Three Plays On Love and Rule: I) Romeo and Juliet [Draft]

Three Plays on Love and Rule:

 

Commentaries on Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest

 

Mark A. McDonald

[Links to the notes are not working, but these are below, at the end of the essay]

 

Introduction  

 

   These three plays together will allow a concise study of love, and provide an introduction to the archetypes pertaining to rule and the cultivation of practical wisdom. The apprehension of a pattern regarding the nature of love allows Shakespeare to join both tragedy and his new sort of high comedy, resolving the Italian tragedy with something found in ancient Athens. What Shakespeare found in ancient Athens is the principle of wise rule, or the virtue of the practical faculty. And so, as is proper, the study of love leads into the study of wisdom or the philosopher, thought to be the highest happiness. If so, this would be the health of the soul,[1] to which every other condition would have reference.

   In the new study of Shakespeare’s politics,[2] Harry Jaffa introduces the principle of the conjunction of tragedy and comedy and the division of the plays according to the nations. Wisdom or wise rule is the principle which brings comedy from tragedy in Shakespeare’s new kind of comedy. The story begins about 416 B.C., when at the dawn of the long night of the Symposium Socrates is reported to have persuaded Aristophanes, that the same man might be capable of writing both tragedy and comedy.[3] The great Greek dramatists wrote one or the other, but not both (Republic, 395a), and none have much succeeded with either since. Great tragedy is written at only two points in human history. As Henry Meyers indicates, the first example of this ability to write both tragedy and comedy did not occur for nearly two thousand years, when early in his career, in the 1590’s, by 1594, Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That is, Two thousand years went by before the argument, thought impossible, found fulfillment not only in Socratic speeches, but in action. Both Shakespearean tragedy and Shakespearean comedy have notable differences from ancient tragedy. The tragedy is more closely related to history, and, unlike Greek tragedy, is able to consider villains, such as The Tragedy of Richard III and Macbeth. As Harry Jaffa states, “The typical Shakespearean comedy is a tragedy that does not happen, a tragedy prevented from happening by the improbable presence within the play of a wise man, or wise woman.”[4] Jaffa (Ibid, p. 282).states:

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as in Romeo and Juliet, there is a plot in which the lovers seem to be doomed. But the enchanted forest and the magic of Oberon prevent the tragic circumstances from having their tragic effect.

The principle answering the riddle of the Symposium may come from the very center of Plato’s Republic, where Socrates tells Glaucon and Adeimantus that there is no rest from ills for the cities in human life until philosophers rule as kings (Republic, 473d). The philosopher king would unite the virtues Aristotle calls sophia and phronesis, theoretical and practical wisdom– both, surprisingly, guided by the sight of nous or intellect (Ethics VI, VII, X). In Romeo and Juliet, a quarrel between the families to which the lovers belong leads to the death of the lovers in an accidental double suicide similar to that in Pyramus and Thisbe, the story from Ovid which Shakespeare satires in the play performed by Bottom and the Athenian craftsmen for the wedding of Theseus in the final act of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The imprudent friar fails to prevent the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, while in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the combined action of Oberon and Theseus brings a happy ending from a love set up for tragedy. The Tempest, at the other end of Shakespeare’s career, is also the best example of the wise man bringing comedy from tragedy, in the re-arranging of the Italian regime by Prospero, the philosopher-duke. In the words of Alan Bloom:

Critics, notably Coleridge, have remarked that Ferdinand and Miranda in The Tempest are very much like Romeo and Juliet. The suddenness and intensity of their love, as well as their innocence and good character are alike. They are also from families at war…Their love has exactly the same potential for tragedy as does that of Romeo and Juliet. But that potential is prevented from being realized by the presence, per impossible, of a genuinely wise man, the sort that would never be present in any real situation…In a sense, Romeo and Juliet, as well as several other plays, can be seen to pose problems or conflicts that cannot be resolved in practice but with which a Prospero could in principle deal.

Love and Friendship, p. 283-4

   The usual division of the works of Shakespeare is into comedies, histories, and tragedies, as in the first Folio. Some of these, especially among the late plays, do not quite fit as either, and then there are the poems. Harry Jaffa also introduces the second great principle of this school of Shakespeare readers, dividing the plays according to the nations of their settings.[5] There are Roman, English, Greek and Italian series of Shakespearean plays. Attaining a comprehensive view, Jaffa argues that these fit into a study of the history of the West.[6] The English and Roman histories and tragedies are called by Jaffa the “axis upon which Shakespeare’s account of political things turns.” But for political in the highest sense, political philosophy or poetry in addition to political history, the same claim, to be an axis, might be made for the Greek and Italian plays. Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest are Italian plays, set in modern Italy, as opposed to ancient Rome. These two plays are at the beginning and the end of both Shakespeare’s Italian plays and his career. Other Italian plays are Two Gentlemen of Verona, Much Ado About Nothing, set in Messina, in Sicily. The play performed in Warwickshire for Christopher Sly, The Taming of the Shrew, is set in “Padua, near Verona,” and the Venetian plays are Othello and the Merchant of Venice. As You Like It takes place in and around Arden forest. A Winters Tale, set in Sicily and Bohemia, might also be considered an Italian play, as would be quite significant, if for example jealousy is by analogy related to the assumption or desire for certainty. The Greek plays are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, followed by Troilus and Cressida, The Comedy of Errors, Timon of Athens and Pericles. As Howard White and Leo Paul de Alvarez note,[7] only the Greek play considers a founding of a city. The founding of the Roman Republic is considered in a poem, The Rape of Lucrece. There is no Romulus. Pericles is pan-Hellenic, set in the Aegean and at Tyre and Antioch, in Syria and what was Phoenicia.  Twelfth Night is in Illyria, and Measure for Measure in Austria. Alls Well that Ends Well is French, and Love’s Labors Lost is set in Navarre, now in the north of Spain. Lear, Cymbeline and Macbeth are both history and tragedy, or mythic history, as is the Danish play Hamlet. Jaffa writes:

Shakespeare’s work, taken as a whole, comprehends what today would be called a history of western civilization. Only in light of this “history” can Shakespeare’s deepest intention– to be the poet-philosopher of the English speaking peoples, the teacher of its citizens and statesmen and legislators– be comprehended.

   The Tempest, presented first in the Folio edition of 1623, is like a comprehensive overview of what he calls his “project.”[8] The Epilogue is often considered to be a farewell to the theater, and Shakespeare’s Tempest considered to be autobiographical, addressing the powers and project of the wise duke as analogous to the drama of Shakespeare. As Paul Cantor writes, The Tempest works something of a sea change upon the tragic material, transmuting it to “something rich and strange.” Cantor, Howard B. White and Barbara Tovey present readings of The Tempest in relation to Plato’s Republic. In The Tempest, the most fundamental orders of the West are addressed, and it is highly significant that this, often considered the most autobiographical of plays, is an Italian rather than an English play. The Italian and English plays in general, together with single Danish and Viennese plays, are the especially Christian plays, with especially Christian themes, or the themes of modern religion or the Christian West. In these, Shakespeare often speaks in pagan terms, of Diana and Ceres for example. It may have been forbidden to do otherwise in drama, but it is not clear that the dramas are Christian in the medieval sense. Religion was then a dangerous topic, and Shakespeare survived by not addressing Christianity directly, though he never shrinks from addressing politics or Christian characters. Romeo and Juliet, as will be shown, is a tragedy based on the image of God in the soul reflected even in romantic love. It is an especially Christian tragedy, including the failure of the Friar. The contrasting Greek and Italian plays might function like the contrast of Athens and Jerusalem, to consider the Biblical and philosophic roots of western civilization. The Tempest is a “comedy” or action that works out well, and so shows how the things of love and Italian politics might be governed so as to avoid tragedy, or, here, the tragic death of innocent lovers.

   Shakespearean drama is set in a context of something modern that is yet most like classical natural right. The classical natural right teaching is not a body of law or natural law, but is articulated by the construction in speech of the best regime, as shown in Plato’s Republic or, Politea. The politea is the source of all laws, but no constitution can be the fundamental political fact, because all laws depend upon human beings (Natural Right and History, p. 136). The kinds of regime are based upon the kinds of souls, and their dominance in any community. What Shakespeare shows in drama is not the best regime, but the household of the wise man. Together with his political action, this functions as an articulation of natural right in both the soul and the regime (Republic, 368c-369a).[9] By tending his private interests, Prospero sets aright the whole of Italian politics. Because of Prospero, if we receive him, the world has a place for the liberal arts and love.

   Plato and Shakespeare are the two who address the things of man not in treatises, by speeches alone, but by showing the body speaking, in drama. Speech is embedded in a circumstance, and drama is especially able to show analogies through actions. These two writers, with about 36 plays and dialogues each respectively, are the two writers to resign, or to stop their work when it was completed. All others, as ourselves, seem to write until death stops them. Drama, if one includes the Platonic dialogue, is, as Aristotle indicates in his Poetics, the highest art form or the highest made thing, the highest imitation. Treatises can present the arguments or speeches of a man, but drama presents us with the man speaking as well as the speech, set in a context from which speeches prove inseparable. And sculptor or painter may present the appearance of a man, but only the dramatist can present living, speaking and acting persons. One is reminded of the sculptures that come to life, in A Winter’s Tale. Word and action together are read in interpreting these. For as Chaucer (Canterbury Tales, Prologue, 741-2)[10]writes:

As Plato saith, whoso can him rede,

The words must be cousin to the dede.”

   There are three tiers identifiable in the Shakespearean study of the soul: wisdom, or the virtue of the mind; love, or the things of the heart, governed by the noble; and then the three or so sorts governed by the worldly ends. Various three tired arrangements appear throughout Shakespearean drama, as will appear momentarily in the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet. The account of the three parts of the soul in Plato’s Republic develops, in Books V and VI, into the account of the two, the male and female guardians, and then the one, the philosopher, and the philosopher kings. Having considered, in our psychology, the shadow and the things of the “personal” unconscious, we proceed to the things of love, and through these toward the wisdom governing in the Shakespearean universe.

   Romeo and Juliet is the one book of any age– now over 400 years– that is a part of American education. Many High School students are given this to read or to perform, whereas no other book could be said to be read universally, or nationwide. If one were to ask the superintendents of curriculum the reason for this, the answers would be interesting to collect. We seem to want to introduce the students also to love. Yet it is rather difficult to say things about the play that might help us in reading. For this reason too, it may be most helpful and welcome to us, and to the teachers, to read and consider the play and what it shows about love.

 

 

On Romeo and Juliet

Preface

   The mystery of romantic love provides what is like a crystal ball or a mandala, a mantra for the mind’s eye to focus, and a window through which we can look to into the entire human drama. The Sufi poet Rumi writes: “Love is the astrolabe of God’s mysteries.” 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 more than what is 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 cannot deal even with the biological contradictions of adultery, let alone the emotions involved. To even come close to a purpose of love, our science would perhaps have to consider the binding of the family into a unity. Birds too have this, and other mammals in different sorts, have families and rudimentary emotions related to the family. Yet love is still considered to be specifically human. How much of what Jung calls the “persona,” and again all the strange pursuits and exploits of men, are based upon this “self esteem,” and all its intricacies? 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 not to any “empirical” observation, but to the longing of psychology to be a science. Nor does the question disappear once neuronal activity is found corresponding. 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. The attachment of love is sometimes, according to the fashions of our psychology, peculiar to the present half century, considered to be a “mental illness.” This same fashion once considered homosexuality to be a mental illness, and then, without the slightest change in science, but only a change in the fashions of opinion, came to consider the criticism of homosexuality to be a “phobia.” Nothing can be done for that sort of “science.” Much of the complexity of love of course comes from the fact that the one loved is both a part of one’s own heart and, obviously, a separate person. 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 that there is a sense in which love does see the objective reality or even the “angel” of the beloved. 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.

   In fact if we would try to see anything about love, we must call into service the symbols and imagery of poetry. The symbols do seem to 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,” as considered too by Jung, 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 1=1+2 or 3+1=4. The symbols embody a different kind of knowledge. If our goal is to finalize our quest by possessing a rational or propositional content, or gaining some certainty as an instrument to master and possess nature, 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. They activate and connect our minds to the knowledge we do not possess but that is recollect-able. 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 not 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 and academia because he did not entirely hide the fact that he labored in the mysteries. All we can do is repeat, as said many times, one cannot know the soul or have a genuine scientific psychology in that way, and in fact may do a great deal of harm. 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 rarefied 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.

   Romeo and Juliet is the first great tragedy of Shakespeare, and probably about the ninth play that he produced, completed about 1594. It is the first of the very great works for which he is remembered. That is, Shakespeare does not really become Shakespeare, the Shakespeare we know, until he writes and produces Romeo and Juliet. Together with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he gets at the principle joining tragedy and this new sort of high, or serious comedy. Romeo and Juliet is an Italian tragedy often said to show the nature of love more clearly than any other portrait.[11] The love of Romeo and Juliet is somehow the truest ever shown, and the truth of every true love. The play is considered imperfect as tragedy, and it is something different from classical tragedy. As an Italian tragedy, it is paired with the Italian “comedy” of The Tempest, at the beginning and the end the very precise career of Shakespeare. That the nature of love is shown in a story that does not go well but disastrously touches on an important question about divine things when these appear in the world. Jesus and Socrates too are killed, by mankind and by the city, somewhat as these young lovers are killed, by the city and the family, in stories that are not quite, and even less, tragedies. What we mean is not that these are the same, but that these three show a common pattern, in different analogous levels or sizes (Republic 377d; 379a). It may be that something divine appears among men in the family, the city and for mankind, in love, philosophy and the Christ. Yet it is as though whenever the divine appears among mankind, in the world, we, mankind, the audience of the plays, manage to kill it. The event then leaves a lesson, and in memory the divine is admitted, or, in this case, the world learns to make way for love. It is said that the stories of Jesus and Socrates are not tragedies. There is not a flaw in the sense of tragedy, and the death of Socrates is serene, the Christ, perhaps, victorious. Dante presents the journey of the soul as a divine comedy. But in the cases of Jesus and Socrates, on two different levels, the law is seized and used to put something divine to death, as a thing too much in contrast with the world, or humanity as we find humanity, dominated by violence and appetite. Romeo is not charged and convicted, as is Claudius in Vienna, in Measure for Measure, but the world works to cause the death of love in much the same tragic way. In Romeo and Juliet, the dark background of the family quarrel works by paternal will, error and accident. Romeo and Juliet may also be 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 an English-led Western Civilization, and by analogy, for a reconciliation of factions.[12]

   The event of Romeo and Juliet actually occurred, about 1302-3,[13] in Verona, and was related in an Italian history translated by Arthur Brooke, used by Shakespeare as a source of the play. The action of a few months is famously telescoped or encapsulated into as many days[14] 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 five days of Romeo and Juliet are about as long as the four days of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Rather than look for an earthquake about the 1590’s, as has been done in considering the date of the production of the play, one wonders if there were not an earthquake in Italy there 11 years before this plague. The great plague comes with Boccaccio about 1315, when one third of all the people in Europe died. 1291-3 would be 11 years prior to 1302-3). Plague prevents the delivery of the crucial letter of Friar Lawrence to Romeo in Mantua. The original Italian sources are Bandello (1554) da Porto (1525) and Salernitano (1476), according to Hankins in the Signet edition (p. 586; Arden ed., pp. 33-37). Da Porta, writing war memoirs, said he heard the story from an archer named Pellegrino da Verona. It is likely that there were prior sources, a century and a half after the event would have torn the conscience of Verona. One might, as with the Saints, examine the local histories. According to one,[15] Verona was governed by the Scaliger family from 1277-1387, prior to the Visconti, and then the transfer of Verona to the Venetian Republic in 1405. Alberto della Scala tried in vain to appease the internal struggles due to the family hatreds of Verona, which became a part of the division in Italy between Guelphs, supporters of the Pope, and Ghibellines, supporters of the emperor. Incidentally, the reference to the Holy Roman Emperor is the best explanation for the almost playful use of the word emperor by Romeo and in the play Two Gentlemen of Verona. Dante Allighieri was hospitably received, at Verona by Bartolemmeo della Scala (Paradise XVII). The date was 1304, very close to the date of Romeo and Juliet. The quarreling Montecchi and Cappelletti families are referenced in Canto VI of Dante’s Purgatory.[17]  A note confirms that Montagues were Ghibellines, Capulets Guelph. The forgotten origin is the attempt, about 1045, of the emperor Henry to remove the Pope, and the excommunication of the emperor, followed by the besieging of the Pope, the retreat of Henry back to Germany and the relief of the Pope by Robert the founder of the Kingdom of Naples.[16] Just after he meets the philosophers Plato and Socrates in Hell, Dante sees the romantic suicides- the same question that led to the obscuring of the grave of Juliet. Justin Martyr, the first of the Christians known to have read the works of Plato, considers these to be saved, or Christian, in a sense of the word not used since (First Apology, XLVI). A different understanding of nature and convention and what Christian is, may be involved. Some interesting monuments remain, including the houses of Capulet and Montague and the tomb of Juliet. A Capelletto family gave the house to the city of Verona, and the house is from the thirteenth century. Archduke Giovanni seems to have taken the cover of the tomb in the Nineteenth Century, and chips of the red marble were taken as souvenirs. The tomb was converted to a horse watering pool to disguise it, because the convent at the site of the church was embarrassed by the scandal of having buried a suicide, a question familiar from Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. 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, along with almost all the words. But Romeo and Juliet, in Shakespeare’s play, are about 13 or 14 and 16 or 17, and theirs, we think, is true love.  They are rich kids, and beautiful, though they are not a prince and princess. Rank is apparently not essential to true love. Hankins states: “In Biandello’s story Juliet is eighteen years old, in Brooke’s poem she is sixteen, and in Shakespeare’s play she is nearing her fourteenth birthday” (p. 856). The reason for this is a good question. It increases or emphasizes the innocence of the lovers, but also does something very interesting, in light of a comment of Bloom in the introduction to his edition of Rousseau’s Emile (p. 17): There is disjunction between the natural and conventional age of marriage, between puberty and the age when people are expected to marry. This difference, of course, causes all sorts of interesting circumstances in what are now recognized as the teen years of life, often a very difficult time in many ways. Shakespeare makes the two coincide in the play, and even in the world of Juliet, as her mother also was a bride at fourteen, though of a much older man. But Romeo and Juliet is then in a way an Italian history play.

   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” over rule in Italy. This quarrel was, in Shakespeare’s time, 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. Against this background, Shakespeare shows love as a natural image, the principle of the Bible that is the tradition of the West through Italy. 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. The tragedy, though, often and at many points seems avoidable, lacking the necessity sought in classic tragedy theory.[18] Though it is due to crossed stars, fortune seems to go wrong wherever it might. The family quarrel would then be a comment upon Christendom, though this cannot be spoken, and the cause of the feud is forgotten. But this question will prove fundamental to the project of Prospero and the resolution of the Italian factions in that play.

   Loretta 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. Mrs. Wasserman notes that at the end of the play, no one knows about this world. As Bloom notes, no one else loves in the play nor believes in love, even at the end. Even the Friar does not suspect, but believes he is using erratic teen love for his own purposes. While there are precursors in the love of Petrarch for his Lauretta,[19] 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.” Mercutio teases Romeo, “Now is he for the numbers that Petrarch flowed in…” (II,iv, 41). Love is “a clue to what is most worthwhile in life and best in human nature.” Winifred Nowottny writes: “The kind of love Petrarch celebrated was often regarded as an experience which lifted a man above himself, as an exaltation of the spirit so spectacular that only religious experience could compete with it for intensity.”[20] 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 (Symposium, 210-212). 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 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 (249d-e; 244b). Indeed, in order to begin a study of madness, it would be necessary to know love, and to distinguish the genuine from the apparent forms of love and madness. The lover is to some extent ruled not by his own reason but by love. A measure of genuine love, though, is this inspiration to virtue and the awakening of the mind. Hence the lover calls the beloved his inspiration.

   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 (250b,d). If we were to see wisdom in the visible, we would go out of our wits. This section of the Phaedrus, all in symbols, is the highest study of love anywhere written, surpassing every other theoretical attempt, including Plato’s own Symposium, at least until these three plays of Shakespeare. 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.

   When Mercutio is teasing Romeo, he lists the great loves in poetry, Dido, Cleopatra, Helen, Hero and Thisbe. Romeo and Juliet have now surpassed all these as the example of love or true love, while the others, even the other Shakespearean lovers, are barely remembered. Antony and Cleopatra are ugly by comparison. Our suggestion is that Shakespeare knows this, and that this is what it means when Romeo slays Paris at the tomb. Paris is the other name of Alexandros, the son of Priam of Troy, who stole Helen, causing the Trojan war.

   The play itself is a masterpiece of order and simplicity, interwoven and ascending, a candidate for the best play ever written. While notoriously confounding traditional assumptions about tragedy, the recognition or anagorisis of Romeo coincides with the peripeti or turning point, about the exact center, where Romeo says that love has made him effeminate (III,i, 116; Aristotle, Poetics, XI). In reading, we will try to observe this excellence and this order, and to see what Shakespeare and his lovers show about love. Bloom writes:

…Shakespeare is a middle ground between the ancient poets whose tragedies hardly spoke of love and the Romantic poets whose sad tales concerned only love. Serious writers in antiquity, with the strange exception of Plato, did not present men and women in love as the most serious of beings with the most serious problems…

   Hence, Sophocles and Aeschylus, and even Plautus, and Aristophanes, are less colorful than the Shakespearean portrayal of humanity. Ascending from the middle ages, Dante, Chaucer and Shakespeare restore something of the imagination and the soul based on the reflection of love. Part of the definition of tragedy is that it is “serious,” with characters of a high or noble type, while comedy is not serious. Comedy “has no history, because it was not at first taken seriously” (Poetics, V). This means that the story where the hero gets the girl is not the fundamental dramatic pattern for the ancient poets. But it is this principle of love and rule that allows Shakespeare to join the writing of both great tragedy and high comedy. In Romeo and Juliet, the villain is slain and the hero gets the girl in the center of the tragedy, and death, rather than marriage, is the consummation. His comedies end in marriages, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Measure in a triple marriage. A quadruple marriage occurs in Arden forest.

   The story or action of this integration is cast in the image of the higher heroic drama, so that the noble things are such, at least in one aspect if not in essence, 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.[21]

   This pattern is an image of the story of the cosmic hero, even as it is said that 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. We will try to show that this occurs because the soul is an image of God, and this is an Italian play. As Bloom notes, the 42 hours during which Juliet is to sleep are the same as the 42 hours between the crucifixion and the resurrection (Love and Friendship, p. 295). 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,” distinct from those invited to the marriage feast, is a mystery, but is something like a collective soul which consists of individual souls who have by faith followed the Christ through death, and quite possibly most of the angels. 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)[22] or are themselves, by one another, each 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 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.

   Such a theory of true love may seem to assume Christianity or the truth of the Christian Bible, but, as will be seen, the image of God is both a Greek and a Biblical thought (Republic, 501b), if this is central to our peculiar Christian Platonism. We also try to demonstrate that this perspective is especially able to understand the plays. And it may be so, if the human things are indeed, as Leo Strauss writes, “the key to understanding all things,”[23] that the truth of true love demonstrates or suggests the truth of the divine things inductively, providing a natural scaffold for ascent, whereby the things said grow “to something of great constancy,…strange and admirable (MSND, V,i,25-27).

   Romeo and Juliet is less a tragedy of character and more a tragedy of fate than other tragedies. If there is a flaw in Romeo, it may be shown where the peripeti and recognition coincide, and Romeo sees that the beauty of Juliet (III,i 116) has made him “effeminate.” Love itself, rather than the individuals, is perhaps the sacrificial tragic character. Finally these warring influences balance each other out. We will argue that, due to the adverse circumstances, and lacking good government, the fate and/ or fortune of Romeo and Juliet forces the sacrifice at the root of the truth of true love into the visible and literal, taking place tragically as a suicide. Combined with the limitation of love to appearance, Romeo and Juliet shows that love overcomes the fear of death, though this be as true in happier circumstances. It also shows that the noble is an image of the image of God in man, though Juliet does not rise to escape with her redeemer, nor are lovers the same as saints. As at the death of Cordelia, the hope of immortal life does not prevent showing the mortal truth, the death of beautiful young women when human providence fails. 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 revealed and healed, and civil bloodshed expiated.

 

The Prologue

   The Chorus is fourteen lines, like a sonnet. 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. There is no reference to the original cause of the feud, which seems to have been forgotten, while the feud lasts longer than the memory. 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 singular, life is written indicates an argument about both love and life, as will be addressed with the palm dance, when the two first meet. 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 is missed by what is presented on the stage.

   The Prologue tells the audience ahead of time that the lovers die in suicide, rather than leaving the audience in suspense. Readers of Shakespeare do not mind the telling of the end of a tale. Bottom the Weaver will make such a prologue (MSND III,i,16; 9-46), which protects the audience from shock, and gives them a perspective above the action. Here in the tragedy, the method of Bottom to prevent scarring the ladies with the lion and the death of the lovers is undertaken quite seriously. The fate of the grave of Juliet, perhaps classed as a suicide, demonstrates a part of the difficulty.

   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 in love with Juliet, “alike bewitched by charm of looks,” 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.

 

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 strata 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 Biblical names, first Samson,  an Old Testament hero, famously weakened and betrayed when Delila cut his hair, and Gregory, the name of three especially famous Popes, Gregory I, who instituted the Gregorian chant and sent Augustine to convert England, Gregory VII, who opposed Henry IV and may have originated the quarrel of Ghibbeline and Guelph, when this Henry claimed the authority to appoint church offices, Gregory XIII, the Pope when Shakespeare was young, the pope who corrected the Julian calendar. Then, the Montague servants are Abram, the name of Abraham in Babylon (or Ur) and before the promise, and Balthasar, which is similar to the name Daniel was given in Babylon (Daniel 1:7). “Abraham Cupid” strangely appears in the speech of Mercutio (II,i, 10) There is a character of the same name in Much Ado About Nothing. Balthasar is the servant of Romeo in Act V, connecting Romeo with apocalyptic things. A later servant of Capulet is named Peter. But these are, here in the first scene, the names of the feuding servants, whose speech in terms of lust and violence sets the dark background against which the love of Romeo and Juliet will appear. Sampson, like Bottom the Weaver only half-serious, says that he will show himself a tyrant, killing the males and raping the females of the Montagues. Amid war, that is how inter-faction dating will appear, and why Tybalt takes offense. It is possible that the Biblical names suggest an analogy, in the context of Italian politics, to the civil bloodshed between religious factions.

   As Aristotle writes, every difference can be a cause of faction (Politics, V,iii, 1303b 15, 20). From what did the quarrel of the Guelph and Ghibbeline originate? This seems to have been the tension between Church and State, and specifically an attempt of the Holy Roman” emperor” to determine the appointment of Bishops, as these had become lucerative political positions. But since the Montagues are the more just, the family quarrel in Verona might be described as one between aristocracy and oligarchy. Escalus seems to do a tolerably good job at quelling potential stasis or revolution, according to Aristotle.

   The first words pick up a quarrel in the middle. What might have been said just before the scene opens? The Montagues are not yet there, so it is Sampson saying, “Gregory, on my word, we’ll not carry coals.” One possibility is the classic answer of Paul, that in loving and forgiving our enemies, we “heap burning coals” upon them, repaying evil with good, shaming it (Romans 12:20; Proverbs 25:21-22). Has Sampson then just said they do reject forgiveness? And this would be the Guelph faction, implacable, while the Ghibbelines or Montagues are more civil. The Italian plays would then open with this allusion to fundamental question of Christian humanity in dealing with faction and evil.

   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. “Bene” might mean better, “Bon,” good. –Volio is the same root as volition. 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 replies, “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 the good guys, with justice on their side throughout, 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.

   There is a connection between “coals” in the first line of the first scene and the diabolic speech of Tybalt: “As I hate hell…” means that his family hatred is colored by Christianity. He hates peace, and hates the word not because he is an adherent of hell, but as he hates hell, so that religion is a part of evil or the colors of villainy. Christianity has become subordinated to tribalism, custom, faction, and hence salvation a matter of being born a fan of the right football team.

   The contrast between Lady Montague and Capulet is apparent and interesting. Lady Montague is glad Romeo was not at the fight, and orders her misbehaving husband, “thou shall not stir one foot to seek a foe.” Lady Capulet rather tells her husband to call for a crutch rather than a sword, alike opposing his rumbling, but for the reason of his impotence. The Montagues are more just than the Capulets.

   The Prince is Escalus of Verona, possibly derived from de Scalia. He orders Montague and Capulet to the county seat at “Freetown,” no doubt his Monticello in the suburbs of Verona.

    The fight ended, Montague and his wife talk with Benvolio of their concern for Romeo. Benvolio describes seeing Romeo at dawn wandering all night, and closing daylight out of his room  each morning. According to note 22 of his edition of the Rhyme Sparse of Petrarch, Robert Darling writes: According to Virgil’s account of the underworld (Aeneid VI, 595-628), those who die for love are assigned to wander in a dark wood. Of the fields of mourning,” Virgil writes:

…Since here are those whom pitiless love consumed

With cruel wasting, hidden on paths apart

By Myrtle woodland growing overhead

In death itself, pain will not let them be…

…Among them, with fated wound still fresh

Phoenecian Dido wandered the deep wood…

Why the grove is sycamore rather than myrtle will require explanation. But “Stars,” too, as strangely spoke of in the play, seems to come from Petrarch. And so it seems a possible hypothesis that Romeo is a study of the lover or the soul of the poet. It is even possible that Petrarch is the type from which the character of Romeo is drawn.

   The moment the name of Romeo 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

                                                              (I,i,152-6).

   One wonders if the poetic soul is genetic, or, a type by nature. 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). This is the first of a series of theoretical points in the explanation of love by Romeo, who, despite being deceived about the particular, ought know. 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. In love, too, all are poets

   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 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. The statement takes on a whole new depth of meaning when it is remembered that the Christian factions are behind the theoretical question of the play, for the principle of Christianity is Love. Away from this, he follows his “madness most discrete.” [’16] He speaks in what Jung calls the “coincidence of opposites,” a form of poetic reason transcending the normally opposed categories, also known to Petrarch. Rosaline is a Capulet, and this may be part of why he says the brawl has more to do with love. Is the attraction of Romeo to Capulet women not like a constellation in the unconscious of Verona, or even Christendom? Is this not a part of the crossed stars of the family hate? The family or appetites leads the families to fight. 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, 89; I,ii, 31, 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. We will have occasion to return to this topic when the character of the opposites becomes more clear. 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.” There are other forms of divine madness 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, involves 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. Romeo will say, “It is my soul,” and this, as we will see, is exactly what Jung means by Anima.

   Benvolio gets Romeo to tell him more about his predicament. The problem is not that Romeo has fallen in love with a Capulet, but that 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)

   The sorrow of Romeo is an aporia or “stuck-edness, a position without an apparent escape) due to the futility of loving one dedicated to celibacy. Love cannot imagine another beloved, nor would it even be right to persist in trying to court Rosaline 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. Petrarch’s Laura is devoted to chastity, and Dante’s Beatrice too is angelic. Shakespeare attempts to rob the convent, at least of those not suited by nature for the singular life. The romantic Shakespeare argues against the life of chastity on the grounds that this prevents the beauty of the woman from perpetuating itself, and from its own posterity.

   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 even 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.

 

I,ii

    Having come from the conference with the Prince at Freetown, Capulet is resolved to keep the peace. He is shown receiving the suit of Paris to marry Juliet. Here, Capulet tells him, “My will to her consent is but a part.” Strangely, after the death of Tybalt and the turn of the play toward tragedy, Capulet insists that Juliet marry according to his will, becoming a father like Egeus in MSND. While this requires further explanation, it is a part of the crossed stars which involve the family matters.

   The second scene includes the unbelievable coincidence of the servant of Capulet finding Romeo to read the invitation to the ball at the house of Capulet. Romeo and Benvolio are continuing their conversation from the first scene, as Benvolio tries to persuade Romeo to cure love by looking at other beauties. This advice proves to be exactly right, but the lover cannot imagine following the advice on purpose, because love implies fidelity. Suggesting a leaf as remedy for Benvolio’s shin (sin?), Romeo is asked “are you mad”? Distinguishing love from madness, he answers, “Not mad, but bound more than a madman is, kept without my food, / Whipped and tormented.” About comparing other beauties, Romeo answers Benvolio in the religious analogy:

When the devout religion of mine eye

Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires;

And these, who, often drowned, could never die,

Transparent heretics be burned for liars!

One fairer than my love? The all seeing sun

Na’er saw her match since first the world begun.

Lysander too, in the Dream, describes faith in love in terms of orthodoxy and heresy. It is both playful and serious, and in a few ways. Here, Romeo agrees to go along, but to see Rosaline, or, “rejoice in splendor of mine own.” Heresy and orthodoxy are defined by what is ones own, quite apart from what is correct- as though Juliet were heresy. Does the power of orthoxy prevent the mind from discovering true love? In the religious analogy of Romeo as a pilgrim on a quest to a shrine, the attachment of Romantic love to the particular one loved is compared to the fidelity to doctrine, and both are called fidelity for this reason. Notice too that Romeo’s heresy and orthodoxy are different from the usual opposition of Capulet and Montague. Is the attachment to opinion and imagination in faith similar to the attachment to the beloved? Are love and faith, together, contrasted with reason? And does Benvolio and Mercutio, good will and Mercury-ous spirit, represent reason, each in a different way?

   Shakespeare’s use of the pagan images is very interesting, especially here, since the love of Romeo bears some relation to the faith of Christianity. In an introduction to a collected edition somewhere, it was suggested that there was a prohibition against the name of the Deity in drama. Though this is not the case, Shakespeare writes poetically in pagan terms, as do Dante, Petrarch and Chaucer. The older generation all speak in explicitly Christian language, while by contrast, none of younger generation do. The sun is, as in Dante and Plato, an image of the Good or the Most High, and the poets, such as Dante and Chaucer, take up the pagan images playfully. But it is as though Shakespeare deliberately avoids the use of the very images an Italian Romeo would use, even while expressing a Biblical thought. It is as if these poets wish, by foreign images, to call attention to what is the same in human experience regardless of convention or tradition. Romeo’s language simultaneously alludes to the terms of the origin and Genesis, and the reference to the beginning here would be the second reference of Romeo to the Book of Genesis, not to mention Benvolio’s shin.

I, iii 

   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 the consent her parents. Egeus and Hermia discuss this, Theseus telling her she must see according to her father’s will. Human love has triggers or more accurately conditions for its attachment from the beginning. Here Juliet is a child, her love governed by the authority of her parents, though the moment she sees Romeo, her childhood is gone.

   The scene with the nurse is the only recognition of childbirth in the play, when the nurse tells Juliet, “women grow by men.” The nurse herself is a portrait of rare art, and her picture of Juliet as a child, at weaning during the earthquake, is quite beautiful. Lovers like to see pictures of the one they love as a child. Shakespeare has the tedious nurse twice tell the story of Juliet falling on her face, and being told she will fall backward when she has more sense, with marvelous triple meanings, the practical truth and the truth possibly about fortune and the world for women. Childbirth as the goal of nature is ignored by lovers, though it is assumed in the courtesy of noble love, that the woman must trust the man not to leave her. Childbirth may similarly be ignored by the play about love, though the fact is significant, for example in the action of the Friar in the tomb, because Juliet may well be pregnant and die with the unborn child of Romeo.

As John Hankins notes, Lady Capulet is about 28 years old, while rich Capulet’s last Masque was about thirty years previous (Penguine ed., p. 856). Juliet will be matched more seasonably.

   The reference to Lammas-tide, August 1, sets the calendar time of the play as some seven to ten days still in July, the time of flowering, and just before harvest. The five days of the play are Sunday through Thursday, about July 20-25. The birthday of Juliet would be July 31, “Lammastide eve at night” (I,iii. 17).

I, iv-

   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. The whole tragedy is allowed to occur by this attempt of the man of good will to cure love. So, Romeo, Benvolio, Mercutio and other of their masked friends make their way through the night.

   Mercutio, whose name is related to Mercury, is arguably one of the greatest characters in all the plays. The tradition is that Shakespeare himself took this role (  ). Johnson famously relates that Shakespeare was obliged to kill him in the third act, lest he be killed by him (Signet ed, p. 171).[32] J. A Bryant writes that what was needed was a combination of the virtues of the Friar and the Prince found only in Mercutio. Had Romeo not intervened, Tybalt would have been slain, but since Mercutio is of the family of the Prince, and not a part of the feud, “the feud would have died with Tybalt” (Signet Introduction, p. xxxvi). On the invitation, he is paired with his brother Valentine. Capulet may have considered viewing Mercutio as a prospective husband for Juliet, as he is central to the list of those invited. Anselmo and Placentio, and possibly Lucio, are the only other bachelors eligible for Juliet, whom Capulet does seem ready to have married off. Paris is not even invited until petitioning Capulet for Juliet (I.ii), though after Mercutio is dead, Capulet suddenly is decided upon a forced marriage to Paris.

   Mercutio the friend is like the spirited part of Romeo, which in love has become atrophied. Romeo is half a whole, and while in love the other half is Juliet, in character or friendship, the complementary opposite is Mercutio. That Shakespeare himself would play the role of Mercutio may indicate a Shakespearean comment upon the character of Romeo, and of the male lover himself.

   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. She would be a maternal aspect of the unconscious,  distinct from anima, the feminine aspect of the more personal unconscious. The midwife of the fairies is the source of the dream of Romeo, which is prophetic.

   Had Romeo turned here and gone home, he might have awakened in love with Rosaline, and an interesting snapshot skit would be to show Romeo asking Benvolio about the dance he missed the night before, and Mercutio Seeking Juliet.

   The Queen Mab speech of Mercutio reads like a summary of the twentieth century psychology of the unconscious, perhaps as Jung would present the psychology of Freud, made all the more interesting by the skepticism of Mercutio. Like Theseus, he comments above his own conscious skepticism to the profound truth of the cause of love, dream and imagination. Romeo is not in the least embarrassed of his love among his friends, and is the equal of Mercutio in wit, setting up a dialogue of love and skepticism. Romeo says that he has dreamed a dream, and Mercutio jokes that it was “that dreamers often lie.” Romeo, matching the wit, answers “in bed while they dream things true, and Mercutio finds, “Oh then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.” She is the midwife of the fairies and the cause of dreams. As lovers dream of love, Mercutio has a long list of wish fulfillment dreams pertaining to each sort of person, the courtier, lawyers, ladies, the parson, and the soldier, who each dream of the things for which they hope, or the base objects of their desire. As Mercutio becomes manic, he tells of how Queen Mab blisters the lips of ladies whose breaths are tainted, and elfs the lock of horses and sluttish women. She is the folk cause related to the natural knowledge of childbirth. Told to stop, since he talks of nothing, Mercutio answers,

True, I talk of dreams,

which are the children of an idle brain

Begot of nothing but vain fantasy

Which is as thin as the substance of the air….

Have you ever wondered from where the mind draws the very strange particulars of dreams? These are almost always things that have never been experienced before, even while these almost always address the circumstance of the soul of the dreamer. This curious  fact is especially evident in repeating theme dreams,  where the particulars are  almost always different,  while the circumstance is similar or the same. We may have occasion to consider dreams below, if our psychology should chance to reach its ninth chapter. But here, the “nothing, already mentioned once, is not nothing, since the shapes of “vain fantasy” must have a cause. Bloom (Shakespeare’s Politics, p. 8) states that “the nothing” is not indeterminate, or, “the void” is determinate, intended to receive the natural articulation of things and this deep and difficult topic accounts for the shapes of tyranny and evil, said to be caused by “nothing,” which is of course impossible, if half-true. But even while he is denying the significance of dreams, Mercutio speaks what is like a snapshot of the unconscious,” or the fairy world:

…And more inconstant than the wind, who woos

Even now the frozen bosom of the North

And, being angered, puffs away from thence,

Turning his side to the dew-dropping South.

That may in truth be what is occurring, as Romeo turns from the infertile to the fertile object of his love. Neither Romeo nor Mercutio could possibly know consciously that Romeo is about to fall in love with Juliet and forget about Rosaline, though Benvolio had some suspicion. Without choosing, Romeo will take the advice of Benvolio, if this does make matters worse. Continuing on, Romeo tells not his dream, but its interpretation:

….My mind misgives

Some consequence yet 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.

   Like the psychology of Freud, the Queen Mab speech of Mercutio is significant for the ways in which it is correct, but especially for the ways in which it, or Mercutio, is limited, or wrong.  At issue between Freud and Mercutio on one hand and Romeo and Jung on the other is the character of the object of wish. One might wish, for example, that the noble completion of virtue be theirs forever. In the Freudian understanding of the soul, this object would be a sublimation, created out of an appetite that is being diverted. Jung, rather, writes of a natural gradient along which eros, or as they call it, “libido,” ascends. The higher things cannot be simply assumed, in their natures, to arise out of the lower things. The high things of culture, the plays of Shakespeare or the songs of Mozart, are not created out of nothing, but there must be a higher nature of the soul. Hence, the marriage at the beginning of the human family might be natural, and this, we say, is the simple aim of the human eros in love. If man is by nature political and filial, the object of wish might be even more natural for man than the object of appetite. There is a relation between the maternal and the beloved, but what this is proves deeply mysterious, and not at all obvious by some animal principle. The image that attaches the lovers at the origin of the family is related more fundamentally to the human mind and its ascending contemplation of and participation in the whole. Prophetic dreams, true dreams, do occur, and these cannot be explained in terms some partial theory such as wish fulfillment. But here Romeo does not take the advise of his premonition and his safety and go home, but courageously, if not wisely, continues, saying “he that hath the steerage of my course direct my sail.”

   There are numerous prophetic fore-shadowing 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, and knows an apothecary in Mantua able to do it, or when, looking down from the balcony, Juliet sees Romeo as one in a grave. Romeo too has another dream in Mantua that seems symbolically similar to the conclusion. Another example is the dream of Hermia in the woods in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where when Lysander has fallen out of love with her, she dreams simultaneously that a serpent eats her heart. Prophesy is a surprising characteristic of love, well known and believed by lovers. Jung attempts to address this sort of cause in his theory of “synchronicity,” an “a-causal” connecting principle. But it is much simpler to consider that there are causes other than the material and efficient, assumed in modernity to be  the only kinds of cause admissible. One moves a pen across the page, or any tool, at the same time that the tool moves, because one’s hand and one’s pen are parts of a larger hierarchic order. Hence, cause and effect are simultaneous regarding parts of a whole. The simultaneity experienced in love, 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).[33] But the profundity of the play is that Mercutio, and the profound bawdy spirited skepticism regarding love, is wrong, and the lover is right about certain things that are eternal and more important than the things about which the skepticism is correct, if the crude materialism of Mercutio is a remedy for the Romantic delusion of Romeo.

   Dreams, poetry, love and prophetic foreshadowing, then, all have something to do with the Fairy Queen, who we will see directly in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As Theseus says, the poet, the lover and the madman are of an imagination all compact. This amounts to a very Jungian theory on the part of Shakespeare regarding what the psychologists call the unconscious, and it seems quite clear that Shakespeare knows these things in a scientific or philosophic manner. For surely the Fairies in some sense do not exist, as bodily beings that have weight and take up space. Yet surely in another sense, most relevant for the human world, they do exist. Aristotle, in his Poetics (IX), writes:

Tragedy is an imitation not only of a complete action, but of events inspiring fear or pity. Such an effect is best produced when the events come on us by surprise; and the effect is heightened when at the same time they follow as cause and effect. The tragic wonder will then be greater than if they happened of themselves of by accident, for even coincidences are most striking when they have an air of design. We may instance the statue of Mitys at Argos, which fell upon his murderer while he was a spectator at the festival; and killed him. Such events seem not to be due to mere chance. Plots, therefore, constructed on these principles are necessarily the best.

As it turns out, it was this dream of his own death that had Romeo out walking before dawn. Like his dream at Mantua, it is prophetic.

I, v                              

Inside the hall of Capulet, Romeo first sees Juliet. We forget, as he too forgets, that Rosaline is even there. He knows instantly that 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 also immediately seen by Tybalt, who would duel with him on the spot, except that Capulet forbids it, and rebukes Tybalt. Capulet even admires Romeo, who is drawn to Juliet and speaks with her.

   How does one show love at first sight? The 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. Juliet identifies Romeo to the nurse as one who would not dance, but through the movement of what is like a mime or dance in speech, 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 hands 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)

The two together are a prayer, or like the two hands of a praying saint. “The Book” is also the Bible, and, again, 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. The Durants write of the journeys to Jerusalem prior to 1070, “Everywhere in Europe one met “palmers who, as a sign of pilgrimage accomplished, wore crosses palm leaves from Palestine” (IV, p. 585). 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? Perhaps not yet. Do they pray instead of kissing girls, when they are about sixteen? 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, or like the two hands of a praying saint. showing the reflection of the image of God in man, 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.” In Jungian terms, the personal shadow, the unrecognized parts of our character, inhibits love, which, as on the way to baptism, tries to clear a way for itself. 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 which Adam and Eve would have been in before the fall, in Eden. Love may be 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 sin, 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,” or what the Greeks call nous. The healing of forgiveness is similar to the emergence of love.[34] Romeo then purges the sin Juliet has taken with another kiss. Shakespeare means seriously to suggest that this middle way is 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 may be more of an oxy-moron than the practitioners of Christian education suspect. The attempt to dress mankind directly in the mirror of the saints, for example, produces something artificial in the place of nobility, and prevents the Song of Solomon from taking place. Christianity is related to the formation of the passions rather by analogy.

   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.

   Again, in love between man and woman, there is a purging of sin as love clears a way for itself, and the two may enter into a partnership of self-knowledge. The two are complementary participants in the love that is the crown of the family. In marriage, they correct one another’s deficiencies, and function as complementary opposites, as is well known. One might say, in Jungian terms, that there occurs a recognition of the personal shadow in order for the anima/ animus to be clearly projected. 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. If he does not attain self knowledge and learn to govern himself, the household will be just another private despotism. In Freudian terms, the repressed appetites arise, but in truth as 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 yoke 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.

   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

Paradoxically, the things of marriage might be intelligible only to the solitary soul. The principle is the same as the reason for the inclusion of the Song of Solomon in the scripture. 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 suggests 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 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 they meet and kiss, Juliet asks the Nurse to ask his name. “What’s he that follows here, and would not dance? She adds, half-prophetically: “If he be married, My grave is like to be my wedding bed.” The Nurse tells that he is Romeo and a Montague, and Juliet famously swoons:

My only love, sprung from my only hate!

Too early seen unknown, and known too late!

Prodigious birth of love it is to me

That I must love a loathed enemy.

Questioned by the Nurse, she lies, perhaps for the first time, saying she spoke a “Rhyme.”

 II, i-ii

   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; Sonnet 146). 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” In love, a man of course will give his friends the slip, as Romeo will later explain. An Arden note refers to a circus trick of conjuring an ape that is playing dead, but the ape refers symbolically to the restoration of the animal or natural appetite and the death of this in preparation for rebirth. There are numerous intimations of medieval alchemy in Romeo and Juliet, and this may be one. The dead ape, the leaping over the wall of the father and the vision of Juliet are archetypal content, regarding appetite or the original man and paternal law or rule. 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.

When Romeo was sad, Mercutio told him to “borrow love’s wings and soar above a common bound” (I,iv,16-17). Romeo literally risks death, as Juliet says, “They will murder thee,” but Romeo answers, “There is more peril in thine eye.” As Bloom comments nicely,

Romeo and Juliet never have any doubt about the superiority of their love to any commandment that might prohibit it…Love in Shakespeare knows no bounds of propriety, whether laid down by family or country…Romeo is absolutely unqualified in his feelings and in his expression of them…neither his enemies nor his friends can have any effect on his behavior” (pp.)

That to which we wish to draw attention 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, as Benvolio notes, over the wall of Capulet and into his orchard, where Juliet stands on the balcony. The wall, as in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is a symbol of the will and authority of the father, or the authority of custom. This garden is a return together to the original unity in 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. The orchard is related both to Eden and the Kingdom, where there are the trees of knowledge and of life, or where there is the tree of knowledge and of life.

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 image is like the angel in the annunciation to the Shepherds (Luke 2:10-14). 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.” Romeo is, like Browne in Love’s Labor’s Lost, a votary of the sun- though like the spirits of the night, Romeo would shut daylight out, and like Oberon, his night wanderings are a seeking of the light.

  Again, according to the Phaedrus, (250b) beauty is the only one of the forms to have a visible manifestation, and hence the lover is experiencing the divine directly for the first time. If we were to see wisdom, we would be out of our wits. The joining of the lovers from first sight, shown in the palm dance, is the conception of love, as distinct from the consummation. 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, 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).[35] 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 famously 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.

 

[SD] 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, then, 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 Arden note to II,ii, 44 (p. 129) indicates “The passage is strewn with exchanges between name and word, down to line 58.” 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. “Christian” is a name, and not a word. In Genesis, too, man names the animals, but not the first men. Adam is not a name, but a word, man. 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 (403c), “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. Upon entering the garden, the lover casts off the clothing of convention, the name added to his nature from birth.

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.” As written in the gospel to the Hebrews, when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying “surely I will bless you and multiply you.” (Genesis 22:16; Hebrews 6:13). The teaching of Jesus, “Do not swear at all…” (Matthew 5:34) is related. Love is an idolatry, if a playful sort that leads beyond itself. (Sonnet 105, “Let not my love be called idolatry”). 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, as is the teaching of the Symposium. But perhaps we are only given to love this way, at first sight, once, and to see the angel of only one. But by this sight, the lover indeed holds the secret of the beloved. By “angel,” we mean to indicate that in man which is equal to the angels, the begotten nous (John 1:12-13, Republic Do not be amazed!), as distinct from the created reason, logistikon, which passes to most for “reason,” confusing many teachings. Again, we do not know, in the contrast, what is faith and what is reason, but assuming that we know these, spin endlessly about the contrast in appearance. 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,[36] and the love of Romeo and Juliet even more so:

My bounty is as boundless as the sea

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite.

   Romeo fears that the experience is a dream, too sweet to be substantial, or too good to be true. Love is like a waking dream. Having exchanged vows, and not being one to play at coyness, Juliet proposes marriage immediately, the following day. It may be amazing for Shakespeare to show a woman proposing, but she is immediately moved by love. Children too believe they can make natural love and the convention of marriage coincide, or, they do not see the convention and complexity of marriage. Like the Biblical Ruth in following Naiomi, Juliet tells Romeo, “And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay / And follow thee throughout the world.”

II, iii-vi

   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, while love 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 finds Romeo in the street, and delivers his message to Juliet. They are married that afternoon at the Friar’s cell.

   The Friar is a very strange character. Romeo finds him at sunrise collecting herbs, and speaking in soliloquy about how the “virtues” of the herbs can work toward health or death depending on how they are applied. He speaks like a natural philosopher and an early physician, more than a priest. According to his poem, the earth is both the mother and tomb of nature, and nourishes the many kinds of living things, which each have their proper virtue. It is not clear that he understands why womb and tomb rhyme, of the meaning of John 3 and Romans 6. He is impressed with the power of the grace in plants, herbs and stones. Vice, he says, is this virtue misapplied, and while each of the beings gives some special good to the earth, none is so good that it cannot be made to serve vice. “Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied/ And vice sometimes by action dignified.” There are questions in here, of the end to which the virtues are applied, and how this coheres with the tradition of Biblical and philosophic thought. The friar fails to understand the opposites correctly, and this theoretical deficiency is related to his practical deficiency. But from such theoretical basis, it is more clear how a friar might use love and marriage for political purposes. As Romeo enters, the Friar considers the bark of one flower which is medicine if smelled, but heart stopping poison if eaten. Can the herb he speaks of be identified? From his medieval botany, the Friar draws an analogy to the human things: “Two such opposed kings encamp them still/ In man as well as herbs–grace and rude will.” The worse is like a worm that, when it is dominant, eats up the plant.

   The knowledge and application of herbs practiced by the Friar will of course be significant in the play, as he gives Juliet the sleeping potion. In the application of herbs to cure love, he is like Oberon– although his herbs do not cause love. There is a contrast between the wise rule of Oberon-Theseus in the comedy and the bungling attempt of the Friar to use love in a tragic attempt to heal the ancient family quarrel.

   Romeo tells the Friar that he has forgotten Rosaline, but been wounded by one while feasting with his enemy. “Both our remedies/ Within thy holy physic lies.” More clearly, Romeo tells him,

my hearts dear love is set

On the daughter of rich Capulet

As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine,

And all combined save what thou must combine

By holy marriage.

When the Friar complains about the great deal of brine “spent over Rosaline,” Romeo answers that now he loves one that returns his love. The Friar says Rosaline was right to not return his love. “Thy love did read by rote/ That could not spell.” In this he agrees with the strange second chorus, “alike bewitched by charm of looks” (III,ii, 73-95). While he is correct that the love of Romeo had not fully emerged, the Friar, like the chorus, has no understanding of true love nor of love at first sight, but agrees to assist Romeo in order “To turn your household’s rancor to true love.” Had the Friar not tried to fix the family quarrel by using marriage, he would have cooled the passion of Romeo and arranged the marriage with more patience. At the same time, the tragedy shows that it is indeed the intention of nature to use love to correct the family quarrel.

 

II, iv

   The fourth scene of Act Two opens as Benvolio and Mercutio look for the missing Romeo. While Romeo has been arranging his own marriage, Tybalt has sent a challenge to Romeo at the house of Montague. Since the Prince has forbid the fighting, and Mercutio is a relative of the Prince, Mercutio could here have reported the challenge to the Prince and had Tybalt arrested, especially if the challenge is written. The simultaneity of the counterstroke of the tragic villain continues, having begun at the palm dance. Mercutio continues to ridicule Romeo about love, calling him “already dead…” “And is he a man to encounter Tybalt.” Benvolio asks, “What is Tybalt?” Tybalt is the other of two forms of spiritedness in the play, Mercutio aristocratic and a friend of Romeo, and Tybalt, subject to the tyrannical soul and in fact a murderer. While Romeo is related to the Shakespearean development of romantic Love, one wonders if Mercutio is not connected with Montaigne, or something similar. If so, the obvious question would be of a relation of Tybalt to the principles of Machiavelli. Mercutio answers Benvolio, explaining, “Why, more than Prince of cats.” Warburton notes that Tybalt is the name the prince of cats in Reynold the Fox (Arden edition, p. 142, III,i, 76). (The word “Prince,” however, comes from the book of Daniel). Tybalt is the practitioner of a certain new fashion in a school of fencing. Mercutio, who is a “man to encounter Tybalt,” is familiar with this school as well as the old school. Philosophic terms emerge in Mercutio’s description of Tybalt as…:

a duellist, a duellist, a gentleman of the very first house, of the first and second cause. Ah, the immortal passado! The punto reverso! The hay!

Prior to Descartes, a “dualist,” was an adherent of the philosophic position that there are two first causes, one good and one evil, to account for the malignity of things. Manichean dualism was a heresy from Mani, a certain teacher in the early Christian centuries. The orthodox account is that evil is a privation of the good, and, we add, a perversion of the specifically human faculties. While the principles might be opposed in the imagination of Mani, the opposition is in man and not in nature or in being. But man is subject to misfortune, including the harms caused by human injustice, and the rain falls upon the just and unjust alike, rather than, for example, being directed by providence to serve the just. Tybalt too may have been related to a Christian tyrant when he said “As I hate Hell, all Montagues, and thee…” It is amusing though, the things said of him by the nurse and his Capulet relatives when he is dead. His character as a murderer did not appear, though Capulet subjects the adolescent at the party.

   The word dualist of course reminds of the opposites addressed by Romeo in contrasting his sorrow at the world with the truth of love. There are different kinds of opposites, such as heaven and earth, male and female, just and unjust, and good and evil. Each set of opposites requires a different dealing by the prudent one or statesman. The shadow prevents the vast majority of humans from dealing wisely, as they see every opposition as though it were that between the just and unjust or the good and evil, making it impossible to deal with the genuine oppositions. But, as Socrates tells Crito, (49), there is no common council between those who choose to suffer rather than do injustice and those who choose the opposite. The difference here is, as is said, one of principle. Politics is concerned with cultivating the political realm in between, so that the other does not destroy the developing good, just, beautiful and free. Phronesis or practical wisdom must know these, or, requires at least some of sophia, or theoretical wisdom. Manichean dualism mistakes the difference in man and nature for a difference in being. Surrounding the opposites of anything of nothing first created and misbegotten chaos of well seeming forms is that between tragedy and comedy, and the suggest is that the conjunction achieved by Shakespeare is based upon the correction of the two errors of interpretation on either side of these.

   Romeo enters, as Mercutio thinks, without his “roe,” which the Arden note persuasively explains is the sperm of herring, removed in processing. As with the Friar, Mercutio has no idea of the possibility of the love of Romeo and Juliet. Here Mercutio, who is well read, lists the famous lovers. Laura de Noves, the beloved of Petrarch, was a kitchen wench to his lady. He lists Dido, Cleopatra, Helen, Hero and Thisbe, making fun of the pre-Petrarchan loves, and even Shakespeare famously makes fun of the Petrarchan and courtly love for their excessive praise of their saintly women (Sonnet 130). Laura seems to have spoke one sentence to Petrarch, “I’ non son fose chi tu credi,” “I am perhaps not who you believe (me to be), Rhyme Sparse 23), turning him to stone. An image of an entire love for us is the approaching of a woman walking under a streetlight at night, only to apologize, upon reaching her, and say, “I thought you were someone I had known.” Mercutio and Romeo enter into a duel of wits that is the last of the good times of high friendship in the play. Banter is itself like the game of goose chase, following allusions and double meanings wherever they lead. Similar to the function of rhyme in writing poetry, the multiple meanings allow and draw out the unconscious expression. In one of those terrifying tragic coincidences of meaning, Mercutio, during the duel of wits, at one point says, “Come between us, good Benvolio, my wit faints” (line 71).

But after a bit of play, Mercutio asks Romeo,

Why, is this not better than groaning for love? Now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo; now art thou what thou art by art as well as by nature. For this driveling love is like a great natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.

Bloom writes: “Only Romeo and Juliet love in the play…” all the others, excepting the Friar, are obscene. Only one in ten are capable at all of love. And yet the love of these, the lovers, is the measure of so much that goes well or ill in private lives.

   One would wish to write a brief scene in which Mercutio lives to fall in love, even scaling the walls of the castle Rosaline. His observation on love is profound. The root of the phantasm of love is the illusion spinning called “Maya,” and most men live most of their lives in a dream world of fantastic pursuits under vague fantasies based on this illusion. It is a maternal cave based on bodily self preservation and perpetuation, represented by attachment to the mother. The umbilical chord if the illusion of love is the attachment to the earth or to the mortal, which is truly only the lower third of being. In the play, the parents of Romeo are not prominent, but in the place of the mother in this sense is the tomb. Love leads through death to undo the attachment of the lover to the earth. Repentance is the return through the mortal origin Leonard Cohen, in the song “Suzanne,” saw “heroes in the seaweed” contrasted with “children in the morning” as Suzanne holds the mirror. The seaweed is the entanglement in the attachments to the earth. “

   The Nurse then enters, providing the duelists with “goodly gear.” The Nurse is like a painting of Breugels, one of the great portraits in all of human art. Asked if it is yet afternoon, Mercutio answers with his Bloom-praised “the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon.” Here Romeo, in another reference to Genesis, introduces Mercutio to the Nurse as a man “that God hath made, himself to mar.” His friends leave, planning to dine that evening at the house of Montague, and Romeo gives word to the nurse to have Juliet meet  “this afternoon”at Friar’s cell to be married, and arrangements are made to ascend her balcony with the rope ladder, a device familiar from Two Gentlemen of Verona. 

 

II v-vi

   The Nurse tortures Juliet, here comically with the news from Romeo,, and again at III, ii, where it is not so humorous. The beauty of the poetry of the impatience of Juliet, here and again as she waits for night, is beyond commentary, beginning, “Loves heralds should be thoughts/ Which ten times faster glides than sun’s beams…

   The second act concludes with the marriage. On their joy, Romeo says, “…Then love devouring death do what he dare-/ It is enough that I may but call her mine.” Juliet is extraordinary and no child:

Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,

Brags of his substance, not of ornament.

They are but beggars that can count their worth;

But my true love is grown to such excess

I cannot sum up the sum of half my wealth.

   Though it is of course brief, Romeo and Juliet are, from the palm dance through their wedding, happy. Though the consummation of their marriage will soon be tainted by loss and complexity, in the world of their love they have a bliss apart from the brawling world.

III, i

   The minute of the marriage turns the story screaming toward its tragic end. The families are here connected, with the violent reaction to follow by necessity. The central Act opens with Benovolio and Mercutio talking much like the servants at the opening of the play, about being “apt to quarrel,” and again he tries with good will to stop the fight. Mercutio and Benvolio are in the hot Italian street when Tybalt approaches them. Tybalt has accompanied the love from its conception, following the incarnation as the adversary is shown to follow Jesus throughout the movie on the crucifixion by Mel Gibson. “…By my heal, I care not” (III,i, 37) means that the diabolic analogy is intentional.  Tybalt has sent a challenge to Romeo to the house of Capulet, and is still looking for Romeo to avenge the insult of his disguised entrance into the party at the house of Capulet. This underlines the argument of Capulet that the life of Tybalt would be ended by the law for his killing of Mercutio, especially as this occurs. But that is why Mercutio picks the fight with Tybalt, offering to “make it a word and a blow.” Tybalt would rather fight the more effeminate Romeo, shrinking the challenge of Mercutio, who is his superior in spirit and ability. 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. Is he a man to encounter Tybalt?” (II,iv,16). 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, trying to prevent the fight. There is a lesson here about peacemaking that can be generalized. It is something like: “Even though one cannot hold the arms of the villain, do not hold the arms of the good guy,” 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 statement “a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat… (III,i, 102) reminds of the statement of Lear at the death of Cordelia, marveling that any of these “…may have life, and thou no breath at all” (King Lear, V,  ). His only flaw, despite his high and wild spirit and his skepticism, seems to be to have befriended and protected Romeo, which his virtue. Being the relative of the Prince and the brother of a “Valentine,” he might have reported the challenge of Tybalt, and had him arrested, if taking legal action is something that these spirited Italians do. Had Mercutio slain Tybalt, as Cole indicates, the issue would have likely ended there, as the prohibition of quarreling between the families would not have been violated. Had Romeo taken the challenge directly, he might have lost, according to the assessment of Mercutio. Still there is an interesting comment upon the caricatured vice of peace-loving Christianity.

   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). Here, as Aristotle writes with the example of Oedipus, the tragic wonder is increased when the recognition coincides with the turning of the action toward the conclusion. In our courts, Romeo would argue self defense, and would be correct, especially after Tybalt returns to the scene of the slaying of Mercutio to challenge Romeo. A great error of Zeffirelli seems to be to alter this scene so that Romeo chases after Tybalt. In Shakespeare’s play, Tybalt returns, and Romeo is awake:

Alive in triumph,  and Mercutio slain?

Away to heaven, respective lenity,

And fire eyed fury be my conduct now!

Now, Tybalt, take the “villain” back again

That late thou gavest me; for Mercutio’s soul

Is but a little way above our heads,

Staying for thine to keep him company.

Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.

But Romeo then has another recognition, shouting: “O, I am fortune’s fool” (III,i 138).

Again repeating the opening scene, the prince and the principals of both families enter or the judgement. Lady Capulet, who is murderous, argues for the death of Romeo. Her statement on Benvolio’s true account is a fine example of reasoning from such a perspective:

He is kingsman to the Montague;

Affection makes him false, he speaks not true.

Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,

And all those twenty could but kill one life.

I beg for justice, Prince, which thou must give.

Romeo slew Tybalt; Romeo must not live.

Romeo must die because the truth, once partisanship is stripped away, must be that twenty guys ganged up on Tybalt, and so justice requires that Romeo be executed. The wickedness of Lady Capulet throughout is shocking: bad wombs have borne good daughters.

   But Capulet himself, rather than Montague, is strangely, the one to say:

Not Romeo Prince; he was Mercutio’s friend;

His fault concludes but what the law should end,

The life of Tybalt.

 The Prince answers Lady Capulet with the truth:

Romeo slew him; he slew Mercutio.

Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?

In lines that appear as if they would be spoken not by Capulet but Montague, Capulet answers: “Not Romeo, Prince, he was Mercutio’s friend;/ His fault but concludes what the law should end.” What is not said is that Mercutio picked the fight with Tybalt, and everyone is silent about the challenge sent by Tybalt to the house of Romeo. As at the dance, Capulet saw Tybalt and likes Romeo, underlining the possibility that the Friar could have told the families of the marriage, even now, though everything happens much too fast. Capulet is the only one of the Capulets, including Juliet, who seems to accurately see the character of Tybalt.

   And so Romeo is banished. The Prince exiles Romeo on pain of death if he is found in Verona, and it is important to remember that he risks death to consummate his marriage, even more than he did in consummating his love’s conception with his contemplation in the garden scene. The Prince reminds the quarreling families that now his blood has been spilt in the death of Mercutio, and lays on them heavy fines. He concludes with what is like a political proverb against the teaching of Mercy in the Christian age, or at least setting the temporal powers of the Prince aside from those of the monastery:

Mercy but murders pardoning those that kill.

 

III ii

   While the slaying of Mercutio and Tybalt, and the banishment of Romeo are occurring, Juliet, knowing nothing, awaits news from the nurse, who finally arrives with the rope and the terrible story. The poetry of Juliet as she awaits night is again beyond beautiful. She calls for the fiery-footed horses to hurry toward the night room of Phoebus the sun, and adds that an impetuous charioteer like Phaeton would bring the sun to set immediately, whether lovers see to do their rites by beauty’s light or all the same in dark, if love is blind…

                                    …Come, civil night,

Thou sober suited matron all in black…

Hood my unmanned blood, bating in my cheeks

With thy black mantle till strange love grow bold…

   The Nurse then enters with the rope, but is able only to say, “he’s dead,” so that Juliet thinks Romeo may be dead. The Nurse torments her, apparently unable to see into the circumstance of another, answering only, “I saw the wound…etc” Juliet is ready to join Romeo on the bier or cart for a coffin. The Nurse then moans, “Tybalt, the best friend I ever had,” and Juliet thinks both are dead. Not realizing the character of Tybalt, that these are hero and villain, she exclaims, “Then , dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom/ For who is living if these two are gone?” Finally, the nurse tells her that Tybalt is dead and Romeo banished. The marvel of the scene is the gradual understanding of Juliet, as she  struggles to understand what has occurred and must figure out for herself the meaning of things. 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 as present at once in Romeo. Her husband has slain her cousin, while she as his wife loves him, and simultaneously hates him as the killer of her cousin. She apparently does not know the character of Tybalt, or is to innocent to be 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?

Was ever book containing such vile matter

So fairly bound?…

There is here allusion, as in the earlier mention of the book, at the Palm dance, to the book which prophesies the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing, the dragon horned like a lamb, but which yet speaks like a dragon (Revelation 13:11), thought to be the “Beautiful tyrant,” “fiend angelical,” Dove feathered raven” and “wolvish-ravening lamb,” the angel who appears as an angel of light. The very terrible matter contained in that book, here as based upon the most elementary human confusion regarding appearance, which is yet at the root of love: “O that deceit should dwell in so gorgeous a place!” When this occurs, it will be based upon the most elementary human deception regarding appearances, and at the same time demonstrate why both “Lucifer” and Jesus are called the “morning star,” which is of course Venus, or love.

   But when the Nurse draws the conclusion that there is no faith or honesty in men, and, not being one to care at all about what she says, adds, “Shame come to Romeo!” Juliet is called back to the truth, if in an opposite extreme, and curses her nurse:

                                    Blistered be thy tongue

For such a wish! He was not born to shame.

Upon his brow shame is afraid to sit;

For ’tis a throne where honor may be crowned

Sole monarch of the universal earth…

She gradually realizes that Tybalt would have slain her husband, and the primacy of husband to cousin, if not a discernment of characters, allows her to resolve the fundamental opposites, opening the way for her to realize the fundamental and genuine sorrow of her circumstance. She wonders,  “Why weep I then?” Her uncovering of the reason for her sorrow is  a good example of the unconscious, with Shakespeare comprehending again to say the least, everything theorized in the Freudian hypothesis of the unconscious with the added context of justice:

Some word there was, worser than Tybalt’s death,

That murdered me, I would forget it fain;

But oh, it presses to my memory

Like damned guilty deeds to sinners’ minds!

“Tybalt is dead, and Romeo -banished…”

“Romeo is banished”- to speak that word

Is father, Mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,

All slain, all dead…

For the lover, all attachment to family at the root is wrapped up in the love, here brought in to conflict with the attachment to ones own family. This again indicates a transcendence of the principle of bodily self interest or the appetites that is romantic love. Hence the sacrifice of the attachment involved in the love at the foundation of the family either is or is like the sacrifice of all attachment to the earth.

   Juliet, again prepared to die, tells the nurse to take up the rope, since Romeo is banished. It is classic to the age and to young love to see the world and life in these extremes, as these kids have only been alive in the adult sense for less than a single year, and so each thing seems all: “I’ll to my wedding bed;/ And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead” The contrasting nurse, at the other extreme, sees these things as nothing, which allows for a touch of humor and extreme beauty so close together one can only once again marvel at Shakespeare, not yet knowing the play’s end, as the nurse tells her, ah, get to your room, Ill find Romeo since I know where he is, at the Friar’s cell. The humor is that the nurse let Juliet go on about the banishment, tormenting her again accidentally due to her inability to have the most common compassion that would quickly clarify. Inseparable from the humor is the foreshadowing of tragedy, as Juliet the lover, just like Romeo in the next scene, cannot see the possibility of a life outside Verona’s walls, nor imagine a life like that found in the woods of As You Like It.” This limitation, for which Romeo and Juliet must be, again, still in part children for the play to work, allows for the disaster to occur. The final touch of beauty is the giving of the ring to the nurse to give to her “true knight,/ And bid him come take his last farewell.”

 

 

III, iii

   Romeo is meanwhile hiding in the cell of the Friar, awaiting news of the doom of the Prince, which causes him, like Juliet, to compare his circumstance to “doomsday.” Hearing that the sentence of the prince is banishment, he responds, “be merciful, say death.” The Friar tells him, “The world is broad and wide,” but Romeo considers banishment from Juliet as though it were banishment from the divine: There is no world without Verona walls, but purgatory, torture, hell itself.” The Friar responds, “O, deadly sin,” and tries to remind Romeo that the sentence of the Prince is merciful, and that he should be thankful. But, again like a sixteen year old in love, if more so than others, Romeo answers:

                                           Heaven is here

Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog

And little mouse, every unworthy thing,

Live here in heaven and may look on her…

When Cordelia dies, Lear similarly asks, “Why should a dog, a hose, a rat, have life, and Thou no breath at all? (V,iii, 306-7). Indeed, as Solomon reasoned, the death of men and beasts is the same: “They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for  all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes, 3:19-20. Flies

…may seize/ On the white wonder of dear Juliet’s hand

And steal immortal blessing from her lips

Who even in pure and vestal modesty

Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin…

The Signet note explains that this means when her own lips touch one another, emphasizing the purity of her virginity and reminding of their first kiss. The flies are free men, while Romeo is banished, and so banishment is worse than death Becoming Dante-esque, he adds “The damned use that word in hell,” and asks how, being a divine, the Friar could have the heart to mangle him with that word “banished.” That is Romanticism, and again, faith in the divine being more appearance in the world, romantic love, or the perception of the beautiful through the beloved, is the more genuine or concrete experience of the divine, the first direct experience of the intelligible. Incidentally, it is clear from this account of Socrates in the Phaedrus that the Platonic “theory of the forms,” where the good is accessible like a linguistic universal or mathematic axiom, is an appearance, or a placeholder awaiting the genuine ascent.

   But to return, the Friar calls Romeo mad, and, as Socrates explains, this is in a sense true, though it is a divine madness. The Friar offers  Romeo philosophy directly, “adversities sweet milk, philosophy/ To comfort thee, though thou art banished.”  Mantua is within the dukedom of Milan, the place of philosophy in Shakespearean Italy, across the border from the dominions of Verona. The Friar correctly offers Romeo the true fulfillment that he seeks, but Romeo is sixteen, not 26, and and on this side of death, rather than the other side. Romeo answers:

Hang up philosophy!

Unless philosophy can make a Juliet,

Displant a town, reverse a Prince’s doom

It helps not…

The Friar tells him madmen have no ears, and Romeo ask how they should when wise men have no eyes. The Friar offers to enter into a formal medieval scholastic disputation on the question, and soon will do so. Romeo answers, though, just as Romanticism answers the Medievals, “Thou canst not speak of that thou dost not feel.” If the Friar were as young as Romeo, Juliet his love, and in this circumstance, the Friar would fall onto the ground just as Romeo does. Just then the nurse arrives,s, and Romeo, careless of his own life, refuses to hide at the knock upon the door. The Nurse here functions somewhat as Lucentio does when Isabella is near to giving up the attempt to save her brother Claudio, in Measure. While unable to speak even in this circumstance without half involuntary bawdy jokes, she immediately succeeds where the Friar fails, and provides the only successful rhetorical matter in his coming disputation, and with a single sentence: “Stand, an you be a man, for Juliet’s sake…” Further, thinking that Juliet might hate his name for killing Tybalt her kinsman, Romeo tries to stab himself, and the Nurse snatches away the dagger. This heroism and even practical wisdom of the  nurse,is something even beyond a Breugels painting. The very Nurse who yet will prove herself before the divine truths of love to be genuinely utterly base. That is one paradox and marvel, an excellence amid deficiency of the common man.

   The formal disputation of the Friar against the suicidal inclination of Romeo, a display which will leave the Nurse in astonished admiration at “what learning is,” here succeeds, but only because the Friar and Nurse together have arranged for the consummation of his frenzied love. Before arriving at the clinching argument of the Nurse, the Friar attempts to appeal to the honor or self esteem of Romeo, saying he thought him better tempered, while he is showing himself to be womanish and like a beast. “Would thou slay thyself, and slay thy lady that in thy life lives, by doing damned hate upon thyself?” That one word damned is his only allusion to the canon law forbidding suicide, mentioned directly by Hamlet in the argument of his first soliloquy (Hamlet, I, ii, 129-132.) The argument of the Friar asks why Romeo complains against his birth, heaven and earth, when all three meet in him, whom he would end by suicide. Indeed, we cannot estimate the gift of life in the glass is half full” argument against suicide.  With an eternity of silence prior to our birth, and a like eternity to come, one would think we might have a little patience, to wait out whatever inconveniences or difficulties seem now to our impatience insurmountable. The Friar again draws these three into an argument about Romeo’s, shape, love and wit, calling him but a “wax” form, a word the Nurse amusingly used as a term of praise regarding Paris, telling Juliet he is a “man of wax”). The Friar then brings all together in the formal and final cause of the argument of the nurse, saying that The love of Romeo, his vow, is perjury if he would kill the love that he has vowed to cherish, and then counts his blessings, beginning with that Juliet is alive. Romeo has won the fight with Tybalt against odds, had the death sentence reduced to banishment. Here the Friar tells of his plan to publicize the wedding, reconcile the families and then persuade the Prince while Romeo waits in Mantua. But it is as true at the end that Juliet is alive. There the  Friar, who fails in “wit” to account for the possible effects of misfortune by preparing for both possibilities, fails also in courage allowing for  the death of Juliet. The Friar and the Prince are two separate offices in Verona, unlike the magic island of The Tempest. In truth, the reason against suicide is in care of others, as though for ourselves, the suffering and toils of just maintaining life make the proposition about 50-50 in average fortunes, for ourselves. It is what we do for others that makes life worthy living, even if we live to correct the harms we once did to others.

   The truth remains that Romeo should have gone to study in Mantua and waited, either for Juliet or for the facts of the case to become clear. Was Romeo capable of philosophy? His melancholy, transcendence of the quarrelsome world, and appeal to first principles make this a serious question, especially if the noble eros is the start up a ladder of love. Barbara Tovey considers Ferdinand to be a prospective philosopher, though, as we will argue, it seems this cannot be the case. Another possibility is that the limitation to appearance, or the failure to transcend the appearance of the divine in Juliet means that Romeo is more like the poet, since these are, with the lunatic and lover, of an “imagination all compact.”

 

III, iv

   Capulet, an hour after his usual bedtime, talks to Paris about the wedding. They set a date of the following Thursday, and the present day is said to be a Monday, the quarrel having occurred on a Sunday. The wedding, then, is set for Lammas-tide, August 1, when Juliet will be just 14. Capulet tells Lady Capulet to check on Juliet before she retires. Had she done so, she may have found Romeo. She goes to tell Juliet of the wedding plans at sunrise, just as Romeo is leaving.

III, v

   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. This is the great scene, “It was the nightingale and not the lark…” “One kiss, and I’ll descend,” (a line I have used myself once). It is the title of a poem and the theme of an entire love. Prophecy attends these scenes, as Juliet, in her  last words to Romeo, tells him:

O God, I have an ill divining soul!

Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low,

As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.

Either my eyesight fails, or thou lookest pale.

This is the last time the lovers see one another alive, so this is it, temporally. There will not, in this world, be a time when “all these woes shall serve/ For sweet discourses in our times to come.” We have seen the peak of two together in the greatest love story. The next time she sees Romeo, he is indeed “As one dead in the bottom of a tomb” (line 56). Prophecy and clairvoyance attend love, as though the two together in this state, again like a brief return to the harmony of Eden, were like a brief entrance into something like the harmony of all things, and a union of conscious and unconscious.

   Lady Capulet enters, either coming from her conversation with Capulet or having stayed up all night. The language continues to be drenched in prophecy, as Juliet tries to pretend that she is up weeping for her cousin and that Romeo is her enemy. Lady Capulet somehow knows that Romeo will be in Mantua, even before he is there, and speaks of sending one to poison him. Juliet offers to carry the poison there herself, “so he would sleep in quiet,” which might be quite a good double agent covert operation, if it were more reasonable. Lady Capulet may have learned of Mantua from the Nurse, as she speaks with more assurance than one speaking from a knowledge only of where Romeo is likely to be. Her intention to commit murder in filial revenge by poisoning shows her character.

   Lady Capulet tells Juliet she is to marry Paris “early next Thursday morn…at St. Peter’s Church,” the church in Verona, and Juliet answers, “Now by St. Peter’s Church, and St. Peter too,/ He shall not make me there a joyful bride.”  Capulet enters, again strangely reciting ornate poetry about the tears of Juliet, despite the tragic change in his character.The reaction of Capulet to the death of Tybalt is strangely to have his daughter married to Paris immediately, which he now calls a “decree.” Again, he once told Paris to “Win her heart./ My will to her consent is but a part.” In the beginning, Capulet would not have Juliet married against her wishes, nor so young (I,iii). The attitude of Capulet has changed, along with everything else as the play screams toward the tragic conclusion.  Now, when Juliet will not, he is outraged. As the ironic prophetic aura of the speech of the characters continues, Lady Capulet growls “I would the fool were married to her grave” (141). Capulet orders:

But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next

To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church,

Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.

Again, “bier,” Juliet called this, the cart of a coffin (III,ii, 60). Juliet, asking them to delay the marriage, asks: “or if you do not, make the bridal bed in that dim monument where Tybalt lays” (III,v, 202-203).

Abandoned and alone, Julietturns to the last councilor of her innocent youth:

O God, O Nurse, how shall this be prevented?’

My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven.

How shall that faith return again to earth

Unless that husband send it me from heaven

By leaving earth?

As the Arden note indicates, Juliet here means by her “faith” her marriage vow, which she would not have to give to Paris unless her husband were to die. Juliet is married now, and might even have the child of Romeo. She draws attention to the strange cruelty of Providence:

Alack, alack, that heaven should practice stategems

Upon so soft a subject as myself!

This too she noted as Romeo went off from her balcony into banishment:

Oh Fortune, Fortune! All men call thee fickle.

If Thou at fickle, what dost thou with him

That is renouned for faith?

(III,v, 60-62)

The advice of the nurse is bigamy, to forget about Romeo and to marry a Paris. Juliet is now completely alone. The coarse nurse might have Juliet and Paris raising the child of Romeo. The nurse enters into a consolation speech praising Paris in comparison with Romeo, who in any case is as good as dead, by the standard of his “use” in this circumstance. Juliet asks if the nurse speaks that advice from her heart, and the nurse answers “And from my soul too, else beshrew” or curse “them both,” to which Juliet answers under her breath, “Amen.” Instantly, by the light of her love for Romeo, Juliet is suddenly an adult, resolving to lie, as she asks the nurse to tell her mother she has gone to the Friar to be absolved for displeasing her father

 

Act IV

   The Fourth Act opens at the Friar’s cell, where Paris has come to prepare for his wedding, hastily set for “Thursday.” The dialogue of Juliet and Paris is the reverse of the palm dance. Paris does not realize that love requires consent, and Juliet dances about his presumption. She elegantly preserves her liberty and privacy from her presumed fiance, who asks if she has come to the Friar to make confession, and tells her, “Do not deny to him that you love me.” Paris leaves, and Juliet tells the Friar that she will slay herself before her hand or heart turn to another, having been married to Romeo. Her speech implies the harsh judgment of the play on the action of the Friar:

 

…arbitrating that

Which the commission of thy years and art

Could to no issue of true honor bring.

The years and art of the Friar could not bring the love of Romeo and Juliet to any issue of true honor. The courage of Juliet, as a thirteen year old girl alone facing the terrors of the tomb alone, is contrasted with the cowardice of the Friar. The studies of the Friar are decisively criticized by a thirteen year old girl.

   The Friar suggests that he has a remedy if she has courage. Another of the play’s foreshadowings is: “Or hide me in a charnel house / O’ercovered with dead men’s bones.” That is just the plan, to have to have Juliet take the potion that will make her appear dead for forty two hour, to be taken to the tomb of Capulet, where Romeo will come, awaken her and take her to Mantua. One wonders why it is required that Romeo be there in person, rather than have the Friar awaken her and smuggle her to Mantua, leave in the appearance of a resurrection. This is especially so since Romeo is under threat of death if he returns to Verona, and underlines the cowardice of the Friar. Romeo, her hero, is to come to “redeem” her, and it is the failure of this, under the attempted art of the friar, that is the ironic coincidence of the play. The Friar kills love by the attempt to apply what is like the resurrection.

    The Friar tells Juliet 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)

Juliet voluntarily faces all childhood fears of the dead as she will the fear of death “to live an unstained wife to my dear love:”

…Or hide me nightly in a charnel  house.

O’er covered quite with dead men’s rattling bones,

With reeky  shanks and yellow chapless skulls;

Or bid me go into a new-made grave

And hide me with a dead man in his shroud-

These fears and worse will return as she undergoes the remedy. To be free of the influence of the ancestral, in the authority of the family, Juliet must overcome the fear of death. Juliet 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.  The plan is at first that she take the potion Wednesday night, but everything is rushed, as Capulet changes the wedding date to Wednesday, staying awake again all night Tuesday night. “Next Thursday” has become this Thursday, then Wednesday, and Juliet is found as if dead Wednesday morning. 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. Juliet is too now like the sleeping princess waiting to be awakened. She considers again the fears and more when she wonders what will occur if she should awaken before the time that Romeo/ Come to redeem me,” amid the “horrible conceit of death and night (IV,iii, 31).” It never occurs to her that Romeo might not get word at Mantua, and be among those deceived. Juliet is like the soul or Bride, the Church.

   Has the Friar attempted to apply the image of the death and resurrection to love, as if by art? That is what occurs. That it could go wrong and does means that there can indeed be Christian tragedy.

IV, ii

   There is a ring construction in the play, as that famously noted by Eva Brann regarding Plato’s Republic, where the tenth and first books, the second and ninth, etc, have a certain reference to one another that is illuminating, or indicates certain themes and particular questions. IV.ii is related to I,ii in structure, as here again Capulet is sending out a servingman  with a list of guests to be invited. He orders another to hire “Twenty cunning cooks, and the man answers that he will hire none but those that can lick their fingers, meaning the same as “trust their own medicine.” This seems to be a comment upon the Friar.

IV, iii

   Alone, Juliet speaks a most astonishing soliloquy as she enacts the dismal scene, second to last in her young life, as she lays down the dagger and prepares to drink the poison. First she wonders about the possibility that the Friar has given her poison to murder her to cover his dishonor in marrying her to Romeo.

IV, iv

   Scene iv continues showing Capulet preparing for the wedding. The nurse worries that Capulet will become ill from staying up at night, and we recall that he was also up quite late the previous night. A “fellow” is told to tell Peter to find logs, but the fellow answers that he will do so without bothering Peter, as he he smart enough to find logs. Capulet notices that it is day, and he expects Paris soon. Hearing music, he sends the Nurse to awaken Juliet. The Nurse is left alone onstage at the end of scene IV, goes to the curtains, and speaks to awaken Juliet. Time in the play is difficult to follow because of the haste and the changing of appointments. The action seems to cover five days, beginning on Sunday morning, with no mention anywhere of mass. The party at Capulets must to occur on Sunday night, the balcony scene early Monday morning, with the wedding and Mercutio slain later that same day, so that the wedding is consummated on Monday night. By Tuesday night, Juliet is getting the remedy from the Friar (“Wednesday is tomorrow,” IV, i, 89). The wedding was set for Thursday by Capulet (IV, i, 1), then suddenly moved up to “tomorrow,” which would be Wednesday (line 37). But by Wednesday morning she is found drugged by the potion, and by Thursday morning she is dead. The potion was to last 42 hours, which presents a difficulty of about eight hours, as she would have had to have taken the poison Tuesday afternoon.

  In Romeo and Juliet, then, Shakespeare presents a teaching on Christianity through the analogy of love. Because love is a natural image or reflection of the intelligible in the noble, it is possible to present this teaching through what is itself a portrayal of Romantic love: love is this way because the higher things are this way, and the noble a reflection of the intelligible. That is the basis of Shakespearean drama in Classical or Socratic philosophy. The argument is that there is both true love and the attempt to apply by art what is like the mysteries, and the suggestion is that it is or can be a great error to apply this by art.

IV. v

The apparent death of Juliet allows her relatives to comment early upon her death as occurs at the end of the play. Capulet enters:

“For  shame, bring Juliet forth;

her lord has come.”…

…Death lies on her like an untimely frost

Upon the sweetest flower of the field

The Friar, acting, enters with Paris and the musicians: “Come, is the bride ready for church?” Capulet tells Paris: The night before they wedding day,/ Hath Death lain with thy wife.” “Death,” he says, is now his heir.  No one thinks much of the lamentable story of Paris. But, as at their meeting at the cell of Friar Lawrence, Paris thinks first of himself, that he is beguiled, etc, i.e., he does not love.

   Still acting, the Friar delivers an interesting speech on the immortality of the soul, and how one is fortunate to be dead and hence in heaven: Now heaven hath all…Heaven keeps his part in eternal life,” etc. This may be the only recognition in the play of the teaching of the immortality of the soul. But the question is raised, and then images and actions pertaining occur especially from here on, as will be shown. There is an irony here, though, to the teaching of the Friar that Juliet is well.

   All preparations for the wedding of Juliet and Paris are turned to funeral. The Nurse dismisses the musicians. The First musician apparently contrasts the finality of death with the possibility that the case for his instrument can be mended, but there is otherwise strangely no comment on Juliet or what has just occurred.

   What follows is then the strangest scene of the play. Peter the servant of the Nurse and Capulet asks the musicians to play a song called “Heart’s Ease,” [Note A] recorded in a lyric book of Richard Edwards, and titled “In commendation of music.” The theme of the song is the capacity of music to comfort the soul in distress, as well as to accompany her joys, a general defense of lyric poetry. The musicians refuse to play and “dump”- a word for song that comes from the song. Then, echoing the quarrel that opened the play, Peter threatens not to pay the musicians, who begin threatening banter about weapons. “I will carry no crotchets,” says Peter, before the Second musician suggests a trial of wits instead of daggers. Peter then asks the musicians to interpret a line of the lyric of Heart’s Ease:”

When gripping grief the heart doth wound,

and doleful dumps the mind oppress,

Then music with her silver sound…

Peter asks the musician why it is “silver sound.” The first two musicians assume that silver refers to silver money, while the third gives up and asks Peter, who answers, “Because musicians have no gold for sounding.” He then completes the quatrain: …With speedy help doth lend redress.” The strange scene and discussion has some reference to the silver tipped trees in the garden of Capulet seen as Romeo gazes up to the balcony, and the part of the soul addressed by both love and lyric poetry. This discussion occurs while Juliet is in a coma, thought dead, and being prepared to be born to St. Peter’s Church there in Verona.

 

Act V

 

But the tragedy is as if inevitable. The letters of the Friar that were to have informed Romeo of the feigned death do not arrive in Mantua, by another quirk of chance or fate. Had the Friar sent these letters with Balthasar, they would have arrived. Romeo awakens the next morning in Mantua, cheerful from a dream:

My dreams presage some joyful news at hand…

I dreamt 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…

In the dream, Romeo is as if dead (“The ape is dead,” II,i, 16) and is then revived by the kisses of Juliet. The first part of the dream appears to be prophetic, due to what occurs. If it is prophetic, the second part is the only suggestion in the play of the immortal souls of Romeo and Juliet. In the dream the term “emperor” is striking. To say “emperor,” rather than king, is very strange, but it is also strange that, in two gentlemen of Verona, Sylvia is called an “empress,” making the lover Valentine something similar, and in the same woods between Milan and Verona where Romeo wanders, on the edge, when the play begins. One is reminded of Juliet saying that the brow of Romeo is a throne where honor may be crowned sole monarch of the universal earth” (III,ii, 93-94). The emperor was then the Holy Roman Emperor, referring back to the Roman empire of Caesar. Similar terms are used to describe the reincarnation of those who recollect knowledge by remembering the truth which was seen before birth, in Plato’s Meno. 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 Christ, dying and being raised with him (Romans 6), are said to reign in the realm beyond the creation and death. In the Meno, this dying and being born again shows that the soul is immortal, and having seen all things, need only recollect the knowledge that is as if already in the soul, and so not poured in by a teacher, who only prods the recollection with questions, as Socrates demonstrates with the slave boy. The suggestion in the structure of both the myth of rebirth and the dream of Romeo is that this same immortal soul awakened in philosophy is the cause of the image and reality of romantic love.

   Upon this dream, Romeo then receives news of the death of Juliet and responds, “Is it even so? Then I defy you stars (V, i, 24). It does not occur to him that Juliet might feign death to escape Verona. Romeo without question heads straight for the apothecary, preparing to die. This may ironically be the same apothecary known to Lady capulet when she considers murdering Romeo for killing Tybalt (  ). He asks for horses, ink and paper, to write to his father, as we learn later. In this madness, death is nothing, and he but follows his course, with the same compulsion as that of love. He argues quite rationally that the apothecary ought sell him the fobidden poison because of his poverty- though if the Prince can find the shop on the east side of Mantua, the apothecary may have been sentenced to death. As Romeo buys the poison, he states the tragic reversal of values:

There is thy gold- worse poison to men’s souls

Doing more murder in this loathsome world

Than these poor compounds that thou may’st not sell

I sell thee poison, thou hast sold me none

He tells the apothecary, ..some cordial (medicine) and not poison, go with me” (V,ii, 83-85). This shows the same reversal of values as in “He who seeks to save his life shall lose it,” except that both ends are trapped in the literal. There is no life of the soul for which we sacrifice the life and things of the body, no two meanings of life. Money is poison, while poison and death are called medicine. Money- the capsule of self preservation or the value of the goods of the body- is poison because of the things men do to one another for money in this brawling world. His original sickness or sorrow at the world, due to its “brawling love,” seems for him confirmed. It is an illusion, and Juliet might still meet him in Mantua.

 

V,iii

On the steps of the monument of Capulet, Romeo encounters Paris, who has come with flowers for his dead bride. His appearance there shows that Paris is human, more so than he has previously appeared. 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. The killing is again self defense. At the killing of Paris, all sentimental romanticism is silenced into awe. 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. Romeo is twice a murderer by law, yet readers do not think of him that way. To both the men he kills, he says he loves them more than he loves himself, or, to Tybalt, “better than thou canst devise” (III. i, 70; 63).

   Romeo examines the face of the man he has slain, and remembers Balthesar telling him that Juliet was to have married Paris, though he wonders if he has dreamed that, or is mad, and only thinks he remembers this due to hearing Paris mention Juliet. He offers to bury the “slaughtered youth,” who’s hand is “writ with me in sour misfortune’s book,” inside the grave, and then corrects himself:

A grave? O, no, a lanthorn…

for here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes

This vault a feasting presance full of light

Death, lie thou there

A lanthorn is a lantern open at the top with light streaming out, as was the name of our college newspaper in those days at Grand Valley, the “Lanthorn.” He sees that Juliet, who is about to awaken from the poison, does not seem dead, but he considers it a lightening before death, as is reported by those near to those dying, and neither of these lead him to suspect that the illusion is her death. A scene in commentary might have him realizing just in time, though Paris is now quite dead. The effect of the poison, if he has now opened the bottle, is similar to and herb discussed by the Friar, when smelled…”with that part cheers each part,”…but when tasted, causes death (II, iii, 25-26; These were the “two opposed kings” supposedly encamped in men as well as herbs, like Romeo and Tybalt).

   John Hankins, in his Introduction to the Signet edition (p. 856), writes: “In David Garrick’s acting version of the play (as in Bandello’s story) Juliet awakes before Romeo dies, and he thus realizes the bitter irony of his situation. The questionable dramatic propriety of this ending has caused considerable debate among students of the play.” Shakespeare’s Romeo dies believing Juliet is dead, and Shakespeare’s Juliet is left alone to bear the truth and then die by her own hand because of the accurate belief that her beloved is dead.

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, Juliet will not leave. The Friar flees as others are coming. His attempt to escape being seen allows the death of Juliet. She takes the dagger from Romeo’s side and sheaths it in her own heart.

   The Dream of Balthasar is the truth, though the claims to have mistaken this for a dream, when he heard Romeo kill Paris at the tomb, may not be. Does he say that he dreamed the truth to avoid the responsibility of having experienced this? There is not time for him to have fallen asleep. In scripture, the dream of Balthesar would be at Daniel 7:1,ff, pertaining to the latter 4 of the same 5 parts shown in Daniel 2, though the reason for the connection is not clear. The text may suggest something in the analogy of Romeo and the redeemer.

 The Friar’s interest in the plot was again to keep concealed his secret marriage to reconcile the families, as Juliet said when she worried he had given her poison. The comment is that religion practiced as an art, applying the mysteries of death and rebirth artificially, is connected inseparably with the concern with being seen, set above the true service in the hierarchy of goods. A good man would have saved Juliet.

   The Apothecary is revealed by Romeo in the letter. The Prince says only “some shall be pardoned and some punished.” One can only wonder about the Friar, who is the other one to use herbs. His errors are due to bungling and cowardliness in an attempt to do good, though the failure is severe and his complicity beyond negligent homicide. Had the Friar not been there at all, things may have worked out without disaster. A more conventional pastor of a flock might have proceeded more slowly and more publicly. True love has met with tragedy due to the failure of what should have been wise rule.

   The Prince, the Friar, the Montague and the Capulets and others all meet then in the tomb around the dead lovers. The mother of Romeo has died, almost simultaneous with the death of Juliet, or Romeo might have received word in Mantua. At the tomb, 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 in pure gold, as Capulet will of Romeo, and the sacrifice has reconciled the families. As for Pyramus and Thisbe, “The wall is down that parted their fathers.”

 

Epilogue

On Suicide

   Suicide is forbidden as a form of murder, which is forbidden because God made man in his image (Genesis 9:6). Hamlet, in his first soliloquy, recognizes the teaching, “…or that the everlasting fixed/ His canon/ ‘gainst self-slaughter” (I,ii, 131-132). The Catholic teaching is of course that reflected in Dante, where suicides are denied salvation (Purgatory,  p.  above).  In the Apology, Socrates seems to make clear that he thinks we just do not know whether the soul is immortal or not, but that death is either the dreamless sleep of not being anymore or something like an eternity of philosophizing. The Socratic suggestion too may be that the question of immortality has no practical bearing on any choice: If one does not choose justice for its own sake, but for some imagined eternal self interest, well, he who seeks to save his life…

   The clearest statement of the teaching that suicide is forbidden may be that of Socrates to Cebes in Plato’s Phaedo:

…the account that’s given of these things in the mysteries, that we humans are in a sort of garrison, and one is bound not to release oneself from  it nor to run off…The gods care for us, and we humans are the god’s possessions…Now if one of your possessions were to kill itself when you didn’t signal that you wished it to die, he said, wouldn’t you be harsh with it…a man’s bound not to kill himself before god sends some necessity.

Phaedo, 62b-c (Brann etc. translation)

Some are better off dead, but we do not own ourselves, and must remain where we are stationed until relieved. The same argument, staying where one is stationed, is used to explain the courage of Socrates in the face of the fear of death (Apology, 28e-29a). One might say that the duty to not strike the image of God- the reason that killing an animal is not but killing a human may be murder- supersedes or right of liberty in self motion.

   Curiously, there is no such direct teaching in scripture, though something of the sort is likely assumed. Shakespeare raises questions about this regarding Juliet and Ophelia, and is explicitly concerned with the question of how to present the death scene.

   Suicide, we think, is sometimes intelligible as a failed or literalized contrition. There are many kinds of suicide, done for different reasons. Some are due to pain, some to despair or an inextricable circumstance but the romantic suicides are similar to the self-loathing suicides. If one is able to despise oneself, one cannot be entirely bad, though it may occur that suicide prevents future henious crimes. Life is only of value if we become better, and if the soul is immortal, we may be stuck with what we have become. Somehow the soul lacks access to the way of penance and salvation. It would not have been amiss, even after Romeo is dead, for the Friar to rescue Juliet to be sheltered in the convent. Death being permanent, there is no reason it ought not be postponed. Another skit might show Juliet as an old woman in a convent advising a young woman in love and about to be married. If one is set to die, there is no reason not to die to our own lives and devote ourselves to wisdom, the service of God and humanity.

   St. Paul writes that when we are baptized, we are baptized into the death of the Christ (Romans 6:3-11):

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, surely we shall be certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ.

   This mystery of the tomb is the same as the mystery of the womb in the conversation of Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3: 3-10). What is born from the death of love is the rational essence, the imago Dei, reason in the full sense, and the analogies become apparent, or one has access to the intelligible. The mystery of Baptism is not only Christian, as Jesus says, are you a teacher of all Israel, and you do not understand this?” (3:10). Contrition is the invisible and natural change of which suicide is the visible and literalized error, suggested because it is symbolically similar. That is the hypothesis, at any rate, and seems at least an explanation for why the only rational animal would also be for the most part the only animal to kill itself

 

Heroic 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 rarity, difficulty and obscurity of the examples leaves material for the study, particular examples, difficult to find. In the study of lyric poetry, it is surprising how rare the happy love songs are, of the sort that one might play at weddings. “Dance Me to the End of Love” is one to conclude a reception. And one wonders if it is not true that the study of lyric poetry contains more knowledge of eros than all of modern psychology. But the examples of Shakespeare are rarefied even more than the examples in lyric poetry. Aristotle contrasts poetry and history by noting that poetry is more “philosophical” than history. Poetry, he might say, can show the principles which are almost always more obscure among the things that occur (Poetics, IX). But the things that do occur cannot be known without the activated archetypes, which proves to be a knowledge of the soul that is “in” every soul, in some awaiting recollection.

There may be some question too as to whether true love is a good thing. On the moment when Juliet “divines” here the “denouement,” Bloom (Love and Friendship, p. 282) writes:

   The illusion of eternal life and beauty, the delicious fleshy bodies that embrace and will never decay, is the opposite of the skeletons in the tomb. Shakespeare’s joining of the two in this play is what is most shocking about it, the contrast between the hopes of love and the reality of death. Perhaps he is teaching us that the eros for the beautiful is the hopeless attempt to overcome the ugliness of the grave, an attempt of the unwise to adorn a very questionable world.

Womb and tomb rhyme for love and tragedy, and love is, curiously, a return to the origins, first in the communion or bliss of the two, and then through death toward eternity. As the Friar said,

The earth, that’s nature’s mother, is her tomb

What is her burying grave, that is her womb

II,ii, 9-10

We do not know that the soul is immortal, and it makes no practical difference to any choice, but if Romantic love is an image of the singular soul in the noble or visible, the suggestion ascending from the soul is that the tales of immortal life are true.. We cannot know being directly, as the tradition of metaphysics tried to do, but can see the reflection in man that would not be there were it not that some great mystery is true.

   And some might argue that their love was less than true. The Elephant Man, in the play of that name, says quite persuasively 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. Bloom (Love and Friendship, 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.

Orpheus is overcome by the appearance, but true love, according to the Elephant Man, sees through the appearance, though then it would no longer be romantic love, but friendship or philanthropy, the love of man. The lover requires the wise man, perhaps, to get him through this narrow passage and live to tell about it. But while this, what the Elephant Man says, is true of a different sort of more human, adult love, we argue that romantic love or love between coupling couples in its essence occurs for those just about this age, and until the family is founded. 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 philos, like brotherly love or friendship. The New Testament does not speak of eros, but of philia, friendship, and also develops the word agape,[24] 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 even to friendship with God (Symposium 212, John 21:17) 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.

   It is this love, we say, too, that is somehow at the founding of the human family by nature, even at the point of their participation in the wonder of the creation of the following generation. Other forms of sexual love are derivative from the natural form. The mystery of love cannot be separate from the fundamental passion that joins humans into community, at the root of our political nature. While the family is much older than the city and even the village, human love presupposes and demonstrates our fundamentally political nature, as two join to found a community, by natural necessity for survival and succession. Men are not by nature solitary, but are joined through marriage to other families, and an unavoidable quilt of village and political relations. Even as sharing a meal or fire joins humans in friendship, and young ducks are imprinted to follow their caretakers, so sharing their very bodies and legacies binds and imprints humans at the root of the family, even to the surprise of casual romancers. One meaning of the word love, in addition to eros, refer to the bonds of the village and family, as the word is used in King Lear (and so the meanings become confused). The mysteries of human love and courtship have much to do with getting this right at the founding of the family. Eros is the longing of the soul for completion.[25] In romantic love, eros refers to our attraction, at best partly conscious, to that one with whom our soul knows it is right that we ought found a family, that complements our enterprises and indeed holds the secret to the future unfolding of our souls. Human intercourse or conjugation involves a mysterious fusion, resulting potentially in the strongest natural bond for humans excepting that between a mother and child. But, to combine Jung and Aristotle, the two together are like the male and female parts of the whole that it is the mind that governs the household, and this is related to the symbolic meaning of the crown. Within, the king and queen exercise political rule in relation to one another, royal rule in relation to the heirs and offspring, and despotic rule in relation to the beasts and instruments of action (Aristotle, Politics, I,  ). We suggest that the strange manifestations of human romantic love, and many other of our peculiar emotions such as jealousy, vanity and pride, begin to make sense against some such philosophic background, while these make no sense whatsoever on the basis of the modern principles ignoring the natural sociability of man. That all, or almost all of our psychology is set upon the basis of modern thought on man means that it will be impossible for our psychology to ascend in understanding love.

   A very interesting point arises in the understanding of sublimation in Rousseau. If the higher things in man are artificial additions to an animal nature, these are understood as created by the sublimation of frustrated sexual desire. But if Plato is right, and the higher things are especially by nature, then love might indeed be the beginning of an ascent along a natural gradient,[26] a ladder of love (Symposium, 211c). The image or imago, the phantasm of love, is understood as a “projection” from the unconscious of the lover, but it is also an experience of the intelligible, the beautiful.

   In Summary, then, again, 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, though our little loves have only a smaller part in this. True love is self sacrificing, if that is not the aim but only the after thought of loves devotion. And this may be why true love is shown in tragedy, or a historical action that does not go well. As Socrates and Jesus show philosophy and the way in an example of their being wrongly put to death, so Romeo and Juliet show love in a star-crossed fate or misfortune that leads to their deaths. It is tragic in that it is based on the flaws of love, but innocent in that these flaws could hardly be overcome by subjects so young. Shakespeare makes Juliet almost fourteen rather than sixteen for this reason, to emphasize the innocence of both. Though zealous in love, Romeo is remarkably moderate in his opinion of himself, though love itself awakens an inflation of the ego, as in Ferdinand. It is also significant that Romeo and Juliet are legally married, placing their love from this point above the authorities even in law, though not in history. The conflict is not between love and law, but between love and appearance, the legal power of the father to give his daughter caught up in appearance and the dark appetites of the family quarrel.

   Heroic love is romantic love in which the lovers overcome death for love. 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. Noble love thus partakes of something of the higher or natural heroic love. That they love beyond mortality is combined, in the crossed stars, with their youth and the limitation of love to appearance to lead to their deaths. 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. This is the truth of every love, and even the root of every marriage. While most do not realize it, what makes their lives successful is their marriage, and if this, or the home as a whole, goes badly, the rest is of little worth, or is dissolved.

   To symbolically overcome death is to overcome the principle of self-preservation by which all humans are originally weighted and bound to the earth. So the sacrifice is that 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. That is, the selfishness extends throughout the three parts of the soul, rather than appear as a precedence of one part over another. This may prove to be the appetitive root, which gives ends to or guides the reason in the uncultivated soul. All such selfish cares have a common root, what Allan Bloom calls “love of one’s own,”[27] 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.[28] The goal of eros by nature is agape.

   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. Romeo and Juliet demonstrate this symbolic truth literally, in the mime of drama, when their love leads to death in the tomb of Capulet. Similar things occur in the modern world, as in Sarajevo under siege, between factions of a civil war. But it need not be repeatedly demonstrated. These two show the truth of true romantic love at its most profound, and the argument is that this is the truth of every true 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 suggestion is that these things are divine, and that this conflict occurs when the divine appears in the world, among the family, the city, or indeed mankind.

   “Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command…” (John 15:13). That is the way of the cross, not that any need seek martyrdom. The Christian story or gospel is well known. Jesus follows a life 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. The crucifixion is not necessary, had we received him, but as a result of the circumstance, the Messiah dies for mankind. 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. Plato’s Socrates himself suggests that he replace Achilleus as the example in facing death, and compares his labors to those of Hercules (Apology, 22a-b). 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 for violating the law. 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, 28b). 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.[29] 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.[30] Only one need die for philosophy, but his death shows that there is truth and justice more important than self-preservation.

   It may seem peculiar to include Romeo and Juliet, or anything having to do with romantic love, in this group of heroes. Perhaps the hero is Love or the unity of the two, rather than the lovers individually, who fail to avoid disaster. Romeo kills two men, though he might be freed by arguing self defense in both cases, he surely fails in taking care of Juliet. The lovers themselves, it might be argued, look more akin to the irrational motive of Achilleus in the conquest of death than 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.[31] These forces turn a love story into a tragedy, slaying the love and the lovers in the tomb of Capulet. The result of the heroic sacrifice is a reconciliation, the end of the family hatred. “The wall is down which parted their fathers,” we are assured at the end of Pyramus and Thisbe love tragedy at the end of the Dream. We are left with a tragedy of a strange sort, of the innocence of youth, subjection to love, imprudence and some bad luck.

 

The End of Part I of Three Plays on Love and Rule

 

[   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.

 

X [  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 the few characters capable of knowing what he is doing in the fullest human sense– he is capable of making humans better.]

 

 

 

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 Suicide

Suicide is forbidden as a form of murder, which is forbidden because God made man in his image (Genesis 9:6). The Catholic teaching is of course that reflected in Dante, where suicides are denied salvation. Shakespeare raises questions about this regarding Juliet and Ophelia, and is explicitly concerned with the question of how to present the death scene. Suicide, we think, is sometimes intelligible as a failed or literalized contrition. There are many kinds of suicide, done for different reasons. Some are due to pain, some to despair or an inextricable circumstance but the romantic suicides are similar to the self-loathing suicides… Somehow the soul lacks access to the way of penance and salvation. It would not have been amiss, even after Romeo is dead, for the Friar to rescue Juliet to be sheltered in the convent. Death being permanent, there is no reason it ought not be postponed. If one is set to die, there is no reason not to die to our own lives and devote ourselves to wisdom, the service of God and humanity.

St. Paul writes that when we are baptized, we are baptized into the death of the Christ (Romans 6:3-11).

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, surely we shall be certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ.

This mystery of the tomb is the same as the mystery of the womb in the conversation of Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3: 3-10). What is born from the death of love is the rational essence, the imago Dei, reason in the full sense, and the analogies become apparent, or one has access to the intelligible. The mystery of Baptism is not only Christian, as Jesus says, are you a teacher of all Israel, and you do not understand this?” (3:10). Contrition is the invisible and natural change of which suicide is the visible and literalized error, suggested because it is symbolically similar. That is the hypothesis, at any rate, and seems at least an explanation for why the only rational animal would also be for the most part the only animal to kill itself.

   From a course called Regimes, at the University of Dallas in 1983, Leo Paul de Alverez commented on suicide in modern America, as a sudden doubling of the number had been reported. He considered the current “peace education, and that some things are worth fighting for,” as the world war II generation knew. While noting that education in temperance was long gone, he addressed our lack of education in courage. Citing Aristotle, he comments that education in courage involves habituation to the possibility of being in the front line, and hence, involves stories of battles. [Told by survivors, these give the impression that miraculous survival in battle is routine]. One form of suicide is due to a desire to escape pain, and is called a fundamental act of cowardice. High school students today have an immense concern with death. If they do not face war, it turns out they are soft about everything else. Having nothing worth dying for on the battlefield, they have difficulty finding what makes life worthwhile. If they do not face war, it turns out they do not want to face the pain of the erotic things.

 

Notes on The Taming of the Shrew

   The Taming of the Shrew is a play set in Padua and Verona within a play set in Warwickshire England, performed for Christopher Sly. The spectator, though, is never brought back to Warwickshire, but is simply left within the play performed for Christopher Sly. It seems, then, that the play is about the capacity of man for delusion, The spectator is left with the delusion that the obedience of Petrucio’s Katherine the Shrew is better than the liberty of Lucentio’s Bianca. Petruchio of Verona is very much like a relative or descendant of Mercutio. Unlike the philosophic Lucentio, Petruchio is martial, like King Henry V, and not a romantic, not a lover. Lucentio has come to Padua to institute a program of liberal studies, of virtue, of Aristotle and, Tranio adds, Ovid, or love. The statement is quite astonishing, as this is just what we say Shakespeare is up to. Lucentio tells Tranio he, the son of Vincentio the merchant of Pisa, has arrived in “fruitful Lombardy/ The pleasant garden of great Italy” to institute a course of learning and ingenious study, and so he is studying:

Virtue, and that part of philosophy

That treats of happiness

By virtue specially to be achieved.

(I,i, 18-20)

 

But first, he must overcome the political problem exemplified in Socrates and Xantippe (I,ii, 68-69): Philosophy cannot govern the irrational by persuasion, and it is unwilling to use force. The play, then, is about using the capacity of man for delusion to address the fundamental political problem, so that one might, in these most liberal Italian cities, introduce the best education, or, the liberal arts.

   Lucentio falls in love with Bianca, but must first overcome two inconsiderable competing suitors and the circumstance that she cannot, by the will of her father, be married until her elder sister the charming Kate is married.

It is at the home of Petruchio in Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, that the Shrew is tamed, the scene (IV, i) having shifted from Padua. From the start, Petruchio has used the true desire of the Shrew for a husband, and now has dragged her through trials until she loves him. As with the delusion of Sly, the obedience of Kate is a vast improvement. Her sorrow and envy of her sister were based upon this desire, more fundamental than her shrewishness, and the martial Petruchio is just the man to tame her.

PILLAGE [Introduction

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 Hellenic adultery in which a private desire is pursued 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, at least in the world without wise rule.

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.

   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 13 and 17, and theirs, we think, is true love.

 

 

 

   Heroic love is romantic love in which the lovers overcome death, or the fear of 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. Again, Romeo has got the girl and slain the villain by the center of the tragedy. But in the end of 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,” [38] 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.[39]

   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, nor something to advocate despite reason and truth, but something to nourish toward its own fulfillment, its own natural end. It is what we are given to tend. 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, or Israel, the nation, Socrates for Athens, and Romeo for Juliet, or to resolve the families. 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. So the three are the nation, the city and the family, and the structure of the drama that reveals their fundamental nature is similar in each particular.

    The goal of romantic love is the beginning of that in the individual which is beyond death.

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. 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.”[43]

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.

 

 

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 similar to the Freudian unconscious. It consists of repressed memories and unrecognized appetites, and so can be understood in terms corresponding to 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”[44]). 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.[45] 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.[46]

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,[47] 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.[48]

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 the way 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,[49] 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

In these matters, it seems, 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 what Jung discussed scientifically as 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 in 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.

 

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.[50] 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 too 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.

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.

 

[   Despite being historical,he names Romeo and Juliet are rather obviously related to Rome, and even to the Julian family name of Caesar, who even named his daughter Julia, and was himself named Julius from his ancient maternal family line (Plutarch, Life of Caesar). So the tragedy which, together with The Taming of the Shrew, begins the project of the Italian plays at the start of the career of Shakespeare, is somehow related to the tragedy of Rome, Empire, and the limitation of humans to appearance, which is the reason that human rule and human empire are essentially tragic. And this, like so many other human questions, turns out surprisingly to be revealed in the questions of romantic love.]

Two moths were stuck together on a window on the porch, unable to find their way out of human construction due to the illusion of the window. I caught them together, one in each hand, and releasing them, watched them flutter in circle dances as they ascended.

 

End of Part I of III

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

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]   Having arrived at the question of the nature of love, and with an eye to the resetting of the foundation of psychology, we will take up three plays of Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest. The study of the soul may require a mirror and an image, rarefied or extracted particulars through which the things of love and of the soul can be seen more clearly, somewhat as Plato’s Socrates uses the city in speech to see justice in the soul (Republic 368c-369b). Upon the virtues of these faculties depends the measure of dis-order or mal-function of the mind, as is the common object of our psychology, in addition to the disorders of character. Despite errors and organic frailties of various sorts, the faculties do exist, and though “abnormal” or unusual, embody the principles of psychology- the account or study of the soul. As with divination, the wonder is that we can see anything at all of these things, aiming toward a more complete understanding. It is no wonder if our account is partial, deficient or in error here or there.

[2] With the publication of Shakespeare’s Politics in 1956, the students of Leo Strauss began a new school of Shakespeare study and commentary, different from the literary criticism that went before. Shakespeare suddenly appears as a wise man and a Socratic political philosopher.

[3] 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. New York: New American Library, 1963, pp. 155-170. From Tragedy, a view of Life, by Henry Alonzo Meyers, 1956.

[4] Harry V. Jaffa, “An Interpretation of the Shakespearean Universe.” In Shakespeare as Political Thinker, edited by John Alvis and Thomas G. West, 1971, p. 282.

[5] Harry Jaffa, Ibid, p.  290. The school is composed of the students of Leo Strauss and their students, though Strauss wrote very little on Shakespeare (Natural Right and History, p. 133) his recovery of classical political philosophy shows the context in which to read the plays. “Prospero’s rule over Caliban is by nature just.” “Art presupposes nature, whereas nature does not presuppose art. Man’s “creative” abilities, which are far more admirable than any of his products, are not themselves produced by man: the genius of Shakespeare was not the work of Shakespeare…” (p. 92).

[6] Jaffa, Ibid,  p. 290.

[7]Howard B. White, Copp’d Hills Toward Heaven, pp.  ; de Alvarez, Poetry and Kingship, p. 161

[8] Bloom writes that Shakespeare “has no project for the betterment or salvation of mankind,” and this is true in the sense that he is not trying to remake man, as is elsewhere considered in modern philosophy. But Prospero distinctly says he has a “project,” which is to please, enchant and enforce, just like Shakespeare. His goal is contemplative, but there is a difference between an audience that leaves him imprisoned on the island and one that frees him, or receives him. Hamlet too reflects upon the project of the Globe theater, as a Shakespearean response to the circumstance of the Reformation, faced tragically by Luther.

[9] Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, (IV, p, 144 ). “The classic natural right doctrine, if fully developed, is identical with the doctrine of the best regime…”

[10] Eva Brann, in her Music of the Republic, and Jacob Klein, in his “On Plato’s Meno, cite Chaucer on the importance of the action of a Platonic dialogue. The place of Platonic philosophy in the late middle ages and modernity is in literature, among the poets such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Sydney, and possibly Petrarch. Pico and Ficino are Italian Platonists, responsible for the first modern translations. Natural and political science in modernity are anti-Socratic. Our psychology is set upon this pre- and anti- Socratic basis.

[11] The movie Shakespeare in Love presented Queen Elizabeth offering a prize or ordering the clearest depiction of the nature of love.

[12]   A reading paper is different from a thesis paper. Everything in a thesis should be related to the thesis. If the thesis is about Theseus, everything, the “that” and the “this,” should pertain to this or that about Theseus. A reading paper, or a book of commentary, is different in that while the one is a thesis, the other only has a thesis. Our purpose is to record every brilliant thought that occurs on each occasion in the text, doing a service to the great writers by reading them, and cultivating this reading, even while or where we are lacking a unifying thesis.  In this way, commentary is more like notes on the play, and one hopes these do not become random, at least to no purpose. One would hope the various themes and observations fit together, but this will not be a principle to stop us from our pleasant conversation, here among the written words, like light that has long left some planet you are just now seeing, though its source, even, may be no more, but indeed was as it is.

[13] I am sure I read this somewhere, perhaps in the Introduction to an edition of the Collected Works, read in a House Room, while traveling in Stratford, Ontario as a student in the eighties. We would hitchhike there and stay in the park, under bridges in the flower gardens, sleeping in the day, showering at the Y and reading in the Tim Horton’s coffee shop at night, seeing the plays we read performed.

[14] Harley Granville-Barker, in Twentieth Century Interpretations of Romeo and Juliet. ed Cole, p. 19

[15] “Verona, the History,” Renbel Travel, 2009-2012. It is likely that if the Capelletto family owned a thirteenth century house in Verona it is the Capulet’s home.

[16] Machiavelli, History of Florence, I. iv. Following Will and Ariel Durant (Vol. 4 The Story of Civilization), the conflict of Ghibbelines and Guelphs is the struggle between the German rulers of what became the “Holy” “Roman” “Empire” against the papacy in Rome for control of Christendom. Though the conflict is a couple centuries older, the names come from the early Twelfth Century, Guelph from Welf, the uncle of Duke Henry of Bavaria, who opposed the weak Hohenstaufen king Henry V. “High Staufen is a mountain castle and village in Swabia, and Waiblingen a village owned by the Hohenstaufens. Freidrich I, whose name means “Lord of Peace,” with blond hair and red beard, “carried in his veins the blood of both,” and proclaimed a Landfried or peace of the land, conciliated his enemies, quieted his friends, and sternly suppressed feuds, disorder and crime” (681-2). Aiming at Papal coronation, he yielded in a matter of protocol to Pope Hadrian IV, and from then “spoke of the Holy Roman empire in the hope that the world would consider the emperor, as well as the pope, the vicegerent of God.” He besieged and burned Milan in 1162, inspiring the Lombard League, including our key cities of the Lombardy plays, Milan, Verona, Mantua and Padua to restore the self government of the of the Italian cities. Toward the end of his career, “in 1180, the old Emperor led 100,000 men on the Third Crusade, perhaps hoping to unite East and West in a Roman Empire restored to its ancient scope” (p. 683). But the struggle between Ghibbeline and Guelph goes back  a few centuries further, at least to Otto I, and is implied in the invasions of Rome by the European tribes from 410, and the end of the Roman empire in 476 and the continuation of the Roman Papacy. Rome had only been Christian for about a century prior to the barbarian invasions, with the Christian emperors voluntarily subject to the Christian popes, who prior to 313 suffered ten horrendous persecutions. But…

 [17] Charles Norton, note to Dante, Purgatory, VI.

[18] H. B. Charlton, “Shakespeare’s Experimental Tragedy,” in Twentieth Century Interpretations of Romeo and Juliet, p. 59; From Senecan Tradition in Renaissance Tragedy.

[19] Petrarch, for example in “Great is my Envy of You” and “Go Grieving rhymes of Mine,” loves the deceased Laura as a saint or angel, and reminds of the vision of Juliet, and also of Romeo’s love of Rosaline. Dante’s Beatrice is similarly angelic, unlike the fertile and possible love of Romeo and Juliet, possible because it is according to nature.

[20] In Douglas Cole, Twentieth Century Interpretations of Romeo and Juliet, p. 101.

[21] 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. The word hero does not quite apply, as the lovers are lower than, say, Hercules, while Socrates is higher, though he himself suggests that the philosopher replace Achilleus (Apology, 28-29), due to his placid conquest of the fear of death.

[22] Symposium, 205d; 189e-193b. The symbol of Yin and Yang, with a bit of the other in each, represents the union of the male and female opposites.

[23] Leo Strauss, The History of Political Philosophy, p. 5.

[24] Agape and Philo are distinguished nicely at the close of the Gospel of John. Meeting Again before a charcoal fire, Peter is asked by the resurrected Jesus, “Simon, son of John, Do you love (agapas) me more than these? Peter answers, You know I love (philo) you, and Jesus tells him, “Feed my lambs” (John 21:17). One wonders what the Aramaic words would be, encompassing the subtle distinctions. The word agape is developed out of Homeric words for admiration and the beloved or the darling, the object of affection. Jesus then asks Peter, Do you love (Phileis) me? Peter answers, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (Philo) you.”. Jesus answers “Tend my sheep.” And a third time, “Do you love me!” And Peter answers, “lord, you know everything,; You know that I love you.” Jesus answes, “Feed my sheep” Three kinds of phronesis are distinguishable.Agape” goes with ” Feed my lambs” Then two kinds of friendship with the raised Son are first to tend his sheep. These are men, and this is politics. Third, there is to feed the adult sheep, the higher kind of education. The “friend of God,” and friendship with God is shown in three aspects, three kinds of phronesis. Friendship with God is written of by Socrates, in the Symposium ( ), and spoke of by Jesus (John 15:14). God apparently wants friends. Why be alone?

[25] Diotima teaches that love is not the longing for the other half, but rather, the desire to possess the beautiful forever, and hence, the desire for immortality (Symposium 205 d-e). The desire for immortality has a bodily, middle and mind manifestation, in our pursuits regarding progeny, fame and the offspring of the mind. We say that the whole which is the mind of love is also the nascent immortal soul, and that this is reason in the full sense. Like the New Testament, the ladder of love leads to the friend of God (212 a).

[26] Jung, Symbols of Transformation, p. 227.

[27] 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 the two approaches underlies the view of nature in which the present essay is embedded.

[28] 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, when many show themselves heroes. 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. Irving was no doubt aware that we were influenced by Campbell and Jung, and had heard us using words we did not understand, and, 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 that “in” love, he overcomes the opposition of the fear of death.

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

[30] 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.

[31] 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.

[32] The play must have been strange performed with a male as Juliet, and though it was the most thumbed in the First Folio, or most read, the play was, as I have read somewhere, not much performed before 1765.

[33] There are Platonic allusions identifying Socrates with love, as the spirit mediating between man and the divine, as by midwifery.  These are similar to the place in the Republic where Socrates says, “Well, here I am,…” Meno does not recognize the one who can teach virtue, in the sense in which this is possible, when he is right in front of Meno.

[34] A popular song says: “Easy livin’ / And I’ve been forgiven / Since you’ve taken your place in my heart.” Uriah Heap.

[35] “The Attainment of Happiness,” in Medieval Political Philosophy, ed. by Ralph Lerner and Muhsin Mahdi, p. 35.

[36] 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 the appearance 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

[37] 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.

[38] 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.

[39] 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.

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

[41] 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.

[42] 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.

[43] 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.

[44] 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.

[45] The functions of these can be seen in gender identification difficulties. It seems possible that trauma can cause the identification of the conscious personality with the unconscious gender character. One can become anima/ animus possessed, and Romeo calls his flaw effeminacy. Lovers also revert playfully to childlike characters, and enjoy the sight of one another as children.

[46] 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 (   ).

[47] 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.

[48] 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.

[49] 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.

[50] Aion, p. 25-29

Appendix: Comments to Takingthemaskoff:

We are sorry for the loss of Joe. Let him live on in our work, and play. Many things arise from your considering him, some deep theoretical things good for their own sake as well as for the practice of trying to help one another. You say: “We have it reversed. It is not the self that needs to die, it is the I… our false self, the mask.” We Jungians are grooving here, because you’re getting at what he calls the “persona” and its relation to the “ego.” Then you cite Eckhart. Here’s the thing: one often suspects that suicide is related symbolically to the sacrifice involved in penance that leads to the mystery of rebirth. That is why the teaching that is forbidden is so important: When the soul comes to this place, and looks up to the Most High, it can find forgiveness, and enter the sacrifice symbolically rather than literally. Suicide, then, is, in some kinds, a literalization of the self sacrifice involved in the mystery of baptism. This is as in Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Chapter 6: [read this:1-14…] So, it is the “old self,” which includes the persona, but is a bit deeper: the cause of the persona, our self-interested or appetitive nature. When we realize that we are indeed not fit to be in the Presence, but that we are forgiven if we ask, we are able to stand naked before the Lord, and enter the pool. The sacrament has an invisible meaning. The nature of the soul bears witness to the truth of the Christ. We wear a mask when we consider ourselves, because the law convicts us, of sin in general as well as in particular. “Original sin” refers to this Old Adam nature and the division between law and sin that leaves the soul under a painful strain, the very strain relieved by drugs. (We like the old home remedies like a beer or wine in the evening, if one can avoid addiction, and note that there is a reason that people smoke.) But the impulse to this, the birth of the true self, leads some to think and imagine literally hurting and killing themselves, which we should not literally do.
This is the image of God in man, and so we die and are raised with the Christ, and without the Way, would not on our own be able. So with prayer “the spirit intercedes” (Romans 8:26). But the image of god in man is also what is born, and is the cause of the law of Noah at Genesis 9:6, the reason for the law against murder as well as for the law against adultery, or the laws governing both anger and lust: “since God made man in his image…” The same is the stone, and the basis of any true psychology, our access to “metaphysics” and the archetype of the political regimes, it is what the legislators look to in legislating. Its fulfillment is the crown, the royal virtue of one able to govern man with the intention to cure.
But as for the contrast between friendship and professional help, some interesting questions arise here. We need a footnote to Pete Townshend’s Quadrophenia, “The Doctor,” and to the character of the Doctor in Shakespeare’s King Lear. The kind of professional help that prescribes “Zoloft” et al, after a fifteen minute interview, and perhaps “Abilify” after a follow up, gaining certain benefits from the manufacturer, this is like an abomination to the “profession.” Because, oh, we are trying to imitate the hard sciences of chemistry and biology, we assume that all human things have biological, or chemical, or behavioristic, or economic or physical or sociobiological or neurological causes? A true friend might rather proscribe the non-toxic, if mildly addictive organic marijuana, and share some beer and a pizza, as send one there for “professional” help! Depression has a psychological function: it aims at change, because something is not right. If we dull the depression with drugs, do we not frustrate nature in our souls? And are these druggings related to an increase in violent episodes or public crises? No one has commissioned such a study? A true profession is like a trade, based on knowledge. Show us then the knowledge of man! And the way across the water! Professionals help by providing objectivity that is outside of friendship while at the same time being a friend considering the odd circumstance of “therapy.” They also have experience, and may have refined common sense, as well as the authority to keep people safe in a crisis. But while more public help is needed, psychiatry must be more humble, or more honest about its ignorance. Its function is first practical, to keep people safe and provide a place to heal, as in the true meaning of “asylum.” Not a lobotomy, as for Rose Kennedy, to make her stop talking so inconveniently. But the function of the psychiatric profession is unlike the rest of medicine because we do not have knowledge of the soul the way that physicians have a science of the body. The royal knowledge eludes us, though we can appeal to it, and try our best. I am now trying to study David, who played the lyre to make Saul well when the latter was in bad spirits. Our dreams may help us because the soul itself contains knowledge. For some, the liberal arts can fill the radical emptiness of the soul in the modern world, and the integration of knowledge from the unconscious counters the splitting of the “phrene” called “schizophrenia.” In this sense virtue is the health of the soul, virtue is knowledge or wisdom, and virtue also is happiness in the fullest sense, the first principle of the true psychology.

Note A: Heart’s Ease [From The Paradise of Dainty Devices, Oxford University Press: London, Humphrey Milford

[57.] In commendation of Mustek.

Here gripyng grief the hart would wound & dolfull domps the oppresse
There Musick with her siluer soud, is wont with spede to giue redresse,
Of troubled minde for euery sore, swete Musick hath a salue therfore. 5

In ioye it maks our mirth abound, in grief it chers our heauy sprights,
The carefull head release hath found, by Musicks pleasant swete delights
Our sences, what should I saie more, are subiect vnto Musicks lore.

The Godds by Musick hath their praie, the foule therein doeth ioye,

For as the Romaine Poets saie, in seas whom Pirats would destroye, 10

A Dolphin saued from death moste sharpe, Arion plaiyng on his harpe.

A heauenly gift, that turnes the minde, like as the sterne doth rule the ship,
Musick whom the Gods assignde to comfort man, whom cares would nip,
Sith thou both ma & beast doest moue, what wiseman then wil thee reproue.

Finis M Edwards. 1 5

Comment  2:

Juliano esponding to someone else, says:

Don’t let guilt destroy you. You were very concerned about your daughter and those strange men. Imagine how you would have felt if anything had happened to her? So you were being responsible.

My very first LSD trip when 15 years old featured profoundly seeing peoples (they weren’t tripping. I was at a party and three hippies had given me the LSD, and I had not known what the tiny tiny pill even was!) body language so deeply I was seeing behind their masks! I found this absolutely hysterical and nearly died giggling

The next trips took away the mask of this civilization which dulls us to the natural world via its ‘education’ enforced propaganda, and its mass media. Even at that young age I had become dulled to nature and threw litter at it–sure sign of disrespect, and disconnection–and was absolutely obsessed with my image of big cities, neon, flyovers, skyscrapers, crowds of mean people! I heard a story that in NYC when a person falls over people just stop over them, and that excited me. So I was not only being dulled but was being bred with a growing sadistic streak. THAT is what this culture does to people

I do not think people generally understand the enormous trauma which has happened to us being divided from our own natures, and the natural world! But that is what is happening. Many people made to think of themselves reduced to consumer-robots without free will. if THIS is not the roots of dis-ease I don’t know what is!! Previous to this, and which is part OF the insanity was the religious indoctrination of a ‘soul born in sin’ into a ‘fallen nature’ brought about ny our first ancestor’s sin against ‘God’.

All of this goes deep into us. We are not just rational beings, but more deeply creative, imgainative mythical mysterious beings, and in extreme states which this cultre alls ‘mental illness’ tthe individual can find themselves in mythical realms (have you read John Weir Perry’s Trials of the Visionary Mind ?) And these myths which have been used by control freak elites to divide and control us have an unconscious effect. This is why I explore all about

I even critique Jungianism. Usually Jung is supposedly the name that pops up regarding ‘depth psychology’, but Jungians also are usually apolitical and classist. Similar to how you saw one rule for you who had money and support and far less for your friend. Well Jugnianism is like that

What we NEED is not ‘experts’ but grass roots community understanding. A multi-disciplinarian approach that looks at ALL the masks of the patriarchy and how they contribute to the insanity of this world. Question, question, question is what I encourage

Liked by you and 2 other people

  • Question question question is right

    You are right we are divided from our true nature. Who we are is told to be hidden. This is the result of all of that.

    This comment was beyond brilliant

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hi! Try Lao Tzu, the Tao te Ching, 81 short poems. Also, Plato’s Euthyphro and Apology and Meno. These are very easy to read compared to mod psych lingo. The highest writers, like St. John in his gospel, suddenly become very simple, like Lao Tzu. Jung is pretty hard to criticize, (but it is possible). Christianity has a false appearance in the world, which people accidentally hate. Original sin? Penance is deeper than deeds or particular actions. Therefore….See Plato’s Meno. It is a sin to strike the image of God that is man, and this includes ourselves, because we did not make ourselves and do not own ourselves. Socrates says it’s like if one of your servants ran away from his service, how would the owner feel (slavery was different then, not so race based, etc. Nor is jung race stuff, though people misunderstand the collective psyche stuff, so perhaps to these we should not speak openly.) So, Socrates’ point is that our lives have a purpose beyond ourselves, and in fact, for ourselves, it is sort of neutral whether we continue, especially a very painful life. “The un-examined life is not worth living” is a Socratic saying, and a lot of our psychological agony is a natural impulse to lead an examined life. We goofy people are at least awake or awakening, if we can be calm and careful! But it is not about ourselves or serving our own comfort, but serving God by tending the garden, eh?, like Adam was placed in the garden “To till and keep it.” Again people do not read Genesis because of the appearance in the world made by people who use God for their own authority and gain, but also never read it very carefully. Like we want God to serve us, rather than us serve God! “Oh gimmie a Mercedes Benz!” Don’t believe me, believe Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, side two of Aqualung! Careful reading is very hard, takes longer than our whole lives, but is most worthwhile. Try it! And yes, question, question question.

       With people on the edge, it is important to remind of our purpose. I even take care of myself for my cats, because if I died, say, got plugged on the highway, who would open the cat food cans?

       Like the message to Scroodge in a Christmas Carol, he is shown what would happen to Cratchet’s kid if he does not change. This is real. God is not a willful puppeteer of the universe to be blamed for malice and misfortune. That guy is more like Zeus painted with Biblical images. Again, read, (here Luke 13:1-5; the word will is not in the Greek at “not a sparrow falls to the ground…but is a mis-translation, based on a misunderstanding. It just says “without your Father”, i.e., his presence).” We have to do it, and the whole world might even be so that we learn to till and keep it, the Garden of the Lord that we do not own, and again, did not make.

    Peace-Love and blessings to you!