Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Romeo Essays (1690 words) - Characters In Romeo And Juliet
Romeo And Juliet Ever since the publications of the good quarto, published in 1599, Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, has been one of the classics of Western literature (Evans 1093). In being this, it has been produced many different times, in many different ways. I will be discussing how the production of this great play has changed over time. First, though, I will supply a little background for the play. The stories of two star-crossed lovers and forbidden passion are not new to literature. There were many works before Romeo and Juliet from which Shakespeare borrowed. Some of these include Mosuccio of Salerno in his 1476 work, Il Novellin o, Luigi da Proto with his Istoria . . .di due nobili Amanti, in about 1530, and Arthur Brooke's three thousand line poem titled The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, published in 1562 (Evans 1055). All of these had the same themes as Romeo and Juliet. This borrowing of ideas and loose use of the text continued in the manner in which the play has been produced. In 1745 and 1750 David Garrick direct several productions of Romeo and Juliet (Branam 170). In these productions he made several changed to both the way the characters are presented and to the play itself. In a 1748 text, Garrick wrote a note To the Reader: The alterations in the following play are few and trifling, except in the last act; the design was to clear the Original, as much as possible from the Jingle and the Quibble, which were always thought the great objections to reviving it (qtd. In Branam 173). Garrick uses several means to remove the Jingle and Quibble from the play (Branam 173). Where he thought the rhyme and wordplay to be excessive he would compact it. For example the long drawn out exchange between Samson and Gregory in the first scene is compressed to four lines: Sam. Gregory, I strike quickly, being mov'd. Gred. But thou are not quickly mov'd to strike. Sam. A dog of the house of Montague moves. Greg. Draw thy tool then, for here come of that house. (qtd. In Branam 173) Garrick also took liberty with Romeo's lyrical nature. He shortened many of Romeo's lines in order to dull it somewhat. For example, Garrick shortens: Why such is love's transgression. Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast; Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. From act one, scene one, to: Which thou wilt propagate with more of thine; This love, that thou hast shewn in my concern, Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. in his 1748 text (Branam 173-174). In reading the play the rhyme is missed, but in watching a performance the mood is more set by the interaction of the two lovers, then the actual words. Another change that Garrick made, albeit reluctantly and under pressure, was the complete removal of Rosaline from the play. In 1784 he explains: Many people have imagin'd that the sudden change of Romeo's Love from Rosaline to Juliet was a blemish in his Character, but alteration of that kind was thought too bold to be attempted; Shakespear [sic.] has dwelt particularly upon it, and so great a judge of human nature, knew that to be young and inconstant was extremely natural (qtd. In Branam 177). Garrick's largest, and most prominent, change was in modifying the tomb scene. Here Garrick borrows from Thomas Otwayis History and Fall of Caius Marius, published in 1679 and based on Romeo and Juliet (Branam 174). In Shakespeare's original work the act of the poison on Romeo is almost instantaneous, but in Garrick's new rendition the poison acts slowly. This gives new light to both Romeo and Juliet's characters. Garrick designed the scene to be more tragic then the original play. In this rendition, Romeo sees Juliet and she speaks to him: I now remember well Each circumstance ? Oh my lord, my Romeo! Had'st thou not come, sure I slept for ever: But there's a sovereign charm in thy embraces That can revive the dead ? Oh honest Friar! ? Romeo is filled with joy seeing his love alive, but suddenly realizes the horror of the situation and is overcome by it. Juliet continues: Dost thou avoid me, Romeo? let me touch Thy hand. And taste the cordial of thy lips ? You fright me ? speak ? (qtd.