A fi nal theme that Romeo and Juliet considers is the meaning of gender In

A fi nal theme that romeo and juliet considers is the

This preview shows page 32 - 38 out of 243 pages.

A fi nal theme that Romeo and Juliet considers is the meaning of gender. In particular, the play depicts a variety of versions of masculinity. One example is Mercutio, the showy male bird, who enjoys quarrel- ing, fencing, and joking. Mercutio has de fi nite ideas about what masculinity should look like. He criti- cizes Tybalt for being too interested in his clothes and Clare Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1998 film Romeo + Juliet. Everett Collection
Image of page 32
Introduction to Romeo and Juliet 23 for speaking with a fake accent. Similarly, Mercutio suggests that Romeo s love-melancholy is effeminate, while his more sociable self is properly masculine. Mercutio is happiest when Romeo rejoins his witty, crazy group of male friends: Now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo; now art thou art, by art as well as by nature (II.4.89-90). Romeo s masculinity is constantly questioned. Following Mercutio s death, for example, Romeo fears that his love for Juliet has effeminized him: Thy beauty hath made me effeminate / And in my temper soften d valour s steel (III.1.116-117). He worries that his reputation as a man is stain d (III.1.113). When Romeo is banished from Verona, the Friar accuses Romeo of being an [u]nseemly woman in a seeming man and says that his tears are womanish (III.3.109-111). What is the proper role for a man? Romeo and Juliet seems to suggest that violence isn t it. Mediat- ing between Mercutio s violent temper and Romeo s passivity, the Prince is possibly the best model of masculine behavior in the play: Impartial and fair, he also opposes civil violence.
Image of page 33
24 Characters in the Play Tybalt Nurse Lady Capulet Paris Prince Escalus Peter Sampson Gregory Lord Capulet Abram kills Mercutio loves marries Romeo & Juliet aids Juliet by faking her death engaged to serves serves father of Balthasar serves serves serves seeks comfort from cousin of friend of cousin of mother of Juliet kinsman to kinsman to Romeo mother of father of Lady Montague Lord Montague Mercutio Benvolio Friar Laurence CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY
Image of page 34
CLIFFSCOMPLETE ROMEO AND JULIET ACT I Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Scene 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Scene 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Scene 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Scene 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Scene 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Romeo If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this; My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. Juliet Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers kiss.
Image of page 35
Image of page 36
CliffsComplete Romeo and Juliet Act I, Prologue 27 Act I, Prologue This introduction to the play emphasizes the power of fate over the lives of Romeo and Juliet, who are to some extent the victims of their parents’ strife. Their love is described as being “death-marked.” As in Greek tragedy, fate hovers over all.
Image of page 37
Image of page 38

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 243 pages?

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes