25 votes

What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo and Juliet?

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 ...
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20 votes

What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo and Juliet?

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 ...
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12 votes

What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo and Juliet?

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; ...
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10 votes

Romeo and Juliet: Why is honey loathsome in its deliciousness?

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'...
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8 votes

Is the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt a joke, or is it serious?

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 ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Benvolio and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet

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 ...
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5 votes
Accepted

How old is Romeo?

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 ...
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  • 39.2k
5 votes

How old is Romeo?

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 ...
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5 votes
Accepted

What does “withal” mean in a line in Romeo and Juliet?

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: ...
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4 votes

Is there any connection between Paris of Troy and Paris of Verona?

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 ...
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4 votes

What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo and Juliet?

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, ...
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  • 4,010
4 votes

What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo and Juliet?

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 ...
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  • 421
3 votes

Romeo and Juliet: Why is honey loathsome in its deliciousness?

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 ...
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3 votes

Romeo and Juliet: Why is honey loathsome in its deliciousness?

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 ...
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3 votes

What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo and Juliet?

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 ...
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3 votes

Why do we get some explicit references in Shakespearean plays that are meant for something else?

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 ...
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2 votes

What does “withal” mean in a line in Romeo and Juliet?

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 ...
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1 vote

Why do we get some explicit references in Shakespearean plays that are meant for something else?

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 ...
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1 vote
Accepted

Romeo and Juliet “Which then most sought where most might not be found”

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 ...
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  • 40.9k
1 vote

What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo and Juliet?

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 ...
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