SiStan ChapLee

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (14)

Act IV
Scene iii

[Enter JULIET and NURSE.]
the Nurse's silence is deafening

Lines 4-5  . . . my state,
Which . . . is cross and full of sin
another Christological hint, conveyed by a pun ("cross"), with reference to Juliet; see e.g. Colossians 2.13-14

Lines 30 ff  How, if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time . . .
this impressive monolog of Juliet will inspire many episodes in Edgar A. Poe's works

Scene iv

Line 3  . . . The second cock hath crow'd
see Mark 14.72

Line 6  . . . Go, you cot-quean, go
"This is a notable example of the Nurse's frankness, and it shows how much freedom she is given" (the note in the Collins Classics edition), maybe because she and Capulet had been lovers? See also Capulet's cry in line 24: "Nurse! Wife!" -- the Nurse first.

Scene v

Line 28  Death lies on her . . .
Lines 35-6  O son, the night before thy wedding day
Hath Death lain with thy wife . . .
Italian, Spanish-speaking readers, etc., must remember that in English imagination "Death" is considered a male character, so that these metaphors have an explicit sexual meaning

Line 55  Beguil'd, divorced, wronged, spited, slain!
learning about Juliet's death, Count Paris does not think about her, but himself; so does Capulet in line 59 

Lines 94-5  The heavens do lour upon you for some ill;
Move them no more by crossing their high will
Friar Lawrence knows that Juliet's death is a fake news story, but this harsh remark seems to burst out of his subconscious, and forewarns us of the impending doom that will be the actual end. Immediately afterward, a humorous dialog between the musicians creates a pause that helps the audience digest the sad events while letting them 'breathe' a little, before the sadder events to come.