Bits and Pieces

May 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Analysis and Discussion, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , )

I am winding down on my posts about A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about.

Pyramus and Thisby : Romeo and Juliet
Pyramus and Thisby, the play-within-the-play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is pure farce the way it’s presented by the “rude mechanicals.” But the story itself is of two star-crossed lovers whose families keep them apart and who end up tragically committing suicide at a tomb.

Sound familiar? Romeo and Juliet was written by Shakespeare around the same time, so I’m sure there are parallels if we look for them. It seems like Shakespeare had some fun making fun of R&J by presenting a very similar story in P&T in such a silly way—bringing comedy to the tragedy.

Another similarity that strikes me is the sexual puns. They are a constant in R&J, but they are absent (or at least pass right by me) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, except for in P&T. The note in my edition puts it this way: “… a network of obscene jokes running through the mechanicals’ play.” There are puns on words like “chink” and “hole” and “stones” in the wall, etc.

So Bottom is an obscene punner like our old friend from R&J, Mercutio. Maybe there are other comparisons to make between the two characters? One thing I notice is their use of words. Mercutio has a razor-sharp wit and his words and puns are excessively pointed. Bottom is an extreme contrast to Mercutio: he’s a silly ass and his language is full of malapropisms and verbal mistakes. 

More on P&T
The wedding party makes many witty and snobby comments while watching P&T, but I wonder if they appreciate the sexual jokes. I wonder if Peter Quince wrote them into the script on purpose, as appropriate for a pre-wedding night entertainment!

The other thing I wonder about P&T is how and why it seems to change so much over time. When the mechanicals originally meet and Quince gives out roles, he includes both parents of Thisby and casts himself as Pyramus’s father. Later, when they meet in the woods to rehearse, they discuss someone needing to play Wall and Moonlight, so I guess Quince rewrites the play to get rid of all the parents, give lines to Wall and Moonlight and take himself out of the play except for reading the prologue. And the lines Pyramus and Thisby rehearse when Bottom is turned into an ass by Puck are not present in the final version of P&T performed for the wedding party. There is probably no need to analyze any of this, but it occurred to me that the changes might mean something. Or maybe not.

Questions
I have a few random questions lingering in my mind as I wrap things up.

Why does Oberon want the Indian boy? It seems like his anger with Titania amounts to a temper tantrum for not getting his way. Titania doesn’t obey; Titania must pay.

Why does Egeus want Demetrius to marry Hermia? Since his daughter loves another man (Lysander) and Lysander claims to be of as high rank or better than Demetrius, it seems odd that Egeus is more willing to have Hermia die than marry a man she loves. Hermia does not obey; Hermia must pay (with her life).

I don’t mean to overplay the misogyny card. My edition’s notes point out that the standard (misogynist) view of women during the Elizabethan period stereotyped them as the ones likely to stray romantically. So Hermia and Helena’s constancy throughout the play (neither for a minute doubting her own love for her wayward man) earns the audience’s sympathy, while Lysander and Demetrius appear ridiculous with their sudden shifts in affection.

Why does Demetrius want to marry Hermia? What caused him to lose love for Helena? There are no answers given in the play. The questions linger in my mind. Love, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is all rather ephemeral and senseless. Maybe that is the point! Lord, what fools these mortals be, as Puck says.

Favorite Quotes
There are some great lines and beautiful imagery in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Here are a couple of lines that I love.

I love when Oberon and Titania meet and Oberon says:

Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania. (II.1.60)

Isn’t that a great way to greet someone you’re quarrelling with?!

I also love Lysander’s smart aleck line to Demetrius in the opening scene:

You have her father’s love, Demetrius,
Let me have Hermia’s: do you marry him.
(I.1.93-94)

It cracks me up every time. He’s saying: you and her father love each other so much, why don’t you marry him! Cracks me up; it’s such a typical teenage wisecrack.

Lastly, I get a big kick out of P&T. The whole thing is so ridiculous. Every time I hear the following lines I start laughing. Pyramus goes to the tomb to meet Thisby and instead finds her bloodied scarf and (wrongly) thinks she’s dead:

    But stay: O spite!
    But mark, poor knight,
What dreadful dole is here?
    Eyes, do you see?
    How can it be?
O dainty duck, O dear!
(V.1.271-276)

It’s just so “mechanical” and silly! 

Okay, I think that’s about all I have to say about A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Please let me know if you have any comments, things you are thinking about the play or anything you’d like me to think about. I’d be happy to hear from you. I have a couple more film adaptations to watch, and then I will move on to the next play: Much Ado About Nothing.

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Loose Ends

March 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm (Analysis and Discussion, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , )

I’m winding down on my thoughts about Romeo and Juliet (for now). I have a couple more film versions in my Netflix queue that I will watch soon, but I think I’ve covered what I want (for now). I think with this blog, as I read through more plays, I may feel the need to revisit plays as I see things in a new context. So, I reserve the right to return to Romeo and Juliet!

And I would love if any readers come back to Romeo and Juliet at any time! Please feel free to rifle through old posts and comment on anything at any time. I’ll be happy for the input and eager to return to this play for more discussion.

Today marks one month since I started posting about Romeo and Juliet on Valentine’s Day. I really have no plan regarding how long I will spend on each play or how many posts I’ll make about each one. It’s kind of random and I have no idea if I’ll spend a month on future plays or want to move on faster (or spend even more time on each!). Stick around with me to see!

Anyhow, as my thoughts wind down on Romeo and Juliet, there are a few things I want to put out there before I move on to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

More on Mercutio
First, I want to thank blog reader Ted. When I commented early on that I thought new readers might want to “yada yada” through Mercutio… he pointed out that he could never ignore Mercutio, who he found a fascinating character. That comment made me re-think Mercutio, and you can see I found quite a few things to post about him the last week or so.

It’s this kind of input that I am so excited to get from this blog. Because if I were just reading on my own, I might really have done more yada-yadaing than I should have. I find reading Mercutio’s parts very challenging. The puns are constant and complex, but I do think he’s a fascinating character if you let him under your skin.

One thing about Mercutio that I find really interesting… he is related to the Prince (and possibly to Paris, who is also related to the Prince). This seems so unnecessary to the plot. Why give him this connection? When I started this blog by watching the Zeffirelli version, I actually thought Mercutio was a Montague—maybe a cousin of Romeo’s; I didn’t give the relationship much thought. But as I read the text, I realized he was the Prince’s kinsman.

Another thing—Mercutio was invited to the Capulet feast! That’s so interesting to me, because doesn’t it seem like he could have easily snuck his buddies in, since he was invited? Yet they’re all worried about how to get in, and he plays right along as if he’s one of the party crashers.

Further on that note, Count Paris seems like such a “catch” for Juliet because he’s an aristocrat. Yet I wonder if Mercutio isn’t just as high in rank and stature. He certainly doesn’t give off any royal airs, does he? He’s one of the guys. Not at all the feeling I get from Paris, although we never see Paris in a casual setting with his buds.

Rosaline was a Capulet!
Rosaline was also on the invitation list to the Capulet feast! See, it’s interesting to me, because Shakespeare never needed to share with us the actual invites to the party—that’s a level of detail that would never be missed in a play. Yet, there’s a whole scene set aside for Romeo to read through the entire list! So, it seems somehow important that we learn that Mercutio is invited and also Rosaline (of course, that gives Romeo the idea to crash the party, but we didn’t need to hear the whole list for that idea to get in his head).

Rosaline is Capulet’s niece, and therefore Juliet’s cousin. I find this detail interesting, because later when Romeo realizes that Juliet is a Capulet, it takes on such weighty meaning to him.

                          Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt.
(I.5.118-119)

Why is it a big deal? He was already doting on a Capulet (Rosaline) before this and her family connections didn’t seem to concern him a bit!

The Nurse
Lastly, I want to mention a couple things about Juliet’s nurse. She is a really interesting character to me. As I’ve said in earlier posts, she is stupid/savvy. Capulet treats her with great disrespect when he is angry with Juliet.

Nurse 
God in heaven bless her!
You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so.

CAPULET 
And why, my lady wisdom? hold your tongue,
Good prudence; smatter with your gossips, go.

Nurse 
I speak no treason.

CAPULET 
O, God ye god-den.

Nurse 
May not one speak?

CAPULET 
Peace, you mumbling fool!
Utter your gravity o’er a gossip’s bowl;
For here we need it not.
(III.5.169-176)

Wow, what a nice guy! He has such a bad temper and is so rude to the Nurse here. She does not back down. She talks right back! (“May not one speak?”) She holds her own with the Lord and Lady of the manor. I never note subservience in her tone around them. Interesting!

And her love for Juliet is obvious. Juliet, to her ultimate ruin, loves and trusts the Nurse with her whole heart. I mentioned in an earlier post how the Nurse’s switcharoo from singing the praises of Romeo to singing the praises of Paris causes the tragic switcharoo in Juliet that sends her to the Friar and starts in motion the events that lead to the tragic ending.

The nurse is a pivotal character. It’s interesting, because it would be easy to dismiss her as a fool, as Capulet does. You could mistake her for a somewhat small character. She is not. She is central to the plot. She enables Juliet to pursue the relationship with Romeo. She serves as messenger to set up the wedding and doorguard so they can consummate their marriage. Then her switch to Paris pushes Juliet out the door toward her death. The plot revolves around the nurse!

Parallels: Nurse and Friar
So, in addition to holding her own as a character (in every sense of the word!) and being central to the plot, I find interesting parallels between the nurse and two other characters. She serves as friend and trusted confidant to Juliet in the same way the Friar does to Romeo. Both the nurse and the Friar are enablers of the Romeo/Juliet relationship and marriage. Both should know better! These kids are dumb and acting in a hormone-induced haze—if either the Friar or the nurse had put the kibosh on it at any step of the way, things might have ended differently.

Parallels: Nurse and Mercutio
I find parallels between the nurse and Mercutio, as well. Both are windy, tending to get carried away with themselves and run on at the mouth. Both are pretty hilarious and prone to dirty jokes and puns. And each serves as a best friend. We are aware of no friend other than the nurse in Juliet’s life. She appears to exist within the walls of the Capulet house and have little human contact other than her parents and the nurse. Romeo is out and about in the world and has friends, and Mercutio stands out as his closest friend, willing in the end to fight for and die for that friendship.

And that concludes my thoughts (for now) on reading Romeo and Juliet! Let me know what you think, and stay tuned for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Mercutio, the Messenger

March 11, 2010 at 7:17 pm (Analysis and Discussion, Romeo and Juliet) (, , , , , , , , )

Here again is the (modern) meaning of the name Mercutio: “The name comes from Mercury, the Roman messenger god. It may also be related to the vocabulary word “mercurial,” originally designating someone with the characteristics of eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, and thievishness attributed to the god Mercury, or more commonly with an unpredictable and fast-changing mood.” (Source: ParentsConnect)

I’m fascinated by this, because I keep looking for how Shakespeare wove the name’s meaning into the character. In my edition’s notes, I believe it said there was a character named Mercutio in the sources used by Shakespeare, but that the character was not fully developed. Shakespeare just ran with the name. And I note the modern meaning, because Shakespeare didn’t have access to the Internet to look up name meanings, so who knows what he was really assuming.

But so far, we’re doing pretty well: Mercutio was eloquent, shrewd, and had a swift wit. I don’t see theivishness. I’ve stated that he seems less mercurial to me than many of the characters with their quick switcharoos. That’s not to say that Mercutio doesn’t have a changeable quality to him. He’s certainly unpredictable! He’s a nut! You never know what will come out of his mouth next. It’s just not the flip-of-a-switch kind of changes that I see in other characters.

Notably, in his final scene, I can see his temperature rise as he talks to Tybalt. I don’t know if mercury was used in Renaissance thermometers, but I can see him about to blow a gasket with Tybalt as things heat up that hot summer day. He has a temper.

For me, the biggest change in Mercutio is the most mysterious. When we meet him, he spouts the long Queen Mab speech. I have been reading this speech for over a week now, and I still don’t get it. I just finished watching it performed in the BBC video; I still don’t get it. It is so completely different from every other word out of Mercutio’s mouth. For one, there is not any sexual punning. There’s really not that much wordplay at all here… not compared to the later Mercutio.

ROMEO I dream’d a dream to-night.

MERCUTIO And so did I.

ROMEO Well, what was yours?

MERCUTIO That dreamers often lie.

ROMEO In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.

MERCUTIO O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
 She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
 In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
 On the fore-finger of an alderman,
 Drawn with a team of little atomies
 Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
 Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs,
 The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
 The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
 The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
 Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
 Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
 Not so big as a round little worm
 Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;
 Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
 Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
 Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
 And in this state she gallops night by night
 Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
 O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
 O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
 O’er ladies ‘ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
 Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
 Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
 Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
 And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
 And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
 Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,
 Then dreams, he of another benefice:
 Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
 And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
 Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
 Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
 Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
 And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
 And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
 That plats the manes of horses in the night,
 And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
 Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
 This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
 That presses them and learns them first to bear,
 Making them women of good carriage:
 This is she–

ROMEO                   Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
 Thou talk’st of nothing.

MERCUTIO True, I talk of dreams,
 Which are the children of an idle brain,
 Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
 Which is as thin of substance as the air
 And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
 Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
 And, being anger’d, puffs away from thence,
 Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
 (I.4.50-103)

It’s baffling to me. It’s so unlike the Mercutio I come to know later in the play. So, that signals to me a purpose to the speech. What is it?

I won’t make a habit of reading analyses of Shakespeare’s works, but this one had me so completely confused that I Googled it. I was getting nowhere figuring it out on my own, so I looked at SparkNotes. I still don’t feel like I get it!

But I feel like there must be a message in these words—a message for Romeo. And Mercury is the messenger, befitting his name. But, what’s the message? I guess I can see what the SparkNotes essay says at the end… that Mercutio is cynical/pragmatic and bursting the dreamy romantic bubble that Romeo lives in.

But… I’m just not satisfied! Does anyone have a better explanation for me? I feel like the Queen Mab speech must be very important, and it bothers me that I don’t get it!

The other reason I feel like there’s a message to Romeo here is the way that Mercutio interrupts him when Romeo mentions having a bad dream. There is so much foreshadowing throughout the play; a big dark cloud hung over all of Verona that week. But here, Mercutio filibusters Romeo out of really talking about his bad dream. Why? Someone, please shed light!

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Fun in the Pun

March 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm (Analysis and Discussion, Romeo and Juliet) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Stop it!  Stop it!
That’s enough, sir.
I can’t say such silly stuff, sir.
    Mr. Knox, Fox in Socks, by Dr. Seuss
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry for all the Seuss references. He’s a big part of my life right now! Anyhow, as I read through all the puns in Romeo and Juliet I keep thinking of Fox in Socks and sometimes I feel like Mr. Knox. Stop it! Stop it! That’s enough, sir!

Romeo and Juliet is just filled with sexual puns. I’m sure they were obvious and right out there to the Renaissance audience. It’s all slang and double entendres and many/most go right over my head unless I stop to decipher them in the footnotes. It takes a lot of effort for me to get them, and after a while, I find them mind-numbing. I mentioned in an earlier post, I thought a new reader might want to “yada, yada” through much of Mercutio since he is so dense with puns.

I’m sure that the audience back then did not have to work to get the joke, and so the joke was funnier. That being the case, the “tragedy” of Romeo and Juliet was at many times a light-hearted comedy and witfest. I’m sure people were on the floor laughing at all the clever back and forth and anatomical references. I really think I lose out in needing to have the jokes excruciatingly explained to me, and then still not really getting them a lot of the time. It must have been really funny in an Animal House kind of way. Right?

So, let’s take it from the top, because that’s what Shakespeare did. He starts right out by laying it on thick. Act I, Scene 1, and the servants Sampson and Gregory are on a witty roll. Geez, as I look at it now, I don’t even know where to start. Whenever they use words like “stand,” “take the wall,” “thrust,” “heads,” “piece of flesh,” yada yada… sorry, I get glazed over right from the start. It’s just too much! Stop it, stop it, Mr. Fox, sir!

Seriously, I have trouble with that aspect of the play (not offended… it just bores me after a while!). “Draw thy tool,” “My naked weapon is out.” Hello? This is all in the first 32 lines of the play! I’m tired reading the footnotes already, and I haven’t even met Mercutio yet.

Alrighty then. So, I’m sure that whole thing set the tone for the rest of the play for the bawdy audience way back when. They’re into it. They’re getting it. They’re loving it. Enter Mercutio.

Here’s the (modern) meaning of the name Mercutio: “The name comes from Mercury, the Roman messenger god. It may also be related to the vocabulary word “mercurial,” originally designating someone with the characteristics of eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, and thievishness attributed to the god Mercury, or more commonly with an unpredictable and fast-changing mood.” (Source: ParentsConnect)

As I mentioned in my last post, I find Mercutio one of the least mercurial of the characters in this play. But he sure has a swift wit and eloquence. Tybalt may be the King of Cats, but Mercutio is the King of Puns. Maybe Act II, Scene 4 shows him at his finest. Every word out of Mercutio’s mouth is perfectly-pointed. Jab! Jab! His death may come from swordplay, but wow, in life he is a master of wordplay.

It’s dizzying. Romeo is up to the task and keeps right up with Mercutio (boy, you’d have to watch yourself around these guys… I bet I set myself up there using the word “up” if they’d been around to pun off me!). They’re having a lot of fun. Romeo (playing on Mercutio’s last words) says:

Swits and spurs, swits and spurs! or I’ll cry a
match.
(II.4.68-69)

My edition’s note says that means “keep your horse (wit) running fast” or Romeo will claim victory (“cry a match”). Whew!

Benvolio always seems a bit left out of the back and forth and uncomfortable with it. He finally sees Mercutio going off too far (involving “bauble in a hole”) and says “Stop there, stop there!” (II.4.92). It makes me think of poor Mr. Knox again:

I can’t blab such blibber blubber!
My tongue isn’t made of rubber.

And just like Seuss’s fox, Mercutio is a man possessed and CANNOT BE STOPPED. He goes on punning off of poor Benvolio’s own innocent words (“whole depth of my tale”). Yee gods.

And then! And then… oh my, Juliet’s Nurse arrives on the scene! Seriously, I can hardly catch my breath from all the wordplay and dirty jokes and then she comes in and Mercutio is just merciless on her. She is dumb (like a fox?) and plays unknowingly (?) right into Mercutio’s jokes (II.4.100-142). Oh my, oh my. “Saucy merchant” and “scurvy knave,” indeed! Whew! (By the way, I find this scene in the Zeffirelli movie really funny.)

Oh. My. Oh. My. And the Nurse is no innocent herself when it comes to sexual puns. She has many bawdy lines, although the notes in my edition say these are often unintentional puns. I wonder about the Nurse. She plays an interesting stupid/savvy character. Anyhow, look at her go!

O, he is even in my mistress’ case,
Just in her case! O woeful sympathy!
Piteous predicament! Even so lies she,
Blubb’ring and weeping, weeping and blubb’ring.
Stand up, stand up! Stand, an you be a man.
For Juliet’s sake, for her sake, rise and stand!
Why should you fall into so deep an O?
(III.3.84-90)

The puns are on words like “O,” “case,” “rise and stand,” etc. Yep.

They sure are all having a lot of fun in the pun. I find them funny/tiresome. It’s just too much for me, in many ways. But again, I wonder if that’s mainly because it’s so much work for me to decipher them and I’m sure I still don’t appreciate the jokes the way they were intended back then. How do you all like the puns?

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Reading Shakespeare

February 26, 2010 at 10:51 pm (Asides, Romeo and Juliet) (, , , , , )

I’m reading Shakespeare tonight! Just wanted to share some thoughts about it.

I really enjoy the language of Shakespeare. I know that it’s a barrier to a lot of people… the Elizabethan English turns them off from even making the attempt. For me, there is a real beauty to the words themselves and the rhythms and rhymes. It has been a very long time (over 20 years) since I’ve read Shakespeare, and I am enjoying it a lot.

If you have never taken the time to read Shakespeare for enjoyment (I know most people have to do it for a class somewhere along the line, but that’s different), I really recommend it. Plays are short. They’re meant to be performed in a couple hours, and although it takes me longer than that to read through one, it’s still shorter than a modern novel. So, there’s really not much time commitment involved in reading a single play.

I started with Romeo and Juliet, because it’s one of the most well-known plays. See my Reading Order for more information… the archived blog post there: “An Overview of Shakespeare’s Work and a Few Words of Advice for the New Reader” is really interesting and makes a lot of sense to me about progressing through the plays in a sensible way.

So, R&J may be a good place to start because the basic story is familiar. That said, it’s not necessarily the easiest play to read. I blame Mercutio. He is such a nut. If you knew him in real life, he’d be one of those people you shake your head at. You can just see Romeo and Benvolio grimacing at this guy’s dirty jokes. His incessant punning is a little mind-numbing, and I tire myself out reading the footnotes to figure out his silly double entendres. Really, my advice to a new reader might be to “yada, yada” through Mercutio. He’s funny and witty and all, but I think the rest of the play is much easier to read.

Anyway, as for reading Shakespeare in general… I like to read through a play once to get the lay of the land, a feel for the story line, and read through the footnotes to get the basics down. Then I read the play a second time for enjoyment… listening to the language and noticing the ins and outs of themes and characters that maybe were not evident on first reading.

I’m not saying I’ll read through all the plays twice now, but it is how I like to read Shakespeare’s work… twice in quick succession. That way, on the second read-through, I don’t need to look at the footnotes again, interrupting the rhythm and flow of the words. Because they’re plays, and relatively brief, it’s really not that big a time commitment to read them twice (and the second time goes faster since I can skip the footnotes).

Shoot, I recently read The Terror for my book club, and THAT was a time commitment! Shakespeare offers a lot of bang for your reading buck, I believe. That’s part of my love of these works. Each play is a little gem… everything—plots, themes, character development—is  accomplished succinctly (and poetically!).

So, I’m reading Romeo and Juliet tonight. And enjoying it. And as I read, I’m thinking about plans for this blog. I do not have a grand plan… I just want to read the plays and get to know them. I want to watch film adaptations as I’ve been doing the last couple weeks. And I’d like to go see some live performances when I can.

But what will I blog about as I read the plays? I think first I’ll post a quick and dirty summary of each play, so that people who are unfamiliar with the story lines can still follow my blog. Maybe my summaries will encourage people to read the actual plays? I hope so.

Then, I’ll just write about whatever strikes me in the play I’m reading. With Romeo and Juliet, I think I will probably talk about various characters, the annoying punning of Mercutio, the instant and complete switch in Romeo’s love interest from Rosaline to Juliet. We’ll see what else I feel like writing about.

I welcome any suggestions and discussion… I definitely want to immerse myself in each play. I want to take as long as I feel like with each play and return to it when I feel like. I have no goal other than to read through all the plays, share what I learn here, and talk about it with you!

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