Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Fairytale factor

I keep reading and watching Romeo & Juliet. I keep reading and watching Romeo & Juliet with a sense of hope that this time it will be different and everything will work out fine. I suspect I am developing a new and unusual problem.

12 comments:

TimT said...

Let me guess, it starts out like Romeo and Juliet but it ends up in tragedy?

Dale Slamma said...

To what 'it' are you referring?
If by 'it' you mean my new and unusual problem of hoping for a different ending in something that was written five billion years ago then um, what?

TimT said...

I hear that the way Shakespeare originally intended it, Romeo elopes with Claire Danes, and Juliet is left with a choice between Leonardo da Caprio or Mercutio, and goes for 'none of the above'.

TimT said...

By 'it' I meant the play.

What do you think about the argument I read a while ago on the net that they're just a couple of kids, and the relationship would never have lasted if they'd both survived?

Dale Slamma said...

Well.. I can't help but wonder if it should have been a comedy. The whole thing is so ridiculous. A farce really just like an I Love Lucy episode but with more killing and dying.

TimT said...

That's like what my lecturer at uni argued. That it had a strong comic element to it, and that the big dramatic change was from comedy to tragedy at some point halfway through the play.

I think that makes a lot of sense, to me the play is heightened realism - the characters are more ideal than we'd encounter in real life. Romeo wrongs Juliet by killing Tybalt, but in doing so he also proves that he is uncommonly courageous - there is virtue in his vice, and vice in his virtue. It works in the drama. That's why I think their love is believable, if not very likely in real life.

And going back to your point, this sort of working with ideals is common to comedy as well as tragedy.

There are comic elements in a lot of Shakespeare's tragedies. Comic violence, as befits the times.

Dale Slamma said...

Ah yes. That makes sense but what I keep wondering is why do I and possibly others keep watching this play year after year and find it no less moving? I think in my case it is because I watch it, or read it, with a sense of hope or misplaced optimism. This might require some extra pondering.

I do wish that Shakespeare had been included in my university studies.

TimT said...

Maybe because it's the iconic romance of western culture, and we know about it even before we know it? I must have seen parody renditions of Romeo and Juliet scenes on umpteen television shows before I had any idea what the play was actually about. Hence the Milhouse quote from the Simpsons in my first comment.

And damn, look at my comment number six, it's like a bad student essay!

Dale Slamma said...

Hmmm. Iconic yes. Pondering.

Ah come on now, your comment was like a good student essay. It had punctuation and everything. I've read essays that don't make any sense, no meaning in them at all.

TimT said...

Ah, the student essay. A sadly unneglected literary form. It could do with a bit more neglect.

nailpolishblues said...

I had a tutor - much like Tim's lecturer - who was big on R&J being ready as a bawdy. I've never been able to see the tragedy since.

Dale Slamma said...

Might be time for a new production of it. Would be interesting to see it played that way.