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cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: melanie (66.0.9.---)
Date: October 09, 2004 01:51PM

What was the cause of the fued between the Capulets and Montagues? In which of Shakespeare's poems is this cause found?


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: October 09, 2004 02:13PM

melanie, we have a whole homework section going unused.

Thumb-biting

"In Act I, scene I, the buffoonish Samson begins a brawl between the Montagues and Capulets by flicking his thumbnail from behind his upper teeth, an insulting gesture known as biting the thumb. He engages in this juvenile and vulgar display because he wants to get into a fight with the Montagues but doesn’t want to be accused of starting the fight by making an explicit insult. Because of his timidity, he settles for being annoying rather than challenging. The thumb-biting, as an essentially meaningless gesture, represents the foolishness of the entire Capulet/Montague feud and the stupidity of violence in general."

But to the point of your question, it's not a poem by Shakespeare, but a play.
Go here:

[www.sparknotes.com] />

Les



Post Edited (10-09-04 13:20)


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: October 09, 2004 08:30PM

[www.sicilianculture.com] />
more on hand gestures...don't be making these now in my direction !


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: October 12, 2004 07:12PM

FUNNY, I NEVER EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BEFORE. What a great question!

I don't think the CAUSE of the feud is ever specified in Shakespeare's play -- though it may be made clear in the old Italian source material.

It would have been easy to work it in somewhere. E.g., when Paris sees Romeo at the Capulets' party and reports to Lord Capulet, he could say, "One of those lousy Montagues who cheated us out of the mineral rights to the north forty!"

So that means Shakespeare CHOSE to say nothing about the cause, which is like saying there IS NO CAUSE. There may have been an incident at some point in the past, but at the time when the play begins, it's been going on for so long that it has become a mere exchange of insults and assaults.

There's a new biography of Shakespeare out: WILL IN THE WORLD by Stephen Greenblatt -- I haven't read it yet, but just the stuff covered in the New Yorker's review is staggering. Greenblatt points out that in several cases where Shakespeare adapted a previous work, he TOOK OUT elements that explained people's motivations. For example, in the source material Iago goes after Othello because he's in love with Desdemona. TOO SIMPLE! quoth the Bard, and made Iago a complicated mess. In the source material, Hamlet plays mad because he's underage when his father is killed and he needs to stay alive until he's old enough to claim the throne for himself. Shakespeare takes away this simple motivation and makes Hamlet more complicated.

Perhaps this is another example. Maybe in the Italian tale, the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues was over something very specific, but Shakespeare wasn't interested in a quarrel that could be settled. He was interested in how quarrels develop into antagonisms that are passed along to generations that don't even remember the cause.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: October 12, 2004 07:16PM

FUNNY, I NEVER EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BEFORE. What a great question!

I don't think the CAUSE of the feud is ever specified in Shakespeare's play -- though it may be made clear in the old Italian source material.

It would have been easy to work it in somewhere. E.g., when Paris sees Romeo at the Capulets' party and reports to Lord Capulet, he could say, "One of those lousy Montagues who cheated us out of the mineral rights to the north forty!"

So that means Shakespeare CHOSE to say nothing about the cause, which is like saying there IS NO CAUSE. There may have been an incident at some point in the past, but at the time when the play begins, it's been going on for so long that it has become a mere exchange of insults and assaults.

There's a new biography of Shakespeare out: WILL IN THE WORLD by Stephen Greenblatt -- I haven't read it yet, but just the stuff covered in the New Yorker's review is staggering. Greenblatt points out that in several cases where Shakespeare adapted a previous work, he TOOK OUT elements that explained people's motivations. For example, in the source material Iago goes after Othello because he's in love with Desdemona. TOO SIMPLE! quoth the Bard, and made Iago a complicated mess. In the source material, Hamlet plays mad because he's underage when his father is killed and he needs to stay alive until he's old enough to claim the throne for himself. Shakespeare takes away this simple motivation and makes Hamlet more complicated.

Perhaps this is another example. Maybe in the Italian tale, the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues was over something very specific, but Shakespeare wasn't interested in a quarrel that could be settled. He was interested in how quarrels develop into antagonisms that are passed along to generations that don't even remember the cause.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: October 12, 2004 07:23PM


CORRECTION: It's Tybalt, not Paris, who reports seeing Romeo at the party.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: peternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: October 13, 2004 06:02AM

I like the way your mind works

Peter




**************************************
happenstance is all we have on our side


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: October 13, 2004 12:30PM

WILL IN THE WORLD by Stephen Greenblatt

Thanks, M. The libraries here in ABQ are not as complete as those in Maryland, but they appear to have a copy on order, which I have reserved.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: October 13, 2004 02:38PM

I have no specific evidence, other than my Italian background which suggests that an invitation for a Montague to a Capulet wedding or communion party got lost in the mail, and they were "highly insulted"

Seriously, this type of stuff goes on ALL THE TIME !


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: October 13, 2004 04:40PM

"Seriously, this type of stuff goes on ALL THE TIME !"

How true! I was talking to my dad about Greenblatt and the unstated origin of the feud in R&J, and he mentioned a routine by the actor and comedian Hershel Bernardi. A child says, "Mommy, WHY do you never speak to Aunt Sylvia?" And the mother says, "Don't ask"--which means (according to Bernardi) that she doesn't even remember why.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Pam Adams (134.71.192.---)
Date: October 13, 2004 08:20PM

Well, you see the Capulets were always talking really loudly on their cell phones...........

pam


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: peternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: October 13, 2004 09:16PM

Yes, Pam, the quality of communications seems to have been a lively issue around town, like in "'Romeo,'' Romeo', Wherefore art thou 'Romeo'?"
and " Arose by any other..." etc. Dertainly, "You got my number. Give me a ring."


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Pam Adams (134.71.192.---)
Date: October 13, 2004 09:32PM

I believe that 'Wherefore art thou...' is not 'Where are you,' but 'WHY are you Romeo, and not some other guy that my parents would be okay with?'

Perhaps in the modern version, she sends Romeo a text message to let him know she's not really dead.



pam


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: peternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: October 13, 2004 10:32PM

I know my why's and my wherefore's, no worry.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: October 14, 2004 08:04PM

"Shakespeare's first-hand source was Englishman Arthur Brooke's long narrative poem The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet published in 1562 and reprinted in 1587."

Found this on line, but the essay doesn't mention anything about the cause of the feud in Brooke's poem. It does offer some comparison of the two works. (Brooke BAD. Shakespeare GOOD.)

It's at:

[www.shakespearedc.org]


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: October 15, 2004 12:04PM

Everybody's got the fever, that is something you all know
Fever isn't such a new thing, fever started long ago.
Romeo loved Juliet, Juliet she felt the same
When he put his arms around her, he said "Julie baby you're my flame"
Thou givest fever, when we kisseth, fever with thy flaming youth
Fever - I'm afire, fever yea I burn forsooth.

(You give me Fever)


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: glenda (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: October 15, 2004 06:16PM

God bless Peggy Lee.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: October 21, 2004 02:37PM

I wrote in this thread that surely the source material must have specified the cause of the feud -- BUT IT DOESN'T!

Arthur Brooke (or Broke)
The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet

(1562 English version of something in Italian)

Here's some of the second stanza, from the abridged version provided in the "New Cambridge Shakespeare" version of ROMEO AND JULIET:


 There were two aucient stockes, which Fortune high dyd place
 Above the rest, indewd with welth, and nobler of their race.
 Loved of [by] the common sort, loved of the Prince alike:
 And like unhappy were they both, when Fortune list to strike.
 Whose prayse with equall blast, fame in her trumpet blew:
 The one was cliped [named] Capelet, and thother Montagew.
 A wonted use it is, that men of likely sorte
 (I wot not by what furye forsd) envye eche others porte.
 So these, whose egall state bred envye pale of hew,
 And then of grudging envyes roote, blacke hate and rancor grewe.
 As of a little sparke, oft ryseth mighty fyre,
 So of a kyndled sparke of grudge, in flames flashe out thyr yre.
 And then theyr deadly foode, first hatchd of trifling stryfe,
 Did bathe in bloud of smarting woundes ....

=========================

And that's all the explanation there is. So here (as in Shakespeare's play) all we learn is that the feud is fierce and the cause is unknown to the author and certainly irrelevant to the lovers' predicament.

I haven't read the whole thing, but can say after glancing through it that the story is essentially the same, right down to Juliet's mother suggesting marriage as a way of getting Juliet out of her depression.

Here's Romeo buying poison:

 An Apothecary sate unbusied at his doore,
 Whom by his heavy countenaunce he [Romeo] gessed to be poore...
 Wherefore our Romeus assuredly hath thought,
 What by no frendship could be got, with money could be bought.
 For nedy lacke is lyke the poore man to compell,
 To sell that which the cities lawe forbiddeth him to sell.

The Friar has a concluding speech which ends:

   .... among the monuments that in Verona been,
 There is no monument more worthy of the sight,
 Than is the tombe of Juliet, and Romeus her knight.

One DIFFERENCE I noticed is that the lovers have three months together (really together) before Romeus gets banished. How very Shakespearean (as Greenblatt sees it) to condense it into a single night! And where Shakespeare makes that one night go by in a flash, this source poem says that on their last night together "eche howre seemes twenty yere."

==================

One more observation: There have been discussions, on this forum, of the great FLEXIBILITY in spelling that formerly prevailed. Notice the various spellings (above) of the word THEIR !

M


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: October 22, 2004 10:35AM

Well, clearly they envied each other's porte, so someone was peeking in the pissoir.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: October 22, 2004 12:24PM

Someone said Copulat and then someone said Montescru and there ya go


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: October 22, 2004 01:13PM

I misspoke a bit.

It's not that the cause is UNKNOWN. The cause is KNOWN to be some trivial thing that ignited the "grudging envyes," which are human nature.

The "sparke" could indeed have been an invitation lost in the mail--but if it wasn't that, it would have been something else.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: October 22, 2004 02:18PM

I think you are "correcte"


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: October 22, 2004 02:36PM

You don't suppose one of the families stole a pig from the other, do you? Oh, never mind - that was the Hatfield & McCoy feud.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: October 22, 2004 02:38PM

Jimmy Joe Romeo
and Julie Ellie May


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: November 25, 2004 09:13PM

WILL IN THE WORLD by Stephen Greenblatt ...

Well, the local library finally turned up a copy and I read it this week. Most fascinating, I have to say.

The subject of whether Shakespeare wrote the various works is not discussed, but one comes away with the feeling that Greenblatt has no doubt it was the gent from Stratford who wielded the pen. He does not go into any detail about how he thinks the lowly lad from the provinces got so smart so quick, but he does mention that Shakespeare availed himself of books available from a printer he knew, Richard Field. Also, many peers were there in London to be learned from, although it does not seem Will frequented the Mermaid Tavern or other such haunts.

The section on the sonnets is quite interesting, speculation being that Lord Burghley wanted Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southhampton, to marry his granddaughter, which HW (not WH) refused to do. Shakespeare was said to have been paid to write some verses to convince Henry to marry (and have children). Fits the theme of the first few sonnets, right.

Turns out WS did lift the Venus & Adonis stanza from Thomas Lodge's Scylla's Metamorphosis, which was news to me. And, Shakespeare worked up a coat of arms for himself, the motto being NON SANZ DROICHT (badly spelled French for 'not without right', the importance of which I don't quite follow). The now famous iambic pentameter blank verse so frequently used he borrowed from Chris Marlowe's Tamburlaine.

Walter Ralegh's first name was pronounced 'water', btw.

Of special interest was the author's idea that Shakespeare learned how to do 'strategic opacity' (different from opaqueness, I guess), where he did not make riddles for his readers, but merely intended a 'resonant echoing of key terms' to evoke images by his audience. I remember thinking about Peter's recent posting, and it seemed to me that was what he was shooting for in the 'middle ground' piece. How can one get exactly the right opacity to strike the correct response in a reader? No clue.

Lots of history came with the book, the then-current and past battles between Catholicism & Protestantism (Catholic Elizabeth), with people being hanged, drawn and quartered, and other atrocities. James I had a phobia about witchcraft, which led to scenes in Macbeth, as another historical example.

Lots of information about Will's personal life, with more speculation about why Anne Hathaway was left with only the 2nd best bed, and Susanna getting the bulk of the estate.

Anyway, thanks for the heads up - I truly enjoyed it!


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: November 26, 2004 04:57AM

I always wondered whether the second best bed to the wife and the rest of the estate to the daughter was an early way of avoiding the Tudor equivalent of Inheritance Tax - Anne must have been getting on a bit when Will died, so may not have needed much .


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: November 26, 2004 10:23AM

Actually, Greenblatt makes the case that Will purposely kept Anne from getting any of his wealth or property, although the reason is unclear. He left Anne in Stratford all those years he was in London, never even inviting her for a visit, so something was clearly wrong between the two.

I see I have Elizabeth I above with the wrong religion. In fact, she re-established Protestantism in England, and the then pope (Clement? I forget) declared it would not be a mortal sin to kill her.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: summer (---.cvx.algx.net)
Date: January 21, 2005 10:39PM

anyone know any website where the entire "tragicall historye of romeus and juliet" by arthur brooke can be found? this would be most helpful!


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: January 23, 2005 08:29AM

Have come to this thread late, and am unqualified to add anything illuminating. Good question. Fascinating responses, particularly from Marian-NYC.

Something read long ago suggests the original quarrel might have been over money:

'Twas in a cafe that they met
Young Romeo and Juliet.
He had no cash to pay his debt,
So Romeowed what Juliet.

Seriously, I must order that Greenblatt book.

Ian


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: January 23, 2005 11:56AM

And Montagrew what Capulet? I'm not touching the 'goo' pun.


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Wendy_Lynn (---.eastlink.ca)
Date: February 21, 2005 10:38AM

Um.. can anyone give me a link to an online source containing Arthur Brooke's "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet".
Thanks
-W


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: sam the man (202.47.53.---)
Date: March 11, 2005 11:20PM

AHA! FOUND IT! the entire transcript of brooke's 'masterpiece'

[www.clicknotes.com] />
enjoy!


Re: cause of Capulets and Montague's fued in Shakespeare's poem
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: March 13, 2005 10:51AM

Very interesting, thanks. He is saying they merely envied each others' station in life?

[www.clicknotes.com] />
A wonted use it is, that men of likely sort,
(I wot not by what fury forced) envy each other's port.
So these, whose egall state bred envy pale of hue,
And then, of grudging envy's root, black hate and rancour grew

Reading the introduction, it appears to have originally been intended as another one of those 'morality' plays, how the (lusting) youngsters should have listened to their parents and friends.

[www.clicknotes.com]




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