Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 4, Scenes 1-3


i'm baaaaack! we are home safe and sound, and while i do not have my trusty Complete Works with me (it's still in Los Angeles), i do happen to have a copy of Romeo and Juliet at home. phew! i don't really like reading things online (ironic, right?) so it's going to be rough if i finish this play before my book arrives, but i will certainly make do! alright, let's get this ball rolling again!

act 4, scene 1
Paris is at Friar Laurence's cell, asking him to marry himself and Juliet on Thursday. apparently no one has told him that Juliet's not interested. the friar doesn't quite know how to handle the situation. he tries to wriggle out of it, but ends up having to say yes. Juliet shows up. Paris tries to connect with her, but Juliet slyly maneuvers through the conversation, avoiding both warmth and injury. once Paris is gone, Juliet expresses her anguish to Friar Laurence. (see quote below.) Laurence has an idea: she should go back home and agree to marry Paris the next day. when she goes to bed, she will take a potion from a vial that he has there for her. this potion will make her appear to bed dead for a number of hours, although she will actually only be asleep. she will avoid a wedding and receive a funeral. when she wakes up, Romeo will be there. Laurence will send a letter to him. then Romeo and Juliet can go to Mantua together and live happily ever after. it sounds crazy, but that's his plan. and Juliet agrees to do it.

act 4, scene 2
Juliet approaches her parents and Nurse to tell them that she has decided to marry Paris. they are over the moon with joy. Juliet asks Nurse to go with her to help her get her things ready, and the Capulets plan how to throw the rest of the plans together by morning.

act 4, scene 3
Juliet and Nurse are in her room, finishing their preparations. Lady Capulet arrives just in time for Juliet to ask them both to leave her alone for the evening. they leave, and Juliet is finally alone. she takes out her vial, but before she can drink it, she begins to panic. what if the plan falls through? she imagines many ways that it will fail (but of course not the way in which it does, in fact, fail), but eventually takes the drink anyway. she lays on the bed and immediately drifts into a deep sleep.

i really can't believe that Juliet is going to let everyone think she's dead. her parents only have one kid! that is DEVASTATING! for all she knows, her mom could kill HERself over something like this. unless i missed it (possible), she doesn't really consider how much suffering others may go through. she could just run away in the middle of the night. she's have a considerable lead on them. she and Romeo could be out of Italy and free and easy. i guess maybe she thinks that would bring too much shame on her family? and being dead would be better? or maybe the friar thinks that? what grown man helps a 13 year old fake her death? that is intense. that is a BIG lie for a man of God. this is one. crazy. mess.

Paris is such an interesting character. he could be portrayed so many ways, and i have seen him played vastly differently in film and onstage. i think i have most commonly seen him as kind of an ass, buffoon, annoying type. my favorite portrayal of him, however, was in Luhrmann's film version. Paul Rudd played Paris as this clueless dork. he was completely likeable, and yet you did NOT want Juliet to end up with him. brilliant. love that. check it out.

Juliet is sharp, man. check out scene 1 to see some sweet wit. the way she verbally dances around Paris is pretty awesome.

quote of the day:
'o, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
from off the battlements of any tower,
or walk in thievish ways, or bid me lurk
where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears,
or hide me nightly in a charnel house,
o'ercovered quite with dead men's rattling bones,
with reeky shanks and yellow chopless skulls;
or bid me go into a new-made grave
and hide me with a dead man in his tomb--
things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble--
and i will do it without fear or doubt,
to live an unstained wife to my sweet love.'
   -Juliet; act 4, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 4, scenes 4 & 5

-rebecca may

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