SiStan ChapLee

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (16)

Act V
Scene iii

Lines 85-6  For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Wonderful verse.

Line 111-2  And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh . . .
Romeo's words voice much of the 17th century European culture

Lines 117-8  Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark
a variation on Dante's Ulysses (Inferno 26)?

Lines 153-4  A greater power than we can contradict
Hath thwarted our intents . . .
again a major topic in Renaissance culture, when the concepts of Providence and/or fate and/or chance acquired a trait more tragic than in the Middle Ages

[Snatching ROMEO's dagger.]  This is thy sheath . . .
with a sexual reference, all the more so as the Latin word for sheath was vagina

Line 292  That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!
one more basic feature of the Renaissance mind: agudezas (witty subtleties), paradoxes, and not rarely, sad ones; here Shakespeare provides one of the possibly finest examples of this genre

Line 307  Some shall be pardon'd and some punished
but we won't know whom, in either case

[The end. From next week, on Fridays, the new column called Turin-Paris will accompany us: G. B. Marino's adventures and works in the first two decades of the 17th century. A fascinating insight into culture, science, religion, history, society.]