Recent Shakespeare Scholarship

Recent Shakespeare Scholarship

Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, spoiler alert, it’s a tragedy, Romeo and Juliet?

There’s a bit early on, and the way it was explained to me? It was normal for Italian families to get married at 13 or 14 years old, and certainly by 16.

But saying o’er what I have said before:
My child is yet a stranger in the world,
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years;
Let two more summers wither in their pride,
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.

(Old Man) Capulet to (Prince) Paris, act 1, scene 2, lines 7–11 –

I was a bit surprised, but in reflection, it makes perfect sense, when Emma Smith’s lecture series stated that it was as much a shock to Elizabethan audiences as it is to more modern viewers. Current supposition includes that most folks got married a little later than that.

Paris answers that teen pregnancies weren’t uncommon, so the question remained in my mind, was it normal? The idea of an arranged marriage, not without some good qualities, sure, not unheard of. To preserve a dynasty, or cement a political alliance? Not unheard of, not just in semi-royalty in fair Verona, but usually between countries.

Recent Shakespeare Scholarship

Cursory searches with various terms didn’t turn up any substantiating evidence, either way. Best I got is tattered memories of teachers teaching it was OK to marry at 13 in Renaissance Italy.

I suspect the truth is closer to it was OK to use a daughter to help increase one’s empire.

Those crazy Italians, huh?

Portable Mercury Retrograde

The connection? Mercury in Retrograde and Romeo and Juliet, the play?

#Juliet

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