23

You have to remember, the audience is well aware that a tragedy usually ends in the deaths of many of the main characters; therefore, I would argue that the enjoyment of the play is derived from an exploration of a set of themes that require the audience's understanding of the direction the play is moving in, in order to allow for emphasis to be placed on ...


19

If Shakespeare had depended on surprise for his plays to be enjoyable, you would never have heard of him. People would see the play once, get the full effect, and then there would be no point in going again. Roger Ebert said, "It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it." The same goes for plays. Shakespeare tells you the ending up front because ...


12

Ah, but the prologue doesn't spoil the ending of Romeo and Juliet! Take a look at those lines again: From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife. So these "star-cross'd" lovers will die to bury their parents' ...


10

It is the deliciousness of the honey that leads you to gorge on it until you can't face it anymore. Deliciousness leads to eating too much of it, therefore the deliciousness is the problem. You wouldn't eat too much if it wasn't delicious, after all. Now, I hesitate to use Reddit as an authoritative source, but for an anecdotal demonstration of the principle,...


6

I suspect Zeffirelli was commenting on the transition between boyhood and adulthood in the context of consequences, and how easily a simple mistake can have severe implications. (Compare to teens drunk driving--it's all fun and games until someone dies.) Zeffirelli's scene is played as teenage boy, full of bluster, having fun in the traditional male ...


5

We don't know much. About the only concrete data is that he's described as a "youth". We also know that his parents and Juliet's parents are social peers, which implies that they're of roughly similar age, but leaves room for him to be considerably older without violating the text. I think his flightiness and moodiness makes an interpretation of "mid to ...


5

The names of these two characters, which are introduced in actual spoken lines (not just speech prefixes or Dramatis Personae) within the first two scenes, would largely have answered this question for an Elizabethan audience. Benvolio is Italian for I mean well—cf. the word benevolent. Mercutio is the prime example of the mercurial temperament in John ...


5

In this context, withal means something very close to with. Some context and a paraphrase would be helpful. Mercutio has challenged Tybalt to fight. Tybalt asks what Mercutio wants. Mercutio replies: Good king of cats! All I want is one of your nine lives. I intend to make bold with it. Depending on how you respond to that, I may also beat your other eight ...


4

As I mentioned elsewhere, Shakespeare's main sources for Romeo and Juliet were Arthur Brooke's narrative poem The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (1562) and William Painter's prose version of the story in the second volume of The Palace of Pleasure (1567). There is no evidence that Shakespeare read any of the French or Italian sources for this story, ...


4

The short answer is that there is the idea that knowing the ending harms the literary work only holds for material that depends on a "twist ending", such as The Sixth Sense. But even with that film, knowing the ending allows one to glean more from the material on subsequent viewing, in terms of references and foreshadowing. For me, having seen many ...


4

The fact that the introduction tells us what is going to happen is a sort of meta-game that the playwright is playing with the story. Their love is "star-cross'd" and "death-mark’d" - by TELLING the audience what is about to happen, it more heavily impresses upon the viewer that this is an outcome which was fated from the start. Thus, the sense of tragic ...


3

The type of prologue that can be found at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet (at least in the 1579 and 1599 quartos but not in the 1623 folio edition) was not unusual in Elizabethan drama. It can also be found in, for example, Gorboduc, or Ferrex and Porrex by Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville (1561/1562), George Gascoigne's prose comedy Supposes (1566) and ...


3

Shakespeare's main sources for Romeo and Juliet were Arthur Brooke's narrative poem The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (1562) and William Painter's prose version of the story in the second volume of The Palace of Pleasure (1567). There is no evidence that Shakespeare read any of the French or Italian sources for this story, such as Pierre Boaistuau ...


3

The discussion of sexual allusions or inferences in Shakespeare has been going on for a century or more. There can be no discussion, though, about the second quotation. (the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon). It's dirty. To answer Knight's question: Shakespeare's trade was theater, not literature. He wrote with his audience in mind, not ...


3

In his edition of Romeo and Juliet for the New Cambridge Shakespeare (Cambridge University Press, 1984), G. Blakemore Evans points out that the idea express in Friar Lawrence's words ("The sweetest honey / Is loathsome in his own deliciousness" [1]) was proverbial in Shakespeare's time. This is something the two existing answers have overlooked. ...


3

It seems to me that a large part of the above question can be answered by the context provided by Shakespeare, which implies “eating too quickly,” as well as eating too much. These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey. Is loathsome in his own deliciousness And in ...


1

Below is the entry for "withal" in Skeat's glossary: withal = with, as placed at the end of the sentence. As You Like It, iii. 2. 238; used in the sense of likewise, besides, at the same time, Bible, 1 Kings xix. 1; Ps. cxli. 10; Acts xxv. 27; 'Though he be merry, yet withal he's honest', Taming Shrew, iii. 2. 25; Bacon, Essay 58; phr. to do ...


1

The most famous study of Shakespeare's "explicit references" is Shakespeare's Bawdy: A Literary & Psychological Essay and A Comprehensive Glossary by Eric Partridge (first published in 1947). The book contains a 48-page introduction, followed by a 175-page glossary. I hope it is clear that what is considered taboo or inappropriate varies through time ...


1

Parallelism, the “correspondence, in sense or construction, of successive clauses or passages” (OED). Benvolio compares his own mood and behaviour with Romeo’s in a pair of parallel phrases: “pursued my humor not pursuing his” and “gladly shunned who gladly fled”. Antithesis, “the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced or parallel words”. Here we ...


1

Picture yourself as a theatergoer in Elizabethan England. It would be much like going to the googleplex and choosing what to watch. "Action? Romantic comedy? How about that blockbuster we've seen a dozen times?" The point is, you know what you're getting when you buy your ticket. You've picked a certain genre because you want a certain experience. And in ...


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