Wednesday, December 6, 2017

''What is in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.''

When I hadn't read Shakeseare, I thought it wouldn't be that hard. When I impulsively bought an old volume of all of Shakespeares works, I didn't think it would be that hard.
And then I read it and it was a lot harder than I anticipated.

Of course I read Romeo and Juliet first. It took me a long time, struggling through the hardly normal dialogues, and the jokes I didn't understand because they where written in Elizebethan context, and the fact that there is ONLY dialogue. It frustrates me that there's just people speaking, but duh, what did you think? It's a play, and plays are meant to be acted. Of course.

Well, on to the point. (I'm going to give each character a turn and make them a bit ridiculous, but don't worry, I will give Shakespeare some praise, because he was one very great writer, despite the difficulty of his text)

Dear Juliet, in fact you are one of the least ridiculous characters. And you are the one that no one listens to. Your parents don't listen to you when they try to marry you off to Paris, and when you ask for delay, they don't listen. Your Nurse listens. To some extent.
Only I don't understand why you are so young (and I don't understand why you fell in love with Romeo, I don't really like him). I do understand however why you are so sad all the time. Nothing goes right. You just wanted to live happily ever after with your Romeo, but the play being a tragedy, naturally it ends tragic and you die.
I must agree with you on the rose speech, though. Anne Shirley said a rose wouldn't smell as sweet if it had a different name, but I must disagree with her. It would still smell the same.

I think what I should say is that you are a sad character also, that you also suffered from the feud between your families that evolved in such a tragedy later on (because you die). But partly, you own it to yourself. First of all by killing Tybalt. Why would you do that if you knew it was wrong? Yes, yes, he killed your friend, and you are sad and shocked, but it shouldn't have happened. And second, your petty cry that you would rather die than suffer banishment? And third, being so utterly hasty in all you decisions, the worst being your decision to buy poison after you heard of Juliet's ''death''. I understand you were sad, deeply sad and desparate, but the hastiness?
Basically you are too hasty, sir.

The Nurse.
First of all, I find it stupid that you have no other name than Nurse. Even Juliet calls you Nurse. Or is Nurse your real name? But you are kind to Juliet, and you help her and Romeo, which is more that I can say of the rest of the people in the play.

The Friar. 
Good, you have a name. Lawrence. You are a good man, but you shouldn't have left Juliet alone with the dead Romeo, despite being afraid of the guards coming.
But, as I said before, you are a good man.

It appears you have no compassion. No feelings, other than so called love for Juliet, who is only thirteen. You don't go marry a thirteen year old girl, sir, not even there and in that time. Shame on you.

The parents, Lord and Lady Montague.
Dear mother, you listen. Not always, but you listen to your Juliet. To some extent. And you don't have much of a say in you house of course, with such a husband. You are not so much to blame.
The one who is to blame, is the father. I don't understand how you can be so cruel? Your daughter was young, she didn't want to marry Paris, yet you insisted, forced, became angry to almost violent. And when Juliet lied and said: Fine, I'll marry Paris, you were so pleased and satisfied and basically a horrible person.
Shame on you too.

There are others, but they either die really fast or have little role, so I won't mention them.
Shakespeare, overall, did a really great job in writing Romeo and Juliet. It was kind of short, just a span of three days, which seems weird, but maybe that emphasizes the word Haste, which is sort of the reason everything goes wrong.
And of course everyone dies, but that's part of a tragedy. Diana Barry could have written tragedies like that when she was in Anne's story club, but we aren't talking about Diana now, sorry.

It's complex to read, sometimes complex to understand, but it's fascinating. The themes range from fate to love to hasty action to everything together, there are a lot of arguments for each, and it would be a great study material. And it feels good to finally be able to say: I read Shakespeare.
(O, how utterly smart of you.) Well, thank you ...

Well, I ridiculed a little (I am not that good of a person with ridicule) and I praised a little, so this can be called a post.

*goes back to struggling through The Tempest/Othello/King Lear because why read one at a time?*


  1. I haven't read Shakespeare, because I myself don't really like those things. You know, poems and plays, such things. I really loved this post, even though I didn't read Romeo&Juliet. Everything was hasty, was it not? In the movie, at least.
    Anyhow, loved this! :)

    1. Thanks you1 Yes, it was very hasty. I don't like plays that much either, but I always wanted to read Shakespeare, so I did! Glad you liked the post!

  2. Sweet! I like the thought although I haven't read Shakespeare.