SiStan ChapLee

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (2)

Act I
Scene ii

Line 5  And pity 'tis you liv'd at odds so long
but nobody thinks about an inter-clan marriage (as it had been the case with Dante Alighieri and Gemma Donati -- that however proved politically unsuccessful)

Line 46  One pain is lessened by another's anguish
see Ariosto, who used a saying still very common in Italy: chiodo scaccia chiodo, "a nail expels another nail," like in a wood board

Lines 54-6  . . . a madman . . .
Shut up in prison, kept without my food,
Whipt and tormented . . .
Torquato Tasso experienced this all too well

Lines 64 ffThe Italian names are quite approximate, wrongly spelled and/or 'unreal,' i.e. taken from all sorts of Latin sources

Line 89  . . . the devout religion of mine eye
for "religion" meaning "rule, way of operating" see Dante, Purgatorio 21.41-2

Scene iii

Line 4  God forbid! . . .
the Nurse often inserts popular phrases (here Dio liberi! as still nowadays in Italy) in the wrong place, like Sancho Panza

Line 24  'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years
Italy was hit by some strong earthquakes in the Renaissance, though there are no data available about one in Verona in the late XVI century; nor in the XIII or XIV century, if we take the alleged epoch of the events described in the play

Lines 77-9  . . . why, he's [Paris] a man of wax. /
Verona's summer . . . /
Nay, he's a flower . . .
Well, the summer sun melts the wax. And, is a "flower" a man who flows away?

Line 88  This precious book . . . unbound . . .
books were sold like that, then each collector would add a customized binding and cover