Romeo and Juliet with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest


[Intro: essay 2]


Romeo and Juliet is the first great tragedy of Shakespeare, and about the eighth or ninth play that he produced, in about 1594. It is an Italian tragedy showing the nature of love more clearly than any other portrait. The love of Romeo and Juliet is somehow the truest ever shown, and the truth of every true love. As an Italian tragedy, it is paired with the Italian “comedy” of The Tempest, at the beginning and the end of Shakespeare’s very precise career. In time, the play is paired with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it is with the production of these two that the immortal Shakespeare works begin to be produced. That the nature of love is shown in a tragedy touches on an important question about divine things when these appear in the world. Jesus and Socrates too are killed, by mankind and the city, somewhat as Romeo and Juliet are killed by the city and the family. In each case, on three different levels, the law is seized and used to put the divine to death, as a thing too much in contrast with the world, or humanity as we find it, dominated by violence and appetite. Romeo and Juliet is also the peak event of the movement called Romanticism, the flowering of a development that presents an argument about love in the context of the medieval world, or the Biblical tradition of the Western world, from Italy. We will try to show here, amid a reading of the text of the play, that as the Apology presents an argument for the acceptance of philosophy by the city, so Romeo and Juliet presents an argument for the acceptance of romantic love by a British-led Western Civilization.


The event of Romeo and Juliet actually occurred, about 1302, in Verona, and was related in an Italian history translated by Arthur Brooke and used by Shakespeare as a source of the play. As usual in reading Shakespeare, the Shakespearean additions are an important indication of the purpose of the dramatist. The principal characters and events are all there in the story, while scenes like the palm dance, upon the meeting of the lovers, and events like the killing of Paris on the porch of the tomb, are Shakespearean additions. This is not to mention the Shakespearean addition of the poetry and the speeches. But Romeo and Juliet is then in a way a history play. The action of a few months is famously telescoped or encapsulated into as many days by Shakespeare, where the haste and rapidity of the tragic events imitates the intensity and haste of love, and emphasizes the fated or un-opposable wave of the events. The tragedy, though, often and at many points seems avoidable, but fortune seems to go wrong wherever it might.

[2016] These two pays are at the beginning and the end of both Shakespeare’s Italian plays and his career. The Italian plays in general are especially the Christian plays, with especially Christian themes, or the themes of modern religion. Romeo and Juliet, as will be shown, is a tragedy based on the image of God in the soul reflected even in romantic love. The Tempest is a “comedy” or action that works out well, and so shows how the things of love might be governed so as to avoid tragedy.


Mrs. Wasserman, in her Shakespeare class at Grand Valley (1982?) identifies four views of love presented in the play. To the servants in the opening scene, and the Nurse, love is understood “at its most physical,” the bawdy, physical aspect. Romeo at the opening of play, “in love with love” is a different view. Then there is the “gamester” understanding of love of Mercutio, as a sophisticated sport. Fourth there is the social or parental view of love as a matter for the elders to manage. Opposed to all these four there is a special world that Romeo and Juliet create, where love is self-justifying, transcendent, and speaks in the language of eternity. Love is for always, defiant of time itself, a lasting and timeless unity that does not have to answer to anything else. She notes that at the end of the play, no one knows about this world. While there are precursors in Petrarchan love or Dante, where Beatrice assists the ascent of the poet to paradise, it is “not impossible to say that romantic love was discovered in 1550 in Italy.” There then arose with the romantics “almost a cult of love.” Love is “a clue to what is most worthwhile in life and best in human nature.” The lover transcends the passions and is elevated from the passions to reason and sensitivity. In the Western world, there is the “doctrine of the ladder of love,” where love between two or love at first sight is a sort of first step on the ladder of a spiritual ascent. So, she asks, “are they Petrarchan lovers? Are they made better? Are they ennobled?”

One of the intelligible things about love is the condition of being suddenly alive, inspired to become worthy of the love, and so inspired to virtue. And this is an indication of the true presence of love, and there are other indications we will consider below. This is a genuine en-thusiasm, a fact that everyone acknowledges, but none can explain. It is not necessarily only irrational, but can be a great inspiration to reason, though it is fair to call it a kind of divine madness, as discussed in Plato’s Phaedrus, where it is one sent by the gods for the benefit of both the lover and beloved.

It is an anomaly of Western civilization that the highest theoretical understanding of love is Greek, and homosexual, at least until Shakespeare. The Biblical presentation in the Song of Solomon is the only competitor, for about two thousand years. There are love tragedies among the Greeks that are “hetero-sexual,” as we would say with our scientized language.

The similarity of some of the poetry in Romeo and Juliet to the Shakespearean sonnets indicates that there is a Shakespearean argument that opens the study that is the Italian plays, an argument about love that sharply distinguishes the Shakespearean understanding of the soul from the medieval, and indeed from anything before. The first 17 Sonnets too take up the attempt to persuade one like Romeo’s Rosaline from the chaste to the fertile life. The Sonnets are distinct from the plays in that here, the poet speaks in his own voice. The meeting of Romeo and Juliet is a sonnet of fourteen lines, and it seems clear elsewhere too that Shakespeare may be drawing from an old poem book of his own, or that Romeo may be taken from a young Shakespeare. Poems like these do not arise at once when one sits to write a drama, but come from a personal poem book of which the sonnets are the extract. These are a development of the Petrarchan sonnets, so one might imagine a young Shakespeare reading Petrarch and pursuing love. The Shakespearean development of Petrarch regarding love is also, we will show, a development of the Biblical tradition. Bloom writes:


Christian Europe, of course, has an ambivalent or ambiguous history so far as love goes, but certainly the official position deprecates erotic love in favor of Christian love or agape. This is a question that interests Shakespeare greatly.


(Love and Friendship, p. 274)


Between the crossed stars of the ancient family hatred and the daimon (or impersonal force) which sweeps the innocent lovers, the play shows something like a war between love and death in the realm of the spirits or collective unconscious which possesses the characters in the play. It is less a tragedy of character and more a tragedy of fate than other tragedies. Love itself, rather than the individuals, is perhaps the sacrificial tragic character. Finally these warring influences balance out each other. The lovers are taken by death, and as a result of their blood spilt on the city, reconciliation comes to the families of Montague and Capulet. By the sacrificial death of their children, the disease of their hatred is healed.


Is the love of Romeo and Juliet necessarily a tragedy?   Bloom writes:


Romeo and Juliet, no matter how many times it is read or seen, always induces the reaction that if this or that little thing had been changed, they would have lived happily ever after. There seems to be no reason why this great tragedy could not have been replaced by the lesser tragedy of their settling down together, watching their beauties disappear slowly with age while they became bored with each other.


Somehow, the greatest love is shown in tragedy, rather than a play that works out well. But we think it is a tragedy because it really ought not have gone that way. Least of all would these two be bored with one another, but it is we, the common lovers, who age this way, for lacking what the lovers live. Their lives together make more sense than any other, because of their love, though there would not be the foil of sorrow for the viewer setting off the light of love, and increasing our appreciation of when things do go well. The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream show loves set up for tragedy turned to a happy ending by the presence of wisdom, but it is not clear that these lovers are higher characters than Romeo and Juliet. The question is that of weather true love of the highest sort belongs in the world. Because love is by nature at the foundation of the crown of the family, we hold out hope that it is most in accord with actual possibility.



The Prologue


The Chorus is fourteen lines, and a sonnet. The Chorus enters only one more time, at the start of Act II, and there also speaks fourteen lines, on the change of the affection of Romeo and the predicament of the lovers due to the feud. It says that Romeo is now, in love with Juliet, “alike bewitched by charm of looks,”[1] and the chorus does not seem to notice the beauty and truth of the love, making this Chorus a bit like a Gower in Perikles, presenting a more conservative, more medieval view than that of the playwright. The first words are not “two lovers,” but two households, of Verona, as the city is the scene. The two households are amid a new outbreak of an ancient quarrel, as we too had family feuds in Appalachia and elsewhere in the early American West. The civil bloodshed is called “unclean,” that is, it is spoke of as a religious pollution. Twice then, in eight lines, the chorus states and restates the plot, how two star-crossed children of these families fall in love and take their own life singular, the only way to resolve the families hatred. That the love is “star crossed” is a famous and interesting statement, and we will wonder what this might mean. Can terrible results be fated? And is the cosmology seriously astrological? The audience is to attend with patient ears, while they, the troop, will with their toil strive to mend what “here shall miss” or what is missed by what is presented on the stage. “What here shall miss” is also the tragedy itself or the bworld, and the chorus says that the company aims to mend this.


In the context of the Italian plays, it is possible that the family quarrel in Verona is allegorical of the division in Christendom which would become that between Catholic and Protestant. The latter division grew out of that between Ghibbelines and Guelphs, or the Papacy in Rome and the Holy Roman Emperor. This quarrel was about to lead to the hundred years war, and as we have argued has something to do with the tragedy of the Prince from Wittenberg, Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet is different from these tragedies of Lear, Hamlet Macbeth and Othello in that the defect of the protagonist may be only maturity. And so their love is more an innocent sacrifice, like that of Jesus and Socrates.



Act I, Scene i


The first word in this dialogue of love and death is had by the villain. A battle breaks out in the streets of Verona between the servants of the feuding Capulets and Montagues. The dark cloud of hatred pervades both families even down to the level of the servants. The imagery in the talk of the servants, especially concerning the sword, shows the connection between the fighting and lust. The servants have Old Testament names, Abram and Samson, and Gregory is a Christian Pope and saint. The fire begun by the servants spreads quickly up to the level of the noblemen. The nobles have Italian names, Benvolio meaning good will (Gibbons, p. 39). When Benvolio enters, the servants have just said …”as good a man…No, better,” then there is Bon-volio. Benvolio, the cousin of Romeo, draws his sword to stop the fight, and the cousin of Juliet, the hot blooded, arrogant Tybalt jumps in. Benvolio tries to get Tybalt to help stop the fight, but Tybalt answers, “What, draw and talk of peace? I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee” (I,i, 72-73). The friends of Romeo are here shown to be the good guys, and Benvolio is the main difference between the three tiers of the two families. Soon, following rather than leading the servants and noblemen, the heads of the houses Capulet and Montague are reaching for their swords. Finally, the prince, Escalus, comes to put an end to the brawl. [’16]. The disorder of the households is evident in the leading of the action by the servants, who are followed by the nobles and then the heads of the households. The hierarchy of the tiers of the soul and polity are inverted, the appetites ruling, as is usual in the world.


The fight ended, Montague and his wife talk with Benvolio of their concern for Romeo. The moment his name enters the play, the poetry bursts into images of great beauty. Montague describes Romeo’s wandering all night, and closing daylight out of his room each morning. Many have tried to talk to him,


“But to himself so secret and so close,

So far from sounding and discovery,

As is the bud bit with an envious worm

Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air

Or dedicate his beauty to the sun




One wonders if the poetic soul is genetic. Benvolio sets out to discover the cause of the melancholy of Romeo. Romeo tells Benvolio that he has love unanswered. This is the bud bitten that will unfold in the love of Romeo and Juliet. Seeing the result of this affliction, Benvolio comments: Alas, that love, so gentle in his view, should be so tyrannous in proof! Romeo, hinting at the mystery of these things, answers, ” Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, should without eyes see pathways to his will.” (I,i, 172-176). Love has its own intention, and the humans following blindly seem irrational. [’16] There is no science to explain the travail of love. The answer of Romeo, the proponent of love, is that while proverbially blind, love sees the way to his will, the intention of love. The travail of love is a part of the function of love in the nature of the soul.

Romeo then notices the wound of Benvolio from the fight. With the opposites of love and hatred before his mind, Romeo breaks into a poetic account of the whole tragic senselessness of the creation:


Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.

Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate

Oh anything of nothing first created

O, heavy lightness, serious vanity

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,

Still waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feels no love in this.


(I,i, 178-185)


The vision of the blindness of Romeo, based on “feeling,” is repulsed by worldly matters such as those that led to the brawl, and pronounces on it’s senselessness, lack of wakefulness, and the falsity of it’s appearance. He is in this like the best part of the hippies. Away from this world of brawling and hate, he follows his “madness most discrete.” [’16] He speaks in what Jung calls the coincidence of opposites, a form of reason that transcends the normally opposed categories. Romeo says the brawl has “more to do with love.” Rosaline too is a Capulet, though it is not clear what he means, unless it is that the family or appetites leads the families to fight. He is not even concerned with Rosaline being a Capulet, but rather, as we will see, with her vow of chastity. But the contradiction between hate and the love he feels leads him to comment in philosophic terms. That anything could come from nothing is denied by natural philosophy, in rejecting the religious doctrine of creation out of nothing, as is prominent in King Lear (I, i,  , etc.). But if the paradox is oblivious of Epicurus, it applies equally to the Platonic account of the creation from the Timeus. Shakespeare may have used some of his small Latin to read the Timeus, though it seems not to have yet been translated into English. Between these two is the statement of the unity of tragedy and comedy, in the lightness of joking in a tragedy and the serious purpose of beautiful art, as Prospero calls his wedding Masque some “vanity of my art.” Can either the Bible or philosophy account for the irrational convergence of good and evil in our world? Or is the answer to be found in Love and poetry? Is the story or tragedy of Romeo related to such an attempt? The irrationality of the world and Romeo’s world is related to the fundamental question of natural philosophy, and the love of Romeo to philosophy. The unity of tragedy and comedy is also, by its position between the Biblical and Greek accounts, related to philosophy, or the tragi-comic view of specifically Shakespearean philosophy. To describe the irrational world as a “Still waking sleep that is not what it is” is also Platonic, taking terms from the Republic. Waking dream, familiar from Keats and de Alvarez, is simply profound. Prospero describes the world as being something like a dream, but the truth is that there are various sorts of waking dream, states in which the conscious and unconscious mind are in conjunction, and love is one of these. Hence love is described as a kind of “divine madness,” of which there are other forms as well, as may be poetry, philosophic action, royal action and experiences related to inspiration. It is a waking dream because the unconscious or dream and conscious or waking worlds are one. Love, involving the unconscious or nascent faculty that is the “rib of Adam,” the place in the heart where the beloved fits, or the part of our souls projected in love onto the beloved, and so the root of the phantom or eidolon, the image loved.


Benvolio gets Romeo to tell him more about his predicament. Romeo has fallen in love with a woman vowed to chastity:


She’ll not be hit

With Cupid’s arrow. She hath Dianne’s wit

And, in strong proof of chastity well armed

From love’s weak, childish bow she lives uncharmed

She will not stay the siege of loving terms,

Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes,

Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold…

For beauty starved with her severity

Cuts beauty off from all posterity…

She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow

Do I live dead to tell it now.


(I,i, 112-113)


It is highly significant that Romeo’s first love is of this sort. The chastity of Rosalind shows first the purity of his heart by the purity of its object. Second, it shows that Romantic love seeks a kind of procreancy that is between the “brawling love” of the earthly and the angelic simplicity of the heavenly, which is a fifth view of love in the play and the most significant alternative to the love of Romeo. This theme from the Sonnets, of the persuasion of the beloved from a life of chastity, will re-appear in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and is related to the question of Athens and Italy.

The first appearance of Juliet is a picture of innocence. Her mother and her nurse speak to her about a “man,” Paris, who seeks her hand in marriage. This Paris will be at a customary dance to be held in the house of Capulet that evening. Lady Capulet asks Juliet what she thinks of marriage. Juliet replies: “It is an honor that I dream not of” (I,iii, 66). She promises her mother: “No more deeply will I endart mine eye / Than your consent gives strength to make it fly” (I,iii, 99). Prior to love, Juliet is like Cordelia, willing to love according to her parent’s consent.


While Romeo and Benvolio were on the street, they saw an invitation to this dance at the house of Capulet with Rosaline’s name on the list. Benvolio persuades Romeo to go to the dance in order to compare the beauty of Rosaline with the others. So, Romeo, Benvolio, Mercutio and other of their masked friends make their way through the night. Romeo is hesitant to go on because of a dream he has had that night. He tells Mercutio this, and Mercutio then breaks into his famous “Queen Mab” speech: “O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you / She is the fairies’ midwife…(I,iv, 54-55). She is very similar, though not quite the same as the Fairy Queen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The midwife of the fairies is the source of the dream of Romeo, which is prophetic. Romeo does not tell his dream, but says only:


…My mind misgives

Some consequence hanging in the stars

Shall bitterly begin this fearful date

With this night’s revels and expire the term

Of a despised life, closed in my breast,

By some vile forfeit of untimely death.

But he that hath the stearage of my course

Direct my sail! On lusty gentlemen!


(I,iiv, 107-113).


There are numerous prophetic foreshadowings in the play, to be collected and considered. These occur both in dreams and in waking speech, such as when Lady Capulet wishes to poison Romeo, or when, looking down from the balcony, Juliet sees him as one in a grave. Prophesy is a surprising characteristic of love, well known and believed buy lovers. This too is a mystery, but has something to do with the two participating in one soul, and the character of this soul as yet unconscious mind (nous).


Inside the hall of Capulet, Romeo’s eyes first behold Juliet, and knows it is she he has sought, and the “consequence yet hanging in the stars” begins:


O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright

It seems she doth hang upon the cheek of night

As a rich Jewel in an Ethiope’s ear–…


(I,v, 46-49)



Romeo is immediately seen by Tybalt, who would duel with him on the spot, buit Capulet forbids it, and rebukes Tybalt. Capulet even admires Romeo, who is drawn to Juliet and dances with her.

How does one show love at first sight? The dance Sonnet here spoken at the meeting of the lovers occurs in the image of the religious quest, which quest is the meaning of pilgrim and pilgrimage. In the image, the lovers are two halves of the soul in prayer, the two hands of a praying saint. Through the movement of the dance, in the most amazing beauty the meaning of the movement of love is symbolized in the purging of sin with kisses:


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 pilgrim’s hands do touch

And palm to palm is holy palmer’s kiss.


Romeo: Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?


Juliet: Aye, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.


Romeo: O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hsands do!

They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.


Juliet: Saints do not move, though grant for prayer’s sake.


Romeo: Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take

(kisses her)


Juliet: Then have my lips the sin that they have took?


Romeo: Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urged!

Give me my sin again.


Juliet: You kiss by the book.


(I,v, 95-113)


[re-written, 2016] “The Book” is also the Bible, and these are the Italian plays. Romeo has discovered a Biblical eroticism that is between the earthly and the heavenly, a most fruitful middle way that is romantic love. It is perhaps a Christian version of the principle of the Song of Solomon. Romeo is like a religious pilgrim, and Juliet a holy temple. Juliet, in a graceful humbleness, tells Romeo that he wrongs his hand, rather than profane hers, “For saints have hands that pilgrims hands do touch, and these saints or “holy palmers” kiss by praying. Do they not pray instead of running about kissing girls? Palm Sunday began when the pilgrims carried palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Romeo asks, “have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? “Aye, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer” is her answer.  Romeo aces his exam, so to speak, responding: “O, then dear saint, let lips do what hands do. They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.” At their first kiss the two are one prayer, showing the reflection of the imago Dei one level lower, in the passions and the noble characters. Juliet is as the stillness of a saint mediating prayer, as “saints do not move, though grant for prayer’s sake.” Romeo again hits the target, “Then move not, while my prayers effect I take. / Thus, from my lips, by thine, my sin is purged.” Now she is like a saint receiving the pilgrim at confession, an image of the purging of original sin. The emergence of such a union is a return to the womb in partnership, and an image of the restoration of the grace in which Adam and Eve were in before the fall, in Eden. Love is this temporary return to the harmony, and such a thought begins to account for the amazing qualities of love. Sin purged restores a unity to the soul split by it., and to be forgiven is this healing. Love, at least in Italy, is an image of the life of the highest part of the soul, manifesting in two the things manifest also in the singular praying saint, of the same form by participation, and nobility is in this way set in an analogy with the things of the intellect. The healing of forgiveness is similar to the emergence of love.[2] Romeo then purges the sin Juliet has taken with another kiss. Shakespeare means seriously to suggest that this middle way i9s a healing of the passionate part of the soul which would be compelled to chastity if the image of the saints were applied directly to the wrong part of the soul, trying to dress the passions up to look like monks. This is a great point to be considered in Christian education, which is more of an oxy-moron than its practitioners suspect. The attempt to dress mankind directly in the mirror of the saints, prevents the Song of Solomon from taking place.

The pattern and movement of this purging of sin follows the same pattern as the sacrifice in the vault of Capulet at the conclusion of the play. There Romeo drinks the poison, and Juliet tries to take some from his lips. Their deaths are a purging of the family sin at the root of the quarrel, and so this is resolved through their deaths and the conscience of the community.

In love in general, there is a purging of sin as love clears a way for itself, and the two may enter into a partnership of self-knowledge. One might say that in order for the anima / animus to be clearly projected, there occurs a recognition of the personal shadow. Such a thing is evident in the humility of the lovers toward one another in both Romeo and Juliet and the Tempest. From the beginning of love, the lover is confronted with his shadow, and whether he knows it or not, the course of love will never be inseparable from how he deals with the shadow. In Freudian terms, the repressed appetites arise, the natural ape, ready for the sacrifice. But the paternal complex is also transcended, as though both Super ego and Id were transformed by their encounter with one another, and love takes over as the pilot of the soul. It is surely an experience like fate, of being swept along a course that is yet invisible. But in the Vault, Romeo will shake off the yolk of inauspicious stars, leaving the creation, literally (V,iii, 111).   In the poetic imagery as well as the symbolic story of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare reveals in romantic love a natural image of the religious quest.


[2016] The basis is a Biblical teaching which begins from the sixth day of the creation of the earth, when God made man in his image, male and female. “Let us make man in our image” is the enigmatic plural statement, leaving the reader to wonder who is “us.” Male and female only adds to the enigma, as there is only one God. Jesus refers to this teaching when answering a question about divorce, and St. Paul famously teaches:


Husbands, love your wives, As Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies…”For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church…..


Ephesians, 5:25-32; 2 Cor. 11:2 Genesis 2:24


The human wedding is an image of the divine wedding, and what is right in marriage patterned not in any and every way, but in a certain way, upon the divine marriage. The marriage occurs at the revelation in Revelation 19, after the description of the fall of Babylon in chapters 17 and 18:


…for the marriage of the bride and Lamb has come,

And his bride has made herself ready;

For it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”-

The fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me,” write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”


There follows the scene where John attempts to bow, prostrate himself before the angel, and the angel tells him not to do that, since the angels are fellow servants. And this perhaps solves the mystery of the “us” in Genesis, or at least provides a possible solution, as both the angels and men may be a part of the bride. The creation of the heavens was set aside, as the account proceeded to describe the creation with reference to the earth (Genesis 1:2). Those invited to the marriage supper may refer to those are blessed but not members of the bride, or it may refer to those who feast on the flesh of the armies of the beast (Rev. 19:18), and this seems to be the same as the great winepress of God 14:19 and Armageddon (Rev. 16:16).


After the dance at the house of Capulet, Romeo walks near the orchard of Capulet, around back. There he says, “can I go forward when my heart is here? / Turn back, dull earth, and find thy center out.” (II,i, 1-2). Mercutio and Benvolio then come by looking for Romeo. Mercutio, who never finds out about Juliet, here says “The ape is dead, and I must conjure him. / I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes…etc” Mercutio, one of the greatest characters in all of Shakespeare, with a wit like Hamlet, deservers an essay of his own. In love, a man of course will give his friends the slip. The dead ape, the leaping over the wall of the father and the vision of Juliet are archetypal content, deeper than commentary. As Romeo will later explain,


“With loves light wings did I o’erperch these walls,

For stony limits cannot hold love out

And what love can do that dares love attempt.

Therefore thy kinsmen were no stop to me.


What we wish to draw attention to is the analogy, which sets the pattern of noble love, again at least in Italy.

Where Romeo has gone while his friends seek him is over the wall of Capulet and into his orchard, where Juliet stands on the balcony. This garden is a return together to the original unity an innocence characteristic of the soul at both the origin and end, here in the middle and, in its intention, at the founding of the family. Our created origin, when parents give birth, is from love consummated, or from the union of the lovers at the crown of each family.


Romeo: But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon

Who is already sick and pale with grief that thou her maid art more fair than she.

Be not her maid, since she is envious.

Her vestal livery is but sick and green

And none but fools would wear it. Cast it off.

…The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars

As daylight doth a lamp…

…She speaks.

O, speak again, bright angel. For thou art

As glorious to this night, being o’er my head

As is a winged messenger of heaven

Unto the white, upturned eyes of mortals that fall back to gaze on him.


(II, ii, 19-20)


The lovers are as if sent from god to one another. The vision of Juliet is like the vision of an angel. The beauty and procreancy of this love is said to outshine the chastity of Rosaline as the sun outshines the moon. Romeo calls her to cast off the vestal livery. The Signet note to this line reads: “The moon is here thought of as Diana, goddess and patroness of virgins.” We often have recourse to the explanation in the Phaedrus, (250b) that beauty is the only one of the forms to have a visible manifestation, and hence the lover is experience the divine directly for the first time. If we were to see wisdom, we would be out of our wits. Jung states:


This state is described as a great happiness (“one heart one soul”)– not without good reason, since the return to that original condition of unconscious oneness is like a return to childhood. Even more is it a return to the mother’s womb, into the teeming depths of an as yet unconscious creativity. It is in truth a genuine and incontestable experience of the divine, whose transcendent force obliterates and consumes everything individual; a real communion with life and the impersonal power of fate.


(C. G. Jung, “Marriage as a psychological Relationship,” p. )


Because it is the first concrete experience of the divine for the lover, all preceding thought is but opinion, dissolved before the concrete experience of the divine, which the lover confuses with the beloved herself, in order to see it at all. There is again an analogue to the description of happiness by Al Farabi, where happiness is possible when the mind first sees the first principles (The attainment of Happiness). Again, these are not the same, but a reflection of the things of the intellect in the noble or the things of the heart. The superiority of this middle way between the body and the mind is a fundamental point of the specifically Shakespearean philosophy, and the point is made in dialogue with medieval Christianity, at the root of “Romanticism.”


Juliet does not yet know that Romeo is there in the garden below. She speaks aloud from the balcony, in what she thinks is soliloquy:


Oh Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

Or, if you will not, be but sworn my love,

And I’ll no longer be a Capulet…(II,ii,33-36)

…What’s in a name? That which we call a rose…

By any other word would smell as sweet

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;

And for thy name, which is no part of thee,

Take all myself.


Romeo (Jumping out of hiding) :

I take thee at thy word

Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized.

Henceforth I never will be Romeo. (II,ii, 47-51)


From the purging of sin, and the image of the transcendence of both law and sin, In the orchard Romeo has a vision of Juliet and puts off the name from his birth to be new-baptized. The distinction between the name and the being is philosophical, about the difference between nature and convention, what is made by man and what one is oneself, by nature, as the garden is the place of cultivated nature. A great deal of cultivation is required to hand the children back over to nature, but the end or purpose of the formation of character is, according to Socrates in the Republic, “love matters that concern the fair.” So noble love is nature’s finishing school for the nobility of character, which hence is not wholly artificial. Human cultivation has an end in nature, and this intention guides all education.

Asked how he found his way, Romeo answers Juliet:


By love, that first did prompt me to inquire.

He lent me council, and I lent him eyes.

I am no pilot; yet wert thou as far

As that vast shore washed with the farthest sea,

I should adventure for such merchandise.


(II,ii, 80-84)


Again, love is a natural image of the life of the highest part of the soul, which may be love itself, the sighted one in these matters. The crossing of the sea is an image of philosophy, or the spiritual ascent, and this occurs also in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in the description by Titania of the activities of herself and her voteress.

Rather than swear by the “inconstant moon,” Juliet would have him either not swear at all or swear “by thy gracious self, which is the god of my idolatry.” Love is an idolatry, if a playful sort that leads beyond itself. The soul regards the eidolon as divine, again because it has never before experienced the divine, and cannot but identify these things with the beloved. The beloved too can receive this projection because the soul is the imago Dei, and this in itself is something divine. “I said, you are gods, sons of the Most High.” The lover sees the angel of the beloved, its only error being to not yet see the other angels. There is then a window into the spark of the divine in each, in the way a lover sees the angel of the beloved. Juliet truly is that beautiful,[3] and the love of Romeo and Juliet even more so.

What occurs in the garden sets the seed of what now comes to be in the story, as the shadow and villain follow quickly on the love, which proceeds regardless. The next morning, Romeo goes to the Friar and asks to marry Juliet. The Friar agrees in hopes that the marriage will work to reconcile the two families. The Nurse of Juliet finds Romeo in the street, and delivers his message to Juliet. They are married that afternoon at the Friar’s cell. The minute of the marriage turns the story toward its tragic end. The families are here connected, with the violent reaction to follow by necessity. Mercutio and Benvolio are in the hot Italian street when Tybalt approaches them. Tybalt is still looking for Romeo to avenge the insult of his disguised entrance into the party at the house of Capulet. Mercutio and Tybalt exchange words as Romeo enters full of the love of peace, from his secret wedding. Tybalt calls Romeo “Villain.” But Romeo, having just become the cousin in law of Tybalt, tells him that he loves him as he loves himself. Mercutio then steps in and takes the quarrel from his dangerously deranged friend. But as the duel begins, Romeo tries to stop the fight, and Mercutio is fatally wounded under Romeo’s arm, as Romeo holds his arms to prevent the quarrel. There is a lesson here about peacemaking that can be generalized. It is something like: Don’t hold the arms of the good guy, even though one cannot hold the arms of the villain. Pierced through the heart, and with his dying breath, Mercutio screams, “A plague on both your houses. They have made worms meat of me” (III,i, 138). [Mercutio is one of the few thoroughly innocent deaths in Shakespearean tragedy, his only flaw, despite his wild spiritedness, being to have befriended Romeo, which is a sign of his virtue.]

Romeo, in a rage, flips into the opposite extreme, opposite to his original peacefulness and rejection of the fighting. He recognizes: “O, Juliet, / thy beauty hath made me effeminate / And in my temper hath softened valor’s steel (III,i, 115-117). With that, he takes off after Tybalt, fights him, and slays him. Romeo then has another recognition, shouting: “O, I am fortune’s fool” (138).

When Juliet finds out that Romeo has slain her cousin Tybalt, she confronts the same opposites that Romeo saw earlier in the creation (at I,i, 178-185), but she sees the opposites in Romeo. Her husband has slain her cousin, while she as his wife loves him, and hate him as the killer of her cousin. [She apparently does not know the character of Tybalt, or is not a good judge of character.] She laments (III,ii, 73-83):


O serpent heart, hid within a flowering face!

Did ever a dragon keep so fair a cave…

O nature, what hadst thou to do in hell

When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend

In mortal paradise of such sweet flesh?


While, on the other hand (III,ii, 122-124),


“Romeo is banished”- to speak that word

Is father, Mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,

All slain, all dead…


Romeo is meanwhile in the cell of the Friar near to committing suicide over his banishment from Verona and thus Juliet. The Friar tries to convince Romeo that he is actually lucky, but Romeo looks at banishment from Juliet as though it were banishment from the divine: “There is no world without Verona walls, but purgatory, torture, hell itself” (III,ii, 17-18).

The Friar offers to give Romeo


armor to keep off that word;

Adversitie’s sweet milk, philosophy

To comfort thee while thou art banished


But Romeo replies “Hang up philosophy! Unless philosophy can make a Juliet, displant a town, reverse a prince’s doom, it helps not (III,iii, 57-60).; Philosophy as the love of wisdom, or as the quest for service to God (as Socrates explains himself in the Apology) is not seen by Shakespeare to be at all removed from the fulfillment of the religious life according to nature.[4] It is all one pilgrimage in one reality. If so, the significance of the offer of the Friar is that it is the very fulfillment of what he seeks, or what it is here proposed that the daimon of love seeks to give birth to. But Romeo is too young, and is yet ruled by his heart, and so he cannot see the emotional way out. The Friar is in touch with these realities, but is not an able ruler in these circumstances, perhaps because of his withdrawn monetary life outside of the temporal concerns of the city. Yet because of these very circumstances– the crossed ancestral influences, the youth of Romeo, and the failure of the actual cultural context to help him through this passage without tragedy, the passage is blocked. The Friar and the Prince are two separate offices in this context, as they are not on the magic island of The Tempest.

The Friar and the Nurse of Juliet have arranged to have the couple meet that night to consummate their secret marriage before the banishment is to begin. The reaction of Capulet to the death of Tybalt is strangely to have his daughter married to Paris immediately. Just as Romeo is leaving her bed, Lady Capulet enters to tell her of the wedding plans. The attitude of Capulet has changed, along with everything else as the play screams toward the tragic conclusion. In the beginning, Capulet would not have Juliet married against her wishes. But now, when Juliet will not, he is outraged. The speeches here are drenched in prophesy. Lady Capulet longs to poison Romeo for killing Tybalt (III,,v, 94-104)  and she growls “I would the fool were married to her grave” (141). Juliet, asking them to delay the marriage, states “or if you do not, make the bridal bed in that dim monument where Tybalt lays” ( III,v, 202-203). Juliet, abandoned and alone, turns to the last councilor of her innocent youth. The advice of the nurse is bigamy, to forget about Romeo and to marry a Paris. Juliet is now completely alone. She goes to the Friar, who tells her that he has a desperate remedy:


If, rather than to marry the County Paris,

Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself,

Then it is likely thou wilt undertake

A thing like death to chide away this shame,

That cop’st with death himself to scape from it;

And, if thou darest, I’ll give  thee remedy.


(IV,i, 71-76)


She is given a sleeping potion that will make her appear dead. She will be placed into the vault. By letter, Romeo will come from Mantua and banishment to take her away. To be free of the influence of the ancestral, Juliet must overcome the fear of death. As she is a true heroin, this she will do, and in case the potion does not work, she lays a dagger by her bedside. Their potion works, all think she is dead, and she is laid into the tomb…

But the tragedy is as if inevitable. The letters of the Friar do not arrive to Romeo in Mantua by another quirk of chance or fate. Romeo awakens the next morning in Mantua, cheerful from a dream:


My dreams presage some joyful news at hand…

I dreampt my lady came and found me dead

(Strange dream that gives a dead man leave to think)

And breathed such life with kisses in my lips

That I revived and became an emperor…


(V,i, 2-10)


Romeo then receives news of the death of Juliet and responds, “Is it even so? Then I defy you stars (V,i, 24). Romeo without question heads straight for the apothecary, preparing to die. In this heroic madness, death is nothing, and he but follows his course. He tells the apothecary, “I sell thee poison; Thou hast sold me none…some cordial (medicine) and not poison, go with me” (V,ii, 83-85). This shows the same heroic reversal of values as in “He who seeks to save his life shall lose it.” Money is poison, while poison and death are called medicine.

On the steps of the monument of Capulet, Romeo encounters Paris, who has come with flowers for his dead bride. Paris thinks that Romeo has come to deface the monument, as a Montague in the family quarrel. He nobly tries to apprehend the banished criminal. Romeo begged Paris to go, as he in his madness could not be stopped from entering the tomb. At the murder of Paris, all sentimental romanticism is silenced into awe. Romeo is twice a murderer by law, yet no one thinks of him that way. He might in law be considered mad by love, as it is the most intense love in tragic circumstances, more than the intent of murder, that causes the killings.]

[There is of course a Paris or Alexandros in the Iliad of Homer, the son of Priam who stole Helen and started the Trojan War. By naming the rival of Romeo Paris, Shakespeare means to indicate that his presentation of love has excelled that of Homer. And he is obviously correct. Despite producing a Helen, the Greeks could not produce a presentation of true love. There is only conventional marriage, homosexual love, and adultery which a private desire above the good of all Greece and Troy. It is not until Shakespeare that romantic love is presented as equal or superior to homosexual love. Shakespeare is able to present true love, though the meaning seems to be that true love is necessarily tragic, or tragic at least in the real world without wise rule.]

In the dream of Romeo, the term emperor is striking. The same or similar term is used to describe the reincarnation of those who recollect knowledge by remembering the truth which was seen before birth, in Plato’s Meno, where, in the myth, those who become kings and heroes are those from whom the penalty for ancient crime has been received. In what looks like the Christian parallel, those who conquer death with Christ, by attaching themselves to the hero, dying and being raised with him (Romans 6), are said to reign in the realm beyond the creation and death. This conquering is here the beginning of knowledge also, as it is called the return to the harmony one was in before the fall, a return to the garden to eat of the tree of life. Jung describes these myths by saying that here the philosopher’s stone is found, as the ego is attached to the self. After the Archetypes emerge in myth, they need to be integrated, which is to seek out the meaning of myth and bring it into life. In the Meno (81), Socrates tells Meno that after knowledge is recollected, it must be “tethered.” The central question regarding the integration of the anima, which looks for the connection between the two levels of the soul, the birth of love and the birth of the soul into light or knowledge of some kind, is the question of whether or not the death in the tomb of Capulet shows the passage on the level of the actual birth of the self. If Romeo and Juliet does correspond to The Tempest in the way suggested, the question can also be stated in the unveiling of the spirit world in the wedding Masque of The Tempest showing the introduction of the future King and Queen of Naples into recollection or knowledge in that sense. If it is, then the play shows the succession of philosophic kingship (as Tovey suggests.) and the two levels of the soul will have been connected., showing love to be the womb of philosophy. [But if the wedding masque is like the experience of the knowledge in the collective unconscious, then noble love is an image of the ascent to philosophy.]

As the Friar said to Romeo when he came and asked to be married,


The earth that’s natures mother is her tomb

What is her burying grave, that is her womb


(II, iii, 9-10)


Romeo goes to Juliet inside where she sleeps, drinks the poison, and there dies.

The Friar enters the tomb only minutes later, and Juliet awakens. He tells her:


A greater power than we can contradict

Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away.

Thy husband in thy bosom lies there dead; and Paris too. Come,

I’ll dispose of thee

Among a sisterhood of holy nuns.


But even as Romeo could not choose philosophy, She will not leave. The Friar flees as others are coming. Juliet takes the dagger from Romeo’s side and sheaths it in her own heart.

The Prince, the Friar, the Montagues and Capulets and others all meet then in the tomb around the dead lovers. There, Montague and Capulet are finally reconciled. The Prince states, “See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, that heaven finds means to kill your joys with love” (V,iii, 293-4). Montague will raise a statue of Juliet ion pure gold, as Capulet will of Romeo.


Unlike the Tempest, the psychological significance of Romeo and Juliet is not that it shows the inner transformation of the lovers. Romeo in his death does not talk about divine things any more at the conclusion of the play than at the beginning. His awareness of the higher realities is no less through Juliet. He dies for love and not for God. The psychological significance of the play lies in that in the action of the play, the characters walk through the symbolic pattern which shows us something about the nature of the soul and the reality it inhabits. It is a natural symbol, as are the other love tragedies that occur in the same pattern, and involving the same influences of this particular eros and the conflicting or ancestral influences. [2016 We have been trying to separate these two, love and the higher life of the spirit, and notice the pattern is similar and the lower an image of the higher.] The play does not show the self or divine child emerging in the lovers. They are not reflectively taken through these levels of the soul, but rather the action is an outward form of this passage, which is an inner transformation that cannot simply be shown. The daimon which sweeps them does show itself to be the longing of the soul for immortality, the drive through death toward rebirth, and yet the play is a tragedy. The main question seems to be whether or not it is a divine as well as an earthly tragedy. Were the souls of the lovers harmed or made whole by their fate/ Through their love they were led to the sacrifice that is symbolically the overcoming of death. What happened to them beyond this is hidden by death’s veil, and can only be guessed at by the nature of the analogy, and by Romeo’s dream (V,i, 1-10). As a result of their heroic love, through their blood spilt on the families, the ancient stars are uncrossed and the faction in Verona is healed.

There is something awesome about when the themes usually found in myth and legend occur in reality. These events are the source of legends. Shakespeare’s play is in a line of legends stemming from an occurrence in 1302, which he amplifies by his art. Shakespeare was not a creator of tales, [for the most part], but a reflector of human nature. [It is important for his argument that the things he writes about are discovered rather than invented] Through the means of drama, he has given us a window into something deep in the archetypal foundations of human nature. He teaches psychology by showing us, through symbolic or literary means, the most essential things regarding man. It is a peculiarity of Shakespeare as a dramatist that he seems to be aware of this purpose. He seems to understand the poetry that comes through him, to be in touch with its source. While the characters walk through archetypal patterns of human nature, the poetry which comes through the characters comments on the archetypes. The characters of Shakespeare, as is often noticed, speak with deep wisdom that is not their own[, over their own heads, as it were.] Though it does not appear terribly out of place for them to say the things they say, they are often themselves unconscious of what it is that they are saying. For example, Capulet has never once in his life reflected upon “the bud that is bit with the envious worm/ Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air/ Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.. Capulet does not live that way, but is unconscious of the deeper meaning of what he has just said, or why the thought and image might occur to him. The wisdom of Shakespeare comes through the actors in the same way that the mythic drama is walked through by the characters. The purpose of Shakespeare as a poet seems to be akin to the purpose of Prospero as a philosophic ruler. Like the Friar in Romeo and Juliet, Prospero is one of t5he few characters capable of knowing what he is doing in the fullest human sense– he is capable of making humans better.

In Shakespeare’s Tempest, the same daimon is shown in a movement which is symbolically of the same form, yet the “yoke of inauspicious stars and the forces of death that make Romeo and Juliet a tragedy are not present [or do not rule the action.] The influences of tragedy are dissolved by education. The comparison of this with the tragedy shows the purpose of tradition in education as well as the importance of the presence of a wise ruler. The play takes place on a magic island, away from earthly cities and their influences. It is an utopia, a place that perhaps cannot exist on earth.


[v] It cannot be brought into existence, but it can be found with the mind, through the symbols. It is more real than the temporal world of accidents and place only in the sense that if the mind finds this, it can be looked to as a standard by which to direct our lives. Here, in the place of the ancestral spirits, Prospero works the forces of tradition and law. His effect on Ferdinand and Miranda is to tend the seed of their love He takes them through the same passage through which Romeo and Juliet were taken, but the divine things seeking to emerge are brought by Prospero and the magic island into harmony with temporal existence. This is Shakespeare’s presentation of his vision of the education of a prince and princess who will some day re-enter the city. Ferdinand is in line for the succession of the throne of Naples. This is Shakespeare’s vision of the best education which provides for the succession of the wise rule which Prospero embodies.

In his Psychology and Religion (pp. 181-182), Jung interprets the symbol of the trinity as reflecting a process of development which occurs in the unfolding of the archetype of the self.[vi] Jung describes the father stage:


Generally speaking, the father denotes the earlier state of consciousness when one was still a child, still dependent on a definite, ready made pattern of existence which is habitual and has the character of law. It is a passive, unreflecting condition, a mere awareness of what is given, without intellectual or moral judgment. This is true both individually and collectively…The state of unreflective awareness known as “father” changes into the reflective and rational state of consciousness known as “son”. This state is not only in opposition to the still existing earlier state, but, by virtue of its conscious and rational nature, it also contains many many latent possibilities for dissociation. Increased discrimination begets conflicts that were unconscious before but must now be faced, because, unless they are clearly recognized, no moral decisions can be taken.


The beginning of the second state is about where we find Ferdinand when he lands on the magic island. This place in the story is parallel to the beginning of Romeo and Juliet The innocence of Miranda surpasses Juliet in beauty and feminine virtue due to her having been painstakingly educated by her father. As Romeo pronounces on the senselessness of his father and the ancient family quarrel, Ferdinand too thinks that he is fatherless [at the opening of the play].

For twelve years, Prospero has been on the island where he has studied the art of ruling. Prospero is an instance of the archetype of the wise man or wise ruler. The wise ruler does his work in service to the divine and for the good of humans. As in the history of Merlin and King Arthur, or the philosopher-king in Plato’s Republic, this archetype emerges in the accidental coincidence of wisdom and power. Prospero gets his powers from his magic books of liberal study. One of his many actions in the play is the education of Ferdinand through his love for the daughter of Prospero, Miranda. Amid the context of more important things, such as the  treatment of the tyrannical soul, the play illustrates the entry of the prince and his future queen into the harmony of wisdom, which Ferdinand says makes Prospero like a second father to him (  ). This either is or is like the entry into philosophy through the mediation of the anima and animus.

Prospero was once the Duke of Milan, a real city, but he did not then understand the coincidence iof wisdom and ruling, nor could his power there be secured. He spent all his time studying the liberal arts and left the practical matters up to his brother Antonio. Antonio, though, turned out to be the opposite of Prospero, hungry only for power. Antonio usurped the dukedom from Prospero, who narrowly escaped with his life and his daughter. Their boat landed on the shore of the magic island. There they have livesd for twelve years. Here, along with being transported anhd rapt in secret studies,” as in Milan, hwe has learned the art of ruling through educating his daughter Miranda and ruling the spirit Ariel and the beast Caliban. The play opens with a royal ship in a storm. Aboard the ship are the King of Naples, Antonio the usurping brother, and others. Prospero tells Miranda that he has created the storm, in care of her, and that no one will be harmed. He begins to tell her for the first time the story from twelve years previous, of how they came to the island and who she is. The ship has sunk in the storm which Prospero sent Ariel to make in order to draw its passengers to the island in an attempt to cure the harm done in the usurpation.

The prince Ferdinand, son of the King of Naples, is landed alone by Ariel, where he sits in mourning, thinking that his father is dead at sea.. Ariel there sings a song to him which tells him of his drowned father and introduces him to the magic of the island:


Full fathom five, thy father lies;

Of his bones are coral made;

Those are pearls that were huis eyes;

Nothing of him that doth fade

But doth suffer a sea change

Into something rich and strange.


As Romeo leaped over the orchard wall of Capulet and into his garden to find Juliet, Ferdinand comes from shipwreck at sea onto the yellow sands of the island. [Juliet in the garden of Capulet is similar to Miranda on the magic island.] His first experience of the magic of the island, though, is this song ordered sung by Prospero, telling him that his father is dead, yet suffers a sea change. Prospero then shows him to his daughter, and the two fall immediately in love:


Prospero: The fringed curtains of thine eye advance

And say what thou seest yond.


Miranda: What is’t? A spirit?

Lord, how it walks about! Believe me, sir,

It carries a brave form. But tis a spirit.


(I,ii, 408-412)


Prospero tells her that no, it is not a spirit, but a mortal and a “goodly person. Miranda replies, “I might call him/ A thing divine; for nothing natural I ever saw so noble.” Prospero aside says,


It goes on, I see, As my soul prompts it.

Spirit, fine spirit, I’ll free thee

Within two days for this.


((I,ii, 418-422)


Ferdinand sees her and exclaims: “Most sure, the goddess/ On whom these airs attend.” The first thing he asks her her is if she is a “maid” or not, and how to bear himself on the island. He then pulls back, remembering to act nobly, and states, “I am the best that speak this speech/ Were I but where tis spoken.” [Jung calls this “inflation of the ego,” and it is characteristic of love, of the soul who has seen or thinks he has seen the goddess.] Prospero responds: “How the best? What wert thou if the King of Naples heard thee?” Ferdinand answers:


A single thing, as I am now, that wonders

To hear thee speak of Naples. He does hear me;

And that he does, I weep. Myself am Naples

Who with mine eyes, never sice at ebb, beheld

The King my father wrecked


(I,ii, 430-437)


Ferdinand, fatherless in both the literal and symbolic sense, believes himself to be the King of Naples. In the projection of the anima, a natural inflation results, as one seeks to be the beloved of a goddess. In his inflation, Ferdinand, innocently enough, believes himself to be a king. He identifies himself with his genetic father, who is the highest sovereignty that Ferdinand has known. Jung writes: “This, however, is not an advance; It is simply a retention of the old habits and customs with no subsequent differentiation of consciousness. No detachment from the father has been effected. Legitimate detachment consists in conscious differentiation from the father and the habitus represented by him. This requires a certain knowledge of one’s own individuality. But as the song of Ariel promised, the father of Ferdinand “doth suffer a sea change, [into something rich and strange.]”

The outward manner of Prospero suddenly and mysteriously becomes harsh. Aside, he says, “But this swift business/ I must uneasy make, lest too light winning make the prize light” (I,ii, 451-2). He turns on the prince, accusing him of being a traitor and usurping the name he does not own, and of coming onto the island in order to take it from him. He tells Ferdinand he will be put in prison. Ferdinand, with the spirit of a prince, raises his sword to resist, but Prospero disarms him with his magic staff. The prince has come under the power of the wise man. Prospero then tells Miranda, who has never seen other men, that compared to most man, Ferdinand is a beast like Caliban, and most to him are like angels. [She does seem to have heard about angels.] Miranda ignores the advice of her father, for the first time in her life, saying: “My affections/ Are then most humble. I have no ambition to see a goodlier man” (I,ii, 484-5). [Prospero, then, humiliates the love inflation of the prince, while Miranda will disobey her father for the first time in her life because of love.]

The distinction between the will of Prospero aside and his explicit will shows the distinction between the purposes of wisdom and the purpose of tradition or the will of the father based on the ancient laws and ways of fathers. Prospero aside is glad that they have “changed eyes,” and even has set up the whole affair. Yet he imprisons Ferdinand as a means to humble him and remove the projection opf the goddess. He is the hidden wisdom, the source of the magic of the island, which Jung writes of as being behind the “elfin nature of the anima, of which Ferdinand is unaware. Prospero, standing behind and above the prince and princess and directing their course, is an embodiment of love itself.who “without eyes sees pathways to his will” These archetypal configurations are constellated in every human love, to some extent. The old man is a midwife who seeks to give birth to the divine child in the soul. In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet this love is not fully embodied (as the prince and Friar are separate). He puts the lovers through trials, the first half above, which are aimed at tending the seed of the love to fulfillment and avoiding the tragedy. The trials and labors of love are aimed at this, and are not easily fulfilled in a harmonious way. Some embodiment of wisdom is most helpful.

[While In Romeo and Juliet, the error of the Friar is to rush the marriage, the solution of Prospero is to postpone the marriage until both are prepared in a certain way.] There is disjunction in human marriage between the natural and conventional ages for marriage. Prospero secures chastity until the conventional ceremony, if it is legitimate and legal yet (V,i, 309).

In the next scene in which Ferdinand appears, he is carrying logs to fuel Prospero’s fire, which is usually the job of the beast Caliban. There he says:


There are some sports are painful, and their labor

Delight in them sets odff; some kinds of baseness

Are nobly undergone, and most poor matters

Point to rich ends This my mean task

Would be as heavy to me as odious, but,

The mistress which I serve quickens what’s dead

And makes my labors pleasures. O, she is

Ten times more gentle than her father’s crabbed

And he’s composed of harshness. I must remove

Some thousands of these logs and pile them up,

Upon a sore injunction…


III,i, 1-11)


Ferdinand, ruled by his heart, is in service to Miranda, yet through her he is ruled by Prospero. He remarks here how pains can be pleasures. What’s deasd in him is quickened by his love. The wise Prospero here appears unjusrt to Ferdinand for the trials he puts him through. Miranda offers to carry some of the logs for him, but he will not dishonor her by it. He must carry the logs from which the fire of Prospero springs. [This is an analogy of the graduate student doing research]. He is compelled to do the work of the beast, and is cooled down by this, [humbled and placed in service. One is reminded of the work of self control which noble men must practice to prevent the subjection of the princess to the animal in man. The law against men striking women is most important in primary education and throughout, an elemental lesson in nobility.] Here he asks Miranda for her name, and she breaks her father’s hest to” and gives it to him. While the prince is deflated, the princess attains independence from her paternal authority.


Ferdinand tells her that for many virtues he has liked several women, but “never any/ With so full soul but some defect in her/ Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed” (III,i 59-67). Then he tells her:


I am in my condition

A prince, Miranda; I do think a king

(I would not so), and would no more endure

This wooden slavery than to suffer

The fleshfly blow my mouth. Hear my soul speak!

Ther very instant that I saw you did

My heart fly to your service; there resides,

To make me slave to it; and for your saike

Am I this patient log-man.


(III,i, 59-67).


Are these not the two examples of love at first sight in Shakespeare? There are certain indications that this is at least the second highest love, if not the equal of the tragedy. [It is the best possible answer to Bloom regarding the highest love in which the lovers can be married happily ever after, if Romeo and Juliet cannot. (Bloom, pp.  )] She asks the prince if he loves her, and the answer:


O heaven, O earth bear witness to this sound

And crown what I profess with kind event

If I speak true! If hollowly, invert

What best is boded me to mischief

And crown what I profess with kind event

If I speak true!

Beyond all limit of what else i’ th’ world,

Do love, prize, honor you…


(III,i, 68-74)


Prospero aside says: “Fair encounter/ Of two most rare affections.!” Calling aspersions, he adds, “Heavens rain grace / On that which breeds between them.” Again there is the triangular archetype, the male and female joined within wisdom, an image more full than yin and yang and the whole of these as geometry is to drama for draweing images. Miranda then to Ferdinand:


…I am your wife, if you will marry me;

If not, I’ll die you maid. To be your fellow,

You may deny me; but I’ll be your servant

Whether you will or no.


[Ferdinand agrees, “with a heart as willing/ As bondage e’re of freedom. Here’s my hand.” And Miranda gives him her hand. In the next scene, Prospero gives the prince his daughter’s hand. The hand, and the importance of receiving the hand and and blessing of the father in marriage, if he is not a tyrant, are very interesting, and very old. There is the transfer of the image from the father to the husband as the girl becomes a woman. Consent rather than compulsion in marriage may be the most essential feature of A Western civilization, going along with free political orders as the root of the family. Shakespeare here, in the marriage of these two, sets an example that guides the marriage ceremonies in the West.] This would be Shakespear’s presentation of fertile love, in what turns out to be a defense of nature against the Greeks regarding love, an attempt to present “heterosexual” love as the example that shows human erotic or romantic love.

Prospero, upon giving his daughter, tells Ferdinand:


If I have too austerely punished you,

Your compensation makes amends; for I

Have given you here a third of my own life,

Or that fior which I live; who once again

I tender to thy hand. All thy vexations

Were but my trials of thy love, and thou

Hast strangely stood the test. Here, afore heaven,

I ratify this my rich gift…


(IV,i, 1-8)


[The thirds of Prospero are very famous in Tempest Interpretation, but she is one of them, and another is “my grave,” said to indicate philosophy (White, ). The other third is likely to be Milanese opolitics, to the extent that this is different from his care for his daughter.]


In contrast with Romeo and Juliet, Ferdinand is a prince, and Miranda has been educated by her father alone on the magic island. There she had no “time for vainer hours,” and is brought to a fullness of soul and a purity that would not have been possible in Milan. Again, Juliet in the orchard is similar to, or in the place of, Miranda on the Island. In their love at first sight, when they “change eyes,” both experience and speak about things divine. In place of the banishment of Romeo, Ferdinand is imprisoned, and huymbled, in place of the immediate marriage and and the action screaming toward tragedy. As Juliet rejects the proposed marriage to Paris, so Miranda disobeys her father, or his external and apparent will. And in place of the feigned death of Juliet under the sleeping potion of the Frair, in order to escape the house of her father, is the trial yet to come, of sexual self-control. Prospero tells Ferdinand:


Then, as my gift, and thine own acquisition,

Worthily purchased, take my daughter. But

If thiou dost break her virgin knot before

All sanctimopnious ceremonies may

With full and holy rite be min’stred,

No sweet aspersion shall tyhe heavens let fall

To make this contract grow; but barren hate,

Sour-eyed disdain, and discord shall bestrewe

The union of your bed with weeds so loathly

That you shall hate it both. Therefore take heed.

As Hymen’s lamps shall light you.


(IV,i, 13-24)



This trial is deeply symbolic, as was the old custom, now for the most part disbelieved, of virginity until marriage. Here Ferdinand must overcome himself. His love must side with what Prospero says and shows him, over his desire to haver intercourse with Miranda. His heart must side passionately with wisdom rather than the sexual appetite. This, as the final trial, solidifies the overcoming of the animal nature, the attachment to the earth and the self-preservation principle. It is a giving up of the possessiveness of the beloved, which, most mysteriously, is simultaneously the culmination of the humbling and deflating trials which make possible the vision of the wedding masque. This reveals a most astounding connection between reverence in the love of women and reverance with regard to the love of wisdom. Irreverence ibn love is connected with irreverence, inflation or arrogance with regard to knowledge and the mind.

She is both the gift given by wisdom and his own acquisition, worthily purchased” by going through the trials. If Ferdinand breaks her virginity– and the language is shockingly explicit for printed reference to one’s own daughter– before the ceremonies, “no seweet aspersions shall the heavens let fall” to water the seed which is their love, but their union will be in discord rather than harmony. [Shakespeare here teaches a surprising root of the harmony of the household in the self-governing of the prince] If Ferdinand does not overcome himself, and fuse this self overcoming in the orders of the soul, his failure to transcend the selfish desires will keep their love weighted and chained in service to the appetites, making their bed and union hateful to them. If the love of the heart stays entangled in the weeds of the appetite for sexual procreancy, it will not be freed for the procreancy of the heart, which is a genuine and natural higher kind of procreancy. If not overcome, the sexual desire will drag the love out of the heart and turn it into lust and rage, selfishness and despotism, which destroy marriages.

Another way to view the ancient teaching of virginity until marriage is in terms of imprinting, in analogy with what Konrad Lorenz learned about baby ducks. These would follow him about, because at a certaiun critical age, he was there to become for them their mother duck. In marriage, what occurs regarding virginity is similar. There is an imprinting or fusion of the souls at the crown of the family. Though most or all marriages fall short of the measure, still this is the measure, and it is by reference to it that many things in actual lioves can be understood, and perhaps explained. Most reject the best condition, though for marriage this is similar to the way in which the many reject the best regime. Shakespeare shows us the best condition, a measure of which every actual love is likely to fall short, barring certain accidents or the constant presence of wisdom embodied. Still, this may be the best example of wise rule and why we reject it.]

There is in this a relation shown between this self-control andthe royal marriage, which is the integration of the anima. A natural reason is shown, of which the old law is a symbol. [Circumcsion, and the circumcision of the heart is another example.] It is a connection between purity and wholeness. The wholeness of marriage is a connection to or an entry into the harmony of the universe. The marriage according to nature is the vehicle of the aspersions, or grace, which rains or reigns through the wholeness of the parts. Ferdinand responds:


As I hope

For quiet days, fair issue, and long life,

With such love as tis now, the murkiest den,

The most opportune place, the strongest suggestion

Our worser genius can, shall never melt

Mine honor into lust, to take away

The edge of that day’s celebration

When I shall think or Phoebus’ steeds are foundered

Or night kept chained below.


(IV,i, 23-34)


Prospero responds “Farly spoke. Sit then and talk with her; she is thine own.” Ferdinand has stated that for hope of a life in the love he is now in, no persuasion from the lower mind or “worser genius” will melt his honor into lust, making his marriage less than a nightless day of unfading sunlight. By honor he follows the will of wisdom.How different he is now from the time that he first arrived on the island, and would take Miranda off immediately! She is now his own, i. e. the anima is integrated regarding the noble. The integration leads to the symbolic visionof the wedding masque, wherin wisdom unveils the spirit realm to Ferdinand and Miranda for their wedding gift. Prospero shows the realm of the gods to the lovers, who once had its significance projected onto each other and experienced this only through oneanothers eyes. This is like the initiation into the love of wisdom, the unveiling of the spirits that are, among other things, knowledge, and in service to wisdom,. This shows the criowning of the soul with philosophy in its natural sense, for the integrsation of these spirits [or knowledges] is the road toward wisdom, as exemplified by Prospero.[vii]

The masque begins. Prospero tells them the right regard for this realm: “No tongue! All eyes! Be silent.” Iris, goddess of the rainbow and messenger of Juno, (Queen of the sky), addresses Ceres, who is the earth. Juno, through the arch of the raqinbow, bids Ceres to leave her realms over the earth to “come and sport” on the “grassy plot” where the masque takes place. The earth then hails the rainbow, and asks why7 Juno has summoned her there. The rainbow answers,


A contract of true love to celebrate

And some donation freely to estate

On the blessed lovers.



Ceres responds withy a question:


Tell me, heavenly bow,

If Venus or her son, as thou dost know,

Do now attend the Queen? Since they did plot

The means that dusky Dis my daughter got,

Her and her blind boy’s scandaled company

I have foresworn.


(IV,i, 86-91)


Ceres will not approach to rain blessings with the sky if Venus or Cupid are there. Their “scandaled company” was the means by which another daughter of the earth, Persephone, was abducted by Dis (Pluto or Hades) into the underworld.[viii] Iris responds that she need not fear (losing another daughter, Miranda), since Iris saw Venus heading back to Paphos (The place of the center of the Venus cult (Signet note to IV,i, 104-5) and her son, “Dove –drawn with her” They were indeed thinking of doing some “wanton charms” upon Ferdinand and Miranda. But Venus has gone, and


Her waspish-headed son has broke his arrows

Swears he will shoot no more, but play with sparrows

And be a boy right out.


(IV,i, 98-101)


Hymens torch will be lit, and Cupid thus transformed into a normal boy. [The ground above the passions at the crown of the family means that unlike Theseus, Ferdinand will not be struck with arrows of passion chasing other women unfulfilled.] Thw rule of wisdom and the basis, in something like the Socratic Nous, shows the kinship of Shakespeare with the Biblical and classical, as opposed top the modern, philosophers.

At this point, Juno alights. The goddess of the sky asks Ceres, the goddess of the earth and her sister, to go with her to bless the marriage, that they may “prosperous be/ And honored in their issue,” their offspring (IV,i, 104-5). Together the goddesses sing the song of blessings on the two. In the song are themes of fertility and and rich harvest which speak symbolically of the life the two will enter together.

Here at the blessing, where earth and sky meet, Ferdinand recognizes wisdom as his father, the spirits as spirits, and that he wants to live forever in this paradise:


Ferdinand: This is a most majestic vision, and

Harmonious charmingly. May I be bold

To think these spirits?


Prospero: Spirits which by mine art

I have from their confines called to enact

My present fancies.


Ferdinand: Let me live here ever!

So rare and wondered father and a wise

Makes this place Paradise.


(IV,i, 117-123)


Iris then calls the Nymphs, and then the reapers, which join together in a dance. Toward the end of the dance, Prospero remembers that Caliban is on his way, with others from the ship that landed in the Tempest, to attempt top murder Prospero. The entire play, of which the action of Prospero in the marriage is opnly a part, here abstracted, moves toward its conclusion. Here Prospero tells Ferdinand:


You do look, my son, in a moved sort,

As if you were dismayed; Be cheerful, sir.

Our revels now are ended. These, our actors,

As I foretold tyou, were all spirits, and

Are melted into thin air;

And like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capped towers, the great globe itself,

Yes, all which it inherit, shakll disolve,

And, like this insubstantiakl pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vexed.

Bear with my weakness; My old brain is troubled.

Be not disturbed with my infirmity.

If you be pleased, retire into my cell

And there repose. A turn or two I’ll walk

To still my beating mind.


(IV,i, 146-163)


We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

The sonship of Ferdinand to wisdom has occurred through his love for Miranda. Toward the end of the play, Ferdinand finds that his father Alonso, the King of Naples, has not drowned:


Ferdinand: Though the seas threaten, they are merciful;

I have cursed them without cause.


Alonso [asking of Miranda]: Is she the goddess that hath severed us

And brought us thus together?


Ferdinand: Sir, she is mortal;

But by immortal providence she’s mine.

I chose her when I could not ask my father

For his advice, nor thought I had one. She

Is daughter to this famous Duke of Milan,

Of whom I have so often heard renoun

But never saw before; of whom I have

Received a second life; and second father

This lady makes him to me.


(IV,i,   )


Through the movement of The Tempest, the education of Ferdinand has taken him from the drowning of his father Alonso, through love to marriage and the replacement of the conventional father with Prospero, who embodies wisdom. Upon the death to Ferdinand of conventional authority, or tradition, he enters into a magical realm, the island, where he finds Miranda. He falls in love, taking her for a goddess and himself for a king, in his original encounter with the unconscious, or spirit world. The mistake upon the dissolution of the conventional authority is to take oneself to be the authority, the ruler or king, which corresponds to taking the beloved to be a goddess. This is the innocent tragic flaw of the pattern of the heroic drama, at least on the level of love. Ferdinand here challenges the true king in an attempt to possess the anima, the projection of which is carried by Miranda. But he is immediately taken into custody by t6he father of the anima. While all the divinity Ferdinand can see is Miranda, the hidden wisdom of Prospero works through his love for his daughter to transform him from thinking himself to be sovereign and Miranda a goddess to the recognition of what is truly sovereign, and Miranda to be mortal. The trials show symbolically the workings of the liberating education.

With regard to the solution of the second (“son”) stage in Jung’s notion of the trinity process of development, Jung states, “The exemplary life of Christ is itself a transition and amounts to a bridge leading over to the third stage, where the original stage of the “father” is as it were recovered. If it were no more than a repetition of the first stage, everything that had been won would be lost” (Psychology and Religion, p. 181). Shakespeare shows the crossing of this second stage by showing the image in the soul of the Christ event, which occurs as the integration of the anima through his royal love. The tragedy occurs inwardly, as purging or humbling, and thus leads to marriage. Prospero uses tradition to slay the inflation of Ferdinand and to establish the independence of Miranda from his external will, while following his true will and the way of love. This shows the purpose of the fathers with regard to love, which is to cause a symbolic and not a literal death. The purpose and fulfillment of love is shown to be the crossing of this bridge, for which it must be guided by the embodiment of love itself, the philosopher Prospero.

Jung states: “The advance to the third state means something like a recognition of the unconscious, if not actual subordination to it (Ibid, p. 181) Jung’s note to this line reads “Submission to any metaphysical authority is from the psychological standpoint submission to the unconscious.” [That is to say, psychology itself is incapable of crossing over to the third state. Jung avoids distinguishing between the collective unconscious and the metaphysical truth, so that psychology might be considered a science. Within the ancient context, this “projection” is an apprehension through the “self.”] “Adulthood is reached when the son reproduces his own childhood state by voluntarily submitting to a paternal authority, either in psychological form or factually in projected form, as when he recognizes the authority of the church’s teachings” (Ibid, p. 181). Shakespeare in the figure of Prospero presents a third alternative, which is philosophy recovered in its natural sense.

Jung states, “Though the new level (reason and reflection) acquired through the emancipation of the son continues into the third stage, it must recognize that it is not the source of the ultimate decisions and flashes of insight which rightly go by the name of “gnosis,” but that these are inspired by a higher authority known in projected form as the Holy Spirit.” In non-Christian terms, this is the harmony of the universe, which one partakes of by ruling wisely.

Notice that the third stage does not provide for a distinction between Prospero and Ferdinand [/ Miranda, or the newly reborn compared to the mature wise man. Nor is there a distinction between the king and the philosopher. The noble education is by nature an image of the philosophic education.] The end of the third stage is but the beginning of the pursuit of wisdom. Prospero, though, is wise. The third stage does not show “individuation, but leaves us at the integration of anima/animus and the emergence of the “self,” the seed of individuation planted. The integration of the self is the pursuit of wisdom. The end or goal of this pursuit is shown by Prospero himself. The wise ruler, tending the fields of mankind toward harmony, in service to what is good is the picture of the fourth.



Psychology and Love


The spirit world which Prospero unveiled for the Prince and Princess is a direct subject in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Here the terms of Jung are especially fitting. Shakespeare is up to something regarding the presentation of the gods and of religion in his plays. It was somewhere noted that dramatists were forbidden to present the Biblical God, and were careful about this, accounting for the replacement of the Biblical with the pagan deities, as in the wedding Masque. There is something more to this as well, and we have not begun to account for the strange colors of the spirit world in Shakespeare, nor to understand the comprehensive view that accounts for his treatment of things Christian and the Christian world. It is easy to assume, but difficult or impossible to demonstrate even that he is a Christian writer at all. His work has nothing of the obligatory piety of the medieval mystery plays. It is possible that he is a philosopher arising out of the renaissance rediscovery of nature, but taking the same course as that which Plato and Socrates took, taking philosophy to its fulfillment in the discovery of human nature, or the discovery of nature through the human nature. If this is displeasing to us as Christians, it is deeply encouraging regarding the nature of man. And it is still quite possible that he be a Christian of the highest sort, careful to not present things that are dangerous to attempt and impossible to present accurately to the unsympathetic viewer.


On Romeo and Juliet




The mystery of romantic love provides what is like a crystal ball or a mandala, a mantra for the mind’s eye through which we can look to into the entire human drama. To regard romantic love as a mystery which has a purpose in the health of the human psyche is also to regard the psyche and reality as a mystery the bounds of which are far from immediately apparent. Common sense takes love to be simply and obviously real, yet once we ask what its nature and purpose is, the obviousness vanishes.  If love does indeed have a purpose­­– beyond sexual or biological reproduction– the entire scientific view of man and the nature man inhabits is in some sense inadequate for understanding human nature. Our science of course admits the animal desire for sex, but to even come close to a purpose of love, our science would perhaps have to consider the binding of the family into a unity. Yet love is still considered to be specifically human. In one sweep, the majority of modern psychology falls away as inadequate for inquiry into the whole of man, an inadequate view which seems indeed to be due to the longing of psychology to be a science. Hence the scientific textbooks on psychology do not even mention love, and cannot give anything like an adequate description of the place of love, for example in “abnormal” psychology. If our inquiry, then, is even to begin, these contexts of modern science and modern common sense must come into question. But mysteries have a tendency to do that– to make us question.


Indeed, if we would try to see anything about love, we must be allowed to call into service the symbols and imagery of poetry. The symbols must embody some sort of knowledge, if a veiled sort which we can work to unveil by reflection. With this sort of knowledge, the epistemological status of what appears before the eye of the mind is as much a mystery as what it is that the symbols point toward. Perhaps, too, we must find ourselves to have a psychological need to see something of the mysteries, a need which is urgent enough to overleap the desire for the kind of certainty or assurance that the poetic symbols cannot bring. We must be willing to put up with obscurity in notions which are not immediately entirely clear. We must trust the symbols to some extent, though we do not know what they mean or where they lead. For example, if it is said in poetry that the soul is an “image of God,” we must be willing to wonder for a long time what this might mean. Perhaps we must settle for what insight we can find, and even be willing to be changed by it. This is because the notion is a symbol, only partly clear, and not at all like 3+1=4 (if it is a bit like 1+1=2!). The symbols embody a different kind of knowledge. If our goal is to finalize our quest by possessing a rational or propositional content, we perhaps might as well close the book of the symbols, since this book may consistently elude that desire. The symbols are our gateway to the mysteries. We must be daring enough to be consistently baffled along with any increase in clarity.


William Shakespeare and Carl Jung are two thinkers who are anything but willing to close the book of the mysteries of the book of love, the human psyche and reality. Instead they seem to have devoted their lives to an articulation of the natures involved. Their works provide gateways for the genuine student of human nature which most will leave unopened. Jung is excluded from the mainstream of modern psychology because he did not entirely hide the fact that he labored in the mysteries. Yet, if there are such realms of inquiry, and man cannot be comprehended without taking these into account, then the work of Jung makes up a most significant chapter of modern psychology. Shakespeare may have seen himself as giving body to the shapes of things unknown, through plays which show human nature in the concrete way of particulars which can sometimes be done through history, but usually can be done only through a literary form. Shakespeare’s plays are like solidified visions which are simultaneously tailored especially for psychological inquiry. Jung sought to unlock the understanding embodied in this sort of symbolic articulation. Together, the two bring both depth and a welcome connection to purpose without which the study of man might remain fruitless. The plays provide particulars to give body to our study, providing examples that are rarified to show the intelligible things about the soul. Without this showing of the speeches with the bodies that is the character of dialogues and drama, our study of psychology might remain a mere abstraction from the normal, which may well never demonstrate the essential ideas such as the health of the soul.




Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest show a form of love that is different from the sort usually found between man and woman. It is distinct in that it is heroic. Loves of the sort usually found always partake of something of this heroic sort, but their dominant element is not this larger than life heroism. Heroic love is very rare and exceptionally beautiful. Romantic love in the real world is always a mixture of the true and less than true, and our thesis will include the assumption that Romeo and Juliet show true love. That true love is shown especially in poetry, and especially in tragedy is a point worthy of reflection. But there seems no better place to begin if we intend a genuine psychology based upon a true knowledge of love, as the difficulty and obscurity of the examples leaves material for the study, particular examples, difficult to find. We find that the study of lyric poetry contains more knowledge of eros than all of modern psychology. But the examples of Shakespeare are rarified even more than the examples in lyric poetry. Aristotle contrasts poetry and history by noting that poetry is more philosophical than history, since poetry can show the principles which are almost always more obscure among the things that occur.


There is a of course some question as to whether these kids are not excessive, and no one can say they ought have done what they are shown as having done. There may be some question too as to whether true love is a good thing. And some might argue that their love was less than true. The Elephant Man, in the play of that name, says that if Romeo truly loved Juliet, he would have checked, as does Lear, to see if she did not only appear to be dead. Romeo is trapped by appearance, allowing for the tragedy, and true love seeks always the reality. And perhaps this flaw is essential to the lover, and Romeo and Juliet the essential tragedy of love. Orpheus might have succeeded, had he only been able to avoid the impulse to gaze upon the visible beauty of Persephone, but he could not. The lover requires the wise man, perhaps, to get him through this narrow passage and live to tell about it. While this, what the Elephant man says, is true of a different sort of more human, adult love, we argue that romantic love in its essence occurs for those just about this age, and while it may lead by nature to the difference between appearance and reality, it cannot, for these, be assumed to have attained this maturity. The Greeks distinguish between eros, the emptiness longing for fulfillment, and Agape, the overflowing of the fulfillment. “True love” then is not Romantic love at all, but the love of the neighbor and friend, of those who love one another as He has loved us. Failed romantic love, too, finds its resolution in this true love of friendship and agape, sacrificing itself to hope for the best for the one loved, upon parting. Our topic here is romantic love, the love between man and woman, and the argument is that this by nature leads through death to agape, and that this is its purpose or essential nature. King Henry V tells his Kate that he does love her, but would not die for her love. (King Henry V, V,ii, 149-150). The French princess, too, just happens to serve his policy. But Romeo and Juliet are about 15 and 17, and theirs, we think, is true love.



Heroic and noble love, such as that in these plays, shows in some sense the purpose of love fulfilled. By this, it shows us what it is that this longing of the heart seeks, and what it is that love demands of us. It shows us what of love is true.


Heroic love is romantic love in which the lovers overcome death for love. The word hero means not only protagonist or the one that saves the day, but also the one that faces down the fear of death in order to do so. In the tragedy, the death is literal, while in the comedy, or the plot that turns out well, the death, we will argue, is symbolic. But we will show that these are the same in overcoming death, and different only in their circumstances, the one fortunate and the other unfortunate. True love is self-sacrificing in a special sense. The truth of love presents itself as a most beautiful selfless devotion to the beloved, to the good of the beloved. It is in this selfless devotion that the fulfillment of the love is sought and found. Love requires a special sacrifice which is a symbolic death– a putting to death or sacrifice of all selfishness which selfishness would keep the love from its fulfillment.


To symbolically overcome death is to overcome the principle of self-preservation by which all humans are originally weighted and bound to the earth. It is the sacrifice of a life ruled by the pursuit of earthly ends into which we are born from our mother’s womb, or from the beginning. This life shares with the other animals the temporal goals of food and self-preservation and reproduction, colored with aspects like lust and greed which are specifically human: a selfish love of family honor, patriotism or religious allegiance, selfishly possessive love and the love of ones own ideas. All such selfish cares have a common root, what Allan Bloom calls “love of one’s own,”


[ix] by which we are originally ruled. It is this aspect of ourselves which the sacrifice seeks to overcome, seeking to transform the love of one’s own into true love. It is in this self overcoming that heroic love overcomes death for love.[x]

To the extent that the possession of what is one’s own is reverently renounced–through the sacrifice that is the self-overcoming– the soul is freed from its most deeply rooted fear. This fear keeps us from focusing our love on what is truly good for the object of our love. This fear is at the root of the fear of death. Our attachment to the first kind of life is given up for the sake of love’s fulfillment. Something in selfless love presents itself as the fulfillment of each kind of love. This is the fulfillment not of the aspect or part of ourselves that is overcome, the earthly man, but rather the fulfillment of a higher aspect or part which is more truly ourselves. This higher self is fulfilled by living in harmony with reality in the same way that hunger is filled by meat. It presents itself as the health of the soul, and its beauty is overwhelmingly persuasive. What is one’s own becomes no longer something to cling to in fear of its temporality, but something to nourish toward its own fulfillment. The field of human contacts becomes the ground which we are given to till, sow, tend and harvest. True love–whether in friendship or romantic love, care of one’s own family, one’s country or mankind in general, involves this essential sacrifice which we will show or argue is the purpose of romantic love.

The sacrifice hinges on the paradox of an earthly selflessness prerequisite to the beatitude of a divine sort of fulfillment. If this sacrifice is really the emergence of a higher self which is capable of coming into harmony with the whole of reality, then the kind of reality this must be, to hold such a sublime possibility out to humans, is indeed the great mystery.

The drama of romantic love is an instance of the heroic drama in general, and shares its basic structure. The pattern is repeated on at least three levels, and so the lower stories are images of the higher stories. I would draw these in a diagram, but such things tend not to make sense unless one draws them oneself. Jesus, Socrates and Romeo and Juliet share a common structure in the stories of their actions in the world, each in relation to a feminine element just their size. Jesus dies for mankind, Socrates for Athens, and Romeo for Juliet. In each death, the law or paternal opponent is seized by their enemies, who are as if stung into a frenzy of hatred by being offended when their ugliness appears to them in light of such beauty. At least that is one way to explain what occurs.

The Christian “hero myth” is a well known one. In it the hero follows a like of selfless devotion to divine things, and to teaching the people. This brings him into conflict with the ancestral conventions, the religion based on law. This body of tradition is here in service to the love of ones own. This embodies the forces that slay the hero, and by this serpentine bite he goes through death. A vitalization of religion, a great harmonizing or grace between man on earth and the divine, follows as a result, the great reconciliation.

The story of Socrates shares the same heroic form on a different level. Here, the hero follows a life of selfless devotion to philosophy, the love (philia) and pursuit of wisdom, and to teaching the people– or at least the aristoi– to seek the truth about the most important things in life. He is accused by the city of Athens, through certain enemies, of atheism, corrupting the youth, and introducing new divinities into the city. The city votes democratically to have Socrates put to death. But Socrates tells those who did not vote this way that death is nothing to fear, but that we ought rather fear doing any injustice, and thereby harming our souls (Apology,   ). The result of the sacrifice is the founding of Western philosophy, or at least the turn of philosophy from the pre-Socratic sort of the study of nature to the Socratic sort, the study of being through the human things, asking the most important questions, such as “What is Virtue?” Plato replaces Homer’s Achilleus with Socrates as the model of Heroism.[xi] This Socratic model changes the reason for the overcoming of death to from the irrational causes of Achilleus to the tranquil and rational causes of Socrates. The most beautiful things are things that are always. There need be no competition between people for the contemplation of these things, because there is no scarcity of the divine food. Thus the fear of death by which we cling to temporal goods, and which rules man in all sorts of mishaps, is dissolved by the light and beauty of a way which loves truth, which was before the ancestors and before the beginning.[xii]

It may seem peculiar to include Romeo and Juliet, or anything having to do with romantic love, in this group of heroes. After all, the lovers cling to one another in a most childish way that looks more akin to the irrational motive of Achilleus in the conquest of death than it looks akin to the Socratic and Christian. They die under love, for one another, rather than under God for mankind or under philosophy for the city. Yet the heroic pattern is similar, each according to its own size. The love emerges, calling out a selfless devotion which carries the lovers beyond all earthly concerns. The love comes into conflict with a manifestation of tradition in the dark earthly powers of the family hatred.[xiii] These forces turn a love story into a tragedy, slaying the love and the lovers in it in the tomb of Capulet. The result of the heroic sacrifice is a reconciliation, the end of the family hatred.

Since the emergence of the psychology of C. G. Jung, it has become a more common notion that this heroic drama can occur symbolically in microcosm within the individual human soul. After all, Socrates was able to take the mythic walk through death only because he was himself already courageous, or beyond the fear of death. The ground of this inquiry is based upon the notion that when humans overcome death for selfless love, an image of the cosmic hero myth occurs within the soul of the individual. The hypothesis is that the purpose of romantic love is to plant in the soul the seed of the micro-heroic self overcoming, or, the love is the emergence of this seed nascent in the soul. The lovers partake of a wholeness which, when its seed is planted, they partake of by partnership. The love itself which calls out the sacrifice and carries them through death, in itself partakes of that which is beyond death. The goal of romantic love is the beginning of that in the individual which is beyond death.

The philosopher-duke in The Tempest, Prospero, embodies this in the individual which is born from love. In him, the child born from love is shown in its maturity. Because he is a wise ruler on a magic island, the forces of death in the tragic heroic drama are not there. The influence of the ancestral is as a rod in his hand, rather than the way the stars are crossed in the tragedy from the ancient family hatred. By this Prospero puts the lovers through trials which fulfill the same transcendent function as the literal sacrifice in Romeo and Juliet. Tradition here serves as a mediator rather than as a barrier to the goal of love. While Romeo and Juliet go through death literally and are wed beyond death symbolically, Ferdinand and Miranda go through death symbolically and are wed literally. The essential factor which makes the drama a tragedy or a comedy is the presence or lack of effective wise rule. By his art, the wise Prospero can lift the drama of love–which demands a death– out of the literal and “above the demand for a literal death.”[xiv]



Jung: On Anima and Animus


The notions of Jung of Anima and Animus refer to a level of the unconscious involved in love. There are three levels of depth to the Jungian understanding of the unconscious: First, there is the personal shadow or personal unconscious, which is the same as the Freudian unconscious. It consists of repressed memories and unrecognized appetites, and so can be understood in terms of the appetites and the picture of the three part Platonic soul. Reason, spiritedness and appetite are the three parts of the soul in the Republic, in the account that develops from books three to seven. Reason is at first logistikon or calculation, what we call technical reason, but develops into nous, or intellect. The middle part is at first only anger or thumos, translated as spiritedness, but the account of the heart too develops as the female class of the guardians and their education is discussed, till matters end in love matters that concern ta Kalon, the fair, the beautiful or the noble. These parts, the appetites heart and the mind in Plato, translate very roughly into ego, super-ego and Id in Freudian psychology and in Jung, the three levels of depth of the unconscious are the shadow, the anima/animus and the “Self.” Freud’s super-ego may be entirely conventional or artificial, while the Christian understanding of the soul speaks of “conscience.” There is no such word in Greek. There is rather the intellect, and the question becomes whether this is ruled by the good or whether truth is trans-ethical, and ethics a matter of ethical and not intellectual virtue. In Jung, there is no faculty called conscience that is prominent, but rather there is the persona and the self, or the collective unconscious. The classical arguments, such as that referring to the self-satisfaction of virtue or the self sufficiency of friendship, can easily be grafted onto the Jungian self, but it is a grafting.


The second level of depth is that of the Anima and Animus, and it is to this that in the present section of this essay we descend, and ascend. The words anima and animus are Latin and translate as soul and spirit respectively. English variants are found in the root of animal, translating the Greek Zoa or life, and the English word animus, meaning spirit in the sense of the character of the mind as a verb and also the angry or spirited character of mind. But Jung has transformed these into concepts unique to Jungian theory, and this is one profound discovery included in the psychology of Carl Jung. Anima and Animus are at once both archetypes of the collective unconscious shared by all mankind and aspects or parts of the individual unconscious whose contents and functions can be integrated in the quest for wholeness called by Jung “individuation.” Jung writes:


The anima is not the soul in the dogmatic sense, not an anima rationalis, which is a philosophic conception, but a natural archetype that satisfactorily sums up all the statements of the unconscious, of the primitive mind, of the history of language and religion.


As collective archetypes, anima and animus refer to the masculine and feminine beings reflected symbolically in myth and poetry. These are the gods and goddesses which personify the masculine and feminine of a magical realm of spirits. (In the presentation of Socrates, the gods become spirits or mediators, as in the Phaedrus, to “hyper-ouranian being”[xv]). Shakespeare shows Oberon and Titania, the Fairy King and Queen, and their relation to Theseus and Hippolyta is precisely the relation of the non-philosophic aristoi to what Jung calls the archetypes or unconscious functions of anima and animus. Anima and Animus are also involved in the opposite sex figures in our dreams and in the magical or animated aspects of human experience. Love between a man and a woman emerges as this sort of concrete encounter with what is like a spirit world. It is a concrete encounter with a part or level of the unconscious.

As aspects of the individual unconscious, one’s anima refers to the feminine unconscious of a man and one’s animus to the masculine unconscious of a woman. The idea is roughly that we consciously develop the gender specific qualities of our minds and characters, as we become men and women, so that the opposite gender characterizes the repressed and undeveloped side of our personalities and minds. The lyric statement “Your my soul and my inspiration” captures the Jungian use of the term in the projection of the anima in love, or the personal anima, if that use is admissible. The emergence of romantic love is then like finding this aspect of oneself embodied in one’s beloved. This is why the lovers gaze into one another’s eyes, and why falling in love has the character of a dream world. The euphoric condition is not just some release of dopamine to be understood and artificially replicated or packaged as happiness by neoropharmacology.

The integration of these aspects of the unconscious occurs through their projection, or through the drama that results. In this, the collective and individual contents are seen as indistinct. The beloved takes on the significance of a god or goddess. In the attachment thus created, the beloved is a part of ones own soul. The separating out of the collective and individual aspects is the result of the course of love’s fulfillment. The separation occurs upon the sacrifice of loving the beloved as ones own possession. The mother is also a female figure, and the sacrifice is a part of the “Battle for the liberation from the mother” (Symbols of Transformation, Ch VI, pp. 274-305). This proves to be the same as liberation from the earth or from the cave, and an uprighting of the hierarchy of ends in the soul, dethroning the appetites and our attachment to the earthly ends. It is the discovery of love that one loves an image or “phantom” as this is called in the works of Plato. There is something of this in the story of Orpheus, as to why it is to look at Persephone while they are ascending that is forbidden, and why when he glances at her, she disappears again into the underworld. The visible appearance is effected, so that when in love the beloved appears more beautiful than they would were Aphrodite not casting her aspersions. But we cannot overstate how literally we mean that the beloved becomes a part of the soul of the lover, though of course she is also herself, and he himself. And therein lies the drama. But nothing is treated as more radically one’s own than is the beloved by the lover, so that the sacrifice here is at the navel of our attachment to the earth or cave. Romantic love is the essential relation involved in the integration of anima and animus. It is a kind of education or natural completion of the heart.[xvi]

These contents of the unconscious dwell, metaphorically speaking, beneath the personal shadow, one level deeper in the unconscious. The personal shadow consists of contents like those uncovered in the psychology of Freud. The shadow is the dark, unrecognized and unwanted side of ourselves Its integration occurs as a kind of self-knowledge, an acknowledgement of aspects of ourselves and our desires which conflict with moral law on either the parental or ancestral level. The “persona” is what Jung calls the mask that we wear before ourselves and before others in the world, a partial personality that does not include the unwanted parts of ourselves that are painful to recognize. There is also a personal anima of a man, the repressed feminine side made so much of by pop psych Jungianism. Repentance is the tradition or the traditional spiritual arrangement or symbolic ritual in Christianity or Christian churches that enables the integration of what Jung calls the personal shadow.

Similar to the integration of the personal unconscious, the integration of the anima or animus involves a kind of recognition. This is a self-knowledge of a deeper kind, the importance of which spurs us on toward the sacrifice. What is attained in the sacrifice is not of course a permanent purity, but an ability to acknowledge ones natural impurity and repeat the sacrifice, keeping the mind’s eye clear. Jung states that without the recognition of the personal unconscious, the integration of anima and animus is impossible. Thus the purpose or even the emergence of love depends upon and demands a certain minimal self critical ability. Jung states: “The shadow can be realized only a relation to a partner, and anima and animus only a partner of the opposite sex, because only in such a relation do their projections become operative.” The shadow is recognized through its projection onto those who should be same gender friends or neighbors,[xvii] and these factious misperceptions, when we are in conflict with others, can be withdrawn from projection and recognized, as when Jesus teaches about the log and splinter. We see the splinter in our brother’s eye, the things that bother us in others, because of the log that is in our own eye.

The story or action of this integration is cast in the image of the higher heroic drama, so that the noble things are such because they are an image or in the image of the intellectual things. Jung states,


Every real love relationship consists ultimately in the woman finding her hero, and the hero his soul, not in dreams, but in palpable reality.[xviii]


This pattern is an image of the story of the cosmic hero, even as in myth the soul is an image of God. The pattern is most apparent in Romeo and Juliet, because the story occurs in the literal and visible. Romeo was to “redeem” Juliet from her feigned death (IV, iii, 32). In the vault of the Capulets, Romeo drinks the poison the mother of Juliet wished to give him for slaying their wicked cousin and nephew Tybalt (III, v, 88-103). Juliet awakens to find her redeemer dead. Dagger in hand, without question or hesitation she sacrifices her life and follows him in death, leaving a world in Verona which had no place for such love. The same or similar pattern occurs between Christ and the Bride (Revelation 19:7), to whom he is wed outside of time. This bride is something like a collective soul which consists of individual souls who have by faith followed their hero through death. Romeo and Juliet manifest an image of this cosmic sacrifice of hero and soul, the truth of true love. This is why the play holds the minds of all generations in such fascination. It is difficult to tell whether Romeo and Juliet are like two halves of one religious pilgrim (I,v, 95-112) or are themselves, by one another, each successful pilgrims across the sea of death to what is always. But we think the former rather than the latter. Yet it seems too as though the drama of romantic love calls out of latency that in the soul which is, mythically, an image of the cosmic drama, and follows through the sacrifice to the emergence of that in the soul which is an image of God.

This dramatic pattern proves to have much to do with all human love relationships in “palpable reality.” It is implicit in all loves. There, in palpable reality, the health of the soul is maintained with a certain self-critical reverence and willingness to sacrifice for the good of the beloved and of the love. There is no love relation which will not bring the partners more than ample opportunity to learn and practice the self-critical ability needed to grow with the love. The love itself demands this of us, while too often we get caught in a mutual criticism of one another’s self-interestedness. The recognition of the personal unconscious or shadow is necessary as an introduction into knowing one’s own capacity for human darkness, and to even begin to be self-critical on the level of anima and animus. [2016 Men too often respond to what a woman says, rather than going into themselves to find and correct the problem. Women object when something is wrong, without necessarily knowing or being able to say what it is. But the subtle relations of the two, again in palpable reality, work toward the royal rule of the household, as the two participate in the sovereign ruling element, which is hence self-purifying.] We must not be surprised to find such truths pertaining to penance as that reality owes us nothing, all being a gift, and that the source of all our sorrows lies within our own heart. Nor should we be surprised to find, as is an archetypal element of love,[xix] that we have irreverently taken as our own the daughter of a father whose permission we did not ask. It seems, then, that what love demands of us, through its storms in which we find ourselves to be as if sailors on a turbulent sea in the thick of night, is either the same essential sacrifice or else is an image of the sacrifice involved in the birth in the soul of the religious life, properly understood.

Jung states:


Most people are content to be self-righteous and (if nothing worse) prefer mutual vilification to the recognition of their projections…one has to overcome certain moral obstacles such as vanity, ambition,, conceit, resentment, etc…The relation with the anima is again an ordeal by fire for the spiritual and moral forces of a man…Although she may be the chaotic urge to life, something strangely meaningful lies hidden in her, a secret knowledge of hidden wisdom, which contrasts most curiously with her elfin nature. This aspect appears only to the person who gets to grips with her seriously. Only then, when his hard task has been faced, (i.e. coming to grips with the collective unconscious in general. This is the great task of the individuation process) does he come to realize more and more that behind all her cruel sporting with human fate there lies something like a hidden purpose which seems to reflect a superior knowledge of life’s laws. It is just the most terrifying, chaotic things which reveal a deeper meaning. And the more this meaning is recognized the more the anima loses her impetuous and compulsive character.


Aion, pp. 25-29


No real knowledge or wisdom is ever found without paying for it in painful sacrifice. The pain of love is meant to compel us to this sacrifice, painful in itself. This “coming to grips with” the “collective unconscious in general” is Jung’s way of saying that we must recognize certain realities that are symbolized, for instance, in the religious traditions of mankind. The relations with the anima or animus through the beloved seeks to provide a kind of bridge to these realities, and to this essential recognition.

The mediation of anima and animus to these realities is the drama of heroic love through the projection and integration of psychic contents. In both Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest, the meeting of the lovers is infused with a bursting ion of numinous contents which refer to things divine. The lovers embody for one another an aspect of their deeper selves which is an image of divine things never before experienced. Romeo calls Juliet the sun, while she calls him the god of her idolatry. Ferdinand takes Miranda to be a goddess and the source of the magic of the island. She takes Ferdinand to be a spirit, and when her father tells her that he is mortal, she says that she might call him a “thing divine.” Here, there is little distinction between the autonomous anima and animus and the beloved who embodies them as an image.

[2016 The euphoria of love may be its best known characteristic, though the least of the things for which we require explanation. We say that the nature of the soul is contemplative, and again the falling into love of the lover is the first concrete experience of the divine things for those who first fall in love. It is then like an introduction to the pleasures of contemplation. Socrates tells Phaedrus that of all the intelligibles, the beautiful is the only one allowed visible form. If we were to see wisdom in the visible, we would go out of our wits. The point for the present discussion is that romantic love is especially for the young lover, the first genuine experience of anything intelligible. A second way of explaining the euphoria of love is that it is the entrance into the harmony of Eden, temporarily, though love provides this sip of the immortal nectar of paradise right at the beginning of our adult lives]

[2016 In the study of love, it is commonplace to say that the lover loves an image they themselves make or project onto the beloved. It is less commonplace to consider that the image and the beloved are in a sense one, or the sense in which love does see the objective reality or even the “angel” of the beloved. All the complexity of love comes from the fact that the one loved is both a part of one’s own heart and of course a separate person]


The course of love works to separate the individual from the collective contents. This course of love is especially evident in the trials set for Ferdinand and Miranda by the wise ruler, Prospero. The death involved is here symbolic and not literal, or symbolic and hence not literal, and this is the way it should be. Ferdinand is set through a series of humbling trials through which we see him come to recognize the true source of the magic of the island, and to recognize Miranda as mortal. Miranda’s love carries her beyond the overt will of her father, which stands in the place of tradition, to fulfill the hidden and true intention. As a wedding gift, after the two have gone through the passage, they are shown the enchanted world of the elemental spirits, in the wedding Masque. This is the realm of the gods or spirits which they once had projected onto one another. By this Wedding Masque, Ferdinand recognizes the wisdom which Prospero embodies as the source of the magic of the island, and Ferdinand then calls Prospero his “second father.”

The mediation of anima and animus cannot be grasped without a symbol to distinguish the autonomous from the individual aspects. If we picture or imagine the autonomous anima and animus as regarding a kind of spirit world, distinct from both the ordinary world of common sense and the eternal realm of divine light and truth,, and in some sense between the two, and a mediator, we will have such a symbol. It is, then, not the spirit world itself which is integrated into the individual consciousness or soul, but a certain capacity of the individual to inhabit or recognize these realities, and to travel along this bridge. The collective unconscious is autonomous in the sense that it is not a part of the individual mind. Jung makes a distinction between the archetypes, which are not integratable, and the contents of the archetypes, which are integratable.[xx] To imagine the spirit world in terms of the three dimensions of space and time is the error of minds that cannot see into the soul, in what is like another dimension. The ‘contents “of the archetypes are the images in the soul which are images of the spirit world itself. The spirit world itself Jung calls autonomous collective archetypes. The anima and animus belong to a realm that is not entirely psychic, but “psychoid” as Jung calls this in his later, more fearless works. The spirits are perhaps refractions of something like a harmony of the universe, if it were truly one verse, its parts bound together by a certain incomprehensible all-pervading harmony or silent music. Even the most crass materialist will readily agree that there is something real that we call “common opinion,” and even a Zietgeist or spirit of the times. Karl Popper too spoke of “World Three,” where theories are. There are, though, both intelligible things that are the product of human speech and the truths to which these refer. The former are, rather obviously, measured by the latter- as we can be, and while anything said may seem believable, we are often proven to be mistaken. What we mean by autonomous is something like the way in which the contents of public opinion are autonomous or separate from the individual. Common opinion also has a nature, and this nature would also be autonomous and akin to the autonomy of the archetypes. The symbols produced by the soul attempt to get at the realities, say of Oberon the Fairy King and Titania the Fairy Queen, and for those who do not see the realities, the literal Fairy King may be their only access to important things about the soul which humans cannot live well without considering. Theseus and Hippolyta do not see the fairies, nor do any of the mortals, with the exception of Bottom the Weaver. This may mean that the study of the soul is simply not accessible in any public way, and yet it is just this that Shakespeare shows to both the groundlings and the nobles, to our great delight.

Jung has difficulty distinguishing between the collective archetypes as contents of the human unconscious and the truths to which these refer. That is, Jung is a Kantian or subjectivist, with the archetypes very similar to the Kantian categories of the understanding. Nor are the knowledges and the functions clearly distinguished by Jung, as we have both the higher functions and the innate capacity to know the functions, an innate capacity for self-knowledge. The fundamental beings are not clearly distinguished from the human soul, the “self” from God (Is the self a god image or is god an image of the self?). We however, turning to the Greeks rather than the Germans, consider Jung’s archetypes to be real and to be the knowledge in the soul, a knowledge that is of what is, and would be as it is without us. This knowledge in the soul is unconscious in us when we do not know, in the soul of each, and is the cause of the symbols and images produced by the soul.

To the extent that the contents of anima and animus are integrated, they refer to functions of the psyche by which we relate to the collective unconscious. Jung states:


The animus is a psychopomp, a mediator between the conscious and the unconscious and a personification of the latter. Just as the anima becomes, through integration, the eros of consciousness, so the animus becomes a logos; and in the same way that the anima gives relations and relationship to a man’s consciousness, the animus gives to a woman’s consciousness a capacity for self-knowledge and reflection.


Aion, p. 29



The union of these two functions in the soul is the union of a sort of rational discrimination and apprehension involved in mathematics, like geometry, and the eros or passion that inspires the soul seeking its completion to quest for the knowledge of the human things. There is an erotic reason and a rational eros. It is by what is born from this union that one contemplates the meaning of myth, the health of the human soul and the purpose of life- man’s place within the nature of the whole, and such things. The union begets the eye of the soul by which the veil of myth falls away revealing access to its meaning.

It is by the integration of anima and animus that that in the soul which is an image of God emerges. This is reason in the higher sense, one that is the union of love and what is more commonly called reason. This is reason which reflects not through concepts in the mind, but through a natural unity of the soul, of concepts with the knowledge in the soul, which can emerge. This higher unity of the soul is a mystery even greater than love, and involves in some way the deepest level of the soul and highest functioning of the mind, called by Jung the “self.” But Jung states:


The syzygy (or union of anima and animus seems to represent at least an essential part of it, if not actually two halves of the royal brother-sister pair, and hence the tension of opposites from which the divine child is born.


Aion, p.45


The divine child is the self, and its birth in the soul is the beginning of a life of the soul more enchanted yet than love. The love which encircles the two lovers is itself what seems to be an image of God. We will see Prospero, who has lived a life of such unity of the two functions in his study of the liberal arts and of ruling, standing invisibly over Ferdinand and Miranda guiding their course. The wise ruler appears to be in himself an embodiment of that same unity which circles two in romantic love. The embodiment of this seems essential to the love’s finding fulfillment on earth, without having to leave by way of tragic death. Through this encircling of the two, perhaps, the love leads to the drawing out of that in each which is a divine child. This is symbolized in a special kind of wedding which is simultaneously an inner fusion, for which Ferdinand and Miranda are shown the spirit world unveiled in the wedding masque.












Bloom, Allan. Love and Friendship. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Jung, Carl G. Symbols of Transformation. Collected Works Vol. 5, NY, NY: Bollingen Foundation, 1956.


Meyers, Henry Alonso. “Romeo and Juliet and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: Tragedy and Comedy. in the Signet edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, edited by Wolfgang

Clemen. NY, NY: The New American Library, 1963. From Henry Alonso Meyers, Tragedy: A View of Life, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1956.


Gibbons, Brian. Introduction to the Arden edition of Romeo and Juliet. NY: Methuen & co., 1980.

[1] Bloom (Love and Frienhdship, p. 276) writes: …but Romeo kills himself only because he believes that Juliet is dead. How does that difference between appearance and reality follow necessarily from the lover’s nature? This is the mystery of the play.

[2] A popular song says: “Easy livin / And I’v been forgiven / Since youve taken your place in mty heart.” Uriah Heap.

[3] Olivia Hussey, in the Zepharelli version, is one of the most beautiful female portraits of all time, to rank with the Mona Lisa. Audrey Hepburn is another example of a princess, of a different sort. Cordelia, Miranda, Hermia and only a very few others appear this way, as among the most beautiful female portraits in the sense of woman as beloved, aside from the Saints, such as Magdalene or Therese. Elizabeth and Victoria

[4] Shakespeare may show the religious quest to be fulfilled in the union of an utterly transcendent pursuit and political action of a certain kind. In the Merchant of Venice, Portia comes from Belmont into Venice to save a circumstance from tragedy. In Measure for Measure, the philosopher-duke purges the city by disguising himself as a Friar and giving the rule to the tyrannical Angelo. He then rescues the city from him, weds all evil in the play to women in order to cure (forgive) it. The philosopher-duke then marries the nun Isabella, and the play ends like the Bible ends, in a picture of reconciliation. In the Tempest, Prospero rules toward a similar end, [in a wedding and a reconciliation]. In each case, wise action yields a grace or harmony, and a situation in the polity that is like the fulfilled soul, a god-image. Romeo’s only cure to banishment from Juliet and Verona is here presented by the Friar as philosophy. This may be because his eros seeks the divine things, and cannot be fulfilled by anything else, and so the love is not in harmony with reality.

[v] Allan Bloom, in his Interpretive Essay on Plato’s Republic, takes up the thesis that if the Republic is seen in the almost inaccessible Classical perspective in which it was written, the work comes to light as the greatest anti-Utopian work ever written. The perfect regime is impossible because the city is shown to be a conventional, and not a natural being. It has all along been a symbol of the soul educated toward the birth of philosophy. Because the city has no natural perfection, as does the soul. Because the soul is a natural being, the entire purpose of the city and tradition is to be directed toward the perfection of the soul. This is like tending a garden rather than ruling in a selfish way for honor or power, which builds a wall and forces love and grace to leave the changing or created realm Shakespeare shows this to only be possible to the extent that there is wise rule.

[vi] While empirical psychology addresses the symbols, the symbols themselves address the divine things. If empirical psychology of the unconscious collective soul of man admits, along with the rest of modernity, no concrete sunlight world of consciousness, to which each level of the unconscious corresponds, then the image of god latent in the human collective unconscious is an image of the collective human self. In the classical view of nature, though, the collective human soul is an image of the whole. This is how the soul is the philosopher’s stone. This is the fundamental difference between the view of nature in the phenomenological psychology under the roof of a science and a psychology under the ancient view of nature, to which the symbols refer. The question of the health of the soul leads to the discovery of an image of the best or healthy soul within the unconscious.

[vii] Notice the relation between the “art” of Prospero and the “spirits,” or that between drama and knowledge.

[viii] Signet note to line IV,i, 89. The symbolically incestuous influence in cupidity, at which the trial of sexual self-control is aimed, is the means by which the daughters of the earth and the love of the heart are abducted into the underworld. The purpose of the trial is to set aright the rule or ordering of the soul. Ferdinand and Miranda are shown an image of what is happening in the spirit world, or as Jung would have it, in the unconscious during their trials, the conclusion of which is ongoing, simultaneously, in the wedding masque and the concluding trial. Their wedding gift from the wide man is access to self-knowledge, [in the knowledge of the meaning of their circumstances.] The poet Robert Plant writes: “In the darkest depths of Mordor / I met a girl so fair/ But Gollum and the evil Lord/ Crept up and slipped away with her/ And there ain’t nothin I can do about it.” The famous mission of Orpheus to rescue Persephone failed when he turned back to gaze on her as they were ascending. Ferdinand must endure her visible beauty, and even solitary conversation. The missions of Odysseus, Hercules, Theseus and Jesus are to be considers as showing different stories with the same parameters of the same archetype, the portrayal regarding the underworld.]

[ix] Allan Bloom, Interpretive Essay, in Plato’s Republic edited and translated by Allan Bloom. Bloom’s rendering of Plato and the classical views of nature has supplied the sunlight side of the perspective underlying the present essay. In Shakespeare, the classical view of nature is united with the moonlight work of Jung on the unconscious. The union rather than conflict of t5he two approaches underlies the view of nature in which the present essay is embedded.

[x] About the time that I met Joseph Campbell, my old professor Wasserman asked me, in his Grand Valley office, a question I will never forget: “What is a hero?” My first answer would be him, as he had by then replaced any rock star as our model of the best sort of man. We think first of those who risk their lives to save others, sometimes losing their own lives, such as in emergencies. Campbell had written, and was about promoting his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, in which he discussed the common form of the many heroes in the many hero myths of the many societies, and Irving was no doubt aware that we were influenced by Campbell and Jung, and had heard us using words we did not understand, as was common for him, questioning us. For the present we will stick with this formulation, that the hero is the one who overcomes the fear of death for others in service to the good, or overcomes death for love, though what we mean is “in” love, he overcomes the opposition of the fear of death.

[xi] Bloom, Interpretive Essay, loc. cit., p. 354.

[xii] Strauss, Leo. Natural Right and History, pp. 91-92: “Philosophy appeals from the ancestral to something older than the ancestral. Nature is the ancestor of all ancestors or the mother of all mothers. Nature is older than any tradition; hence it is more venerable than any tradition.” Here, it can be seen that there is a view of nature so strikingly different  from any modern view that the use of this term “nature” in this way might be utterly incomprehensible from any modern point of view or from within any traditional view. But it is as such that “nature” can be held to be the source– rather than any creating human or any human faculty such as the “collective unconscious”–  of all traditions regarding the right way of life.

[xiii] Tradition and law, while in themselves intending the good, are seized or usurped and set in the service of the dark earthly powers of the family hatred. There are two plays in which Shakespeare shows a love set up for tragedy rescued by the ruling influences. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Egeus, the father of Hermia enslaves the law of Athens in the interests of his own possessive love of his daughter. He attempts to force her to marry the man he chooses or else face death. It is here a combination or the daylight ruler Theseus and the moonlight ruler, the fairy King Oberon, by which the influences of death are overcome. In Measure for Measure, Claudio is condemned to death by the tyrant Angelo for getting Juliet pregnant before the legal technicalities of marriage were fulfilled. The wise duke there saves Claudio from a literal death, and he is wed to his Juliet The tyrannical forces universally have the character of trying to slay love, and enslaving the law or the ancestral in service to this diabolical end. The Apostle Paul, in Romans (7:1-7, 13) writes of how the law, which is in itself good, is enslaved by sin to work the death.

[xiv] 8a) The word are those of the editor, the Grand Valley Psych professor, Ms.   , who was the teacher for this study, in about 1982.

8b) There is some question as to whether Romeo and Juliet are of the same size as Ferdinand and Miranda. For the reader drawing pictures, love is envisioned as a yin-yang symbol. The whole around the lovers is the love, the single full human soul, and the imago Dei. The love is hence the character in the heroic drama. Romeo and Juliet are like the two hands of the praying saint, in the Palm Dance that occurs when they meet at the Masque or Ball of Capulet. The bride of Ferdinand is Miranda, the offspring of the philosopher-Duke, but there is some question as to whether Ferdinand is, like Romeo, a potential philosopher. He may be just a noble. Again for the reader who is drawing, the question is also that of whether philosopher and King are the same soul or whether the king is not , one level of the divided line down, an image of the philosopher.

[xv] David Sweet of the University of Dallas used this word to translate the “beyond the heavens” being to which the gods are mediators in the Plato’s Phaedrus.

[xvi] In Plato’s Republic, the three part soul is as if handed over to love matters that concern the beautiful, after the three part soul has been shaped by the character formation of the legislator (   ).

[xvii] The current account does not comprehend homosexual love, which is no doubt very complicated in Jungian terms, because the conscious personality has become possessed or identified with the opposite gendered unconscious– assuming that the conscious personality is indeed, for a male homosexual male and vice versa. Homosexuals cannot answer, and usually become angry by the asking of, the simple question of why the male homosexual seeks the feminine male, and the female homosexual the masculine woman. There are, though of course “Butch Dykes,” female lesbians who seek and like very beautiful feminine lesbians, and presumably there are corresponding masculine male homosexuals, like the guys in the Village People band, four very masculine gay characters. But the point is the question, and what it reveals about gender and human nature.

[xviii] Symbols of Transformation, p. 312. This entire work considers the same hero myth in regard to love as this essay. Joseph Campbell too considers the hero, though not in connection to romantic love.

[xix] Paul Simon, in the song “Somewhere They Can’t Find Me” describes his love in analogy with theivery, as Prospero too accuses Ferdinand, and the examples are many. “Stealin when I Shoulda Been Buyin” is an example from the band Uriah Heap.

[xx] Aion, p. 25-29