information that she and Romeo are married) like she wanted him dead for killing Tybalt. Her mother has good reason to believe Juliet when she says she hates Romeo.

  • 7 Serena // Feb 6, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Sorry but I cannot understand why you are skeptical about Kerr’s interpretation. In my opinion the matter is simple. The act of consummation makes the marriage lawful. If they hadn’t consummated the marriage it could have been cancelled and she’d have been forced to marry Paris by her parents. Now, she did consummate the marriage so when Lady Capulet says:”The County Paris, at Saint Peter’s Church,
    Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride” Juliet quotes her mother’s words by saying the opposite. Why?Her mother doesn’t know she’s already married so she imagines a joyful marriage (joyful mainly because she’s the one who wants to see her daughter married to Paris). Juliet on the other had is horrified thinking about a marriage with Paris because she’s already lawully married and, for a Christian, it’s a sin to marry while being already married. But if you put yourself in her shoes how can she tell her parents:”I cannot marry for I’m already married!”? She cannot. So it seems impossible for her to avoid this marriage and she’s to be damned. How come she’d be a “joyful” bride? That’s it. Sorry if I made mistakes but I’m italian.

  • 8 Jen McGregor // Feb 6, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Zev Farkas – No, it’s “whom you know I hate”. Think about who she’s speaking to – her mother. As far as her parents are concerned, she hates Montagues in general and Romeo in particular because he has just killed her beloved cousin. To the best of her mother’s knowledge, Romeo is the man Juliet is least likely to want to marry.

    It’s a beautiful line because Juliet is actually telling the truth. When she marries (which she has already done at this point), it will be Romeo, not Paris. Her mother ‘knows’, or at least believes, that Juliet hates Romeo. Juliet is beautifully sneaky with her words, even when she’s under extreme pressure.

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