[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] Romeo and Juliet – Not REALLY in Love? //A RANT + Discussion//

It seems to me that the most common notion around Romeo and Juliet is that they were not REALLY in love; that it was just a result of their raging hormonesa pure infatuation.

I have to ask, what love is NOT based on a mutual desire to be with each other? IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE?! It seems to me that this is said purely for argument’s sake. ”They were NOT in love” makes you sound a bit cooler maybe? MORE ADULT? More in control of what you call ”foolish urges”?

Love is subjective – it can mean different things to different people. And you need to take into account the setting, the nature of the medium through which Romeo and Juliet’s love is portrayed and ,of course, their age. Don’t tell me that you never knew any couple in your teenage years whose romance – although started as soppy and rather cringey – later blossomed into a complete and mature love?

Passion is the same at any age. And if the argument is based on the fact that they seemingly fell in love at first sight, well DID YOU REALLY EXPECT SHAKESPEARE TO WASTE SCENES UPON SCENES ON COURTING? Would that have satisfied you? And more importantly, would that have made for an interesting read, do you think? A play is a play for a reason – it skips over the parts that would normally happen in a novel, for a very obvious reason – NOBODY wants to watch those normal and rather boring tidbits happening on a stage. WE JUST WANT THE GOOD PARTS. And that’s precisely why most of Shakespeare’s couples seem to fall in love so soon – sometimes within a matter of hours. THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEIR LOVE ANY LESS REAL.

Another point that ”mature” readers seem to make is that most of the decisions that Romeo and Juliet make throughout the play are childish. WELL, OF COURSE THEY ARE CHILDISH! Juliet is 13 for God’s sake. And Romeo is still just a teenager as well – DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT EVERY SINGLE PRO AND CON OF EVERY SINGLE DECISION? I don’t.

And anyway, it’s not a childish play. It’s a play ABOUT childishness. It’s a play about a pure notion that a passionate love can surpass anything – even hatred. And it DOES. The families are left wrecked with guilt in the end. Tell me, wasn’t their hatred a bit childish as well? Didn’t they take it too far, way too far?! There was absolutely NO NEED – NO NEED whatsoever – for the family feud to continue. And yet it did. Their hate stemmed from reasons lost to time. WASN’T THAT CHILDISH AS WELL?

Romeo and Juliet’s love was pure, passionate, and naive – and it could have been SO MUCH MORE. That’s what makes their story even more tragic – two lovers with a rather happy life ahead of them doomed to die. WHY? Because their families couldn’t put aside their stupid hatred.

In the end, if anyone was REALLY childish – it was R+J’s parents because THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ADULTS! Their children’s actions are justifiable but their own? NOT A CHANCE.

For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.


ANDDD…RANT OVER!
*Phew*
I am sorry I just HAD to say it! So many adult fans out there who think they are somehow above the beautiful, if a bit naive, love story that Romeo and Juliet shared!

What about you though?
Do you think theirs wasn’t a real love?
What’s your stance?

LET’S TALKKK!!!


[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] How-To: Criticize Your Lover Poetically// Shakespeare’s Guide to Tough-Love//

[Note: This guide is only meant for skilled writers. If you are a commoner looking to woo your girl, I’d suggest you check out Mr. Collins’ guide instead.]

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 holds a special place in my heart. Mainly because it was my life’s first one. And it wasn’t even by choice. You see I was sitting in the library – avoiding my Political Science lecture (I hated that teacher ugh) – when I decided to bide my time going through the books available there. While mindlessly searching for something I didn’t even want, I came across this cute, little hardcover titled – ”Shakespeare’s Sonnets” I immediately checked it out. And let me tell you IT HAD SOME OF THE MOST GRAPHIC IMAGES I HAD EVER LAID EYES ON! xD

Well, needless to say, I spent the whole period – 40 minutes- reading and re-reading random sonnets. And Sonnet 130 was the one that stood out to me the most.

But it wasn’t until I came across it again the other day that I realized Shakespeare was actually trying to teach us something through it’s medium and I had been blind to it this whole time: *gasps*

THE ART OF TOUGH-LOVE 🖤

This realization was immediately followed by an overwhelming urge to share it with everyone else, so that, FINALLY Shakespeare can rest in peace, knowing that we have grasped the hidden meaning now.

So, without further ado, let’s begin.

Prepare a List

Love is blind – until one day isn’t. There will come a time in your life when the magic will wear off and your girl’s inner Janice will start to show – with her weird hair and annoying laugh.


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You may choose to let those rather unbearable quirks slide at first but after a while, they may become too much to ignore. They almost always do.

In such cases as these, the very first thing you gotta do is MAKE A LIST OF EVERYTHING YOU FIND ANNOYING ABOUT YOUR PARTNER and make it as extensive as you can.

🌸 Dull Eyes? Check.
🌸Reeking Breath? Check.
🌸Pale cheeks? Check.
🌸 Wiry Hair? Check.
🌸 An unappealing Complexion? Check.

Comparisons are CRUCIAL.

As you must know already, the perfect woman must be the very embodiment of mother nature:

Her eyes as bright as the sun,
Her breasts plump and her complexion fair,
Her hair flowing, and her aroma rare.

Ever Man’s Fantasy

She must be delicate like a flower – rosy cheeks and soft to touch. Her voice should have the tenor of a goddess speaking from the heaven itself. 

All of these things should a woman possess and since YOUR lover doesn’t even come CLOSE to these standards, you are going to have to make some comparisons to hint it, in a not so subtle way.


Compose a Love-Poem

Now that you have gathered the basic material, you may find that it seems rather harsh, doesn’t it?

Well, our Shakesy has the perfect solution for your dilemma. You see, if you wanna soften the blow on your rather plain lover, you gotta compile your complaints and comparisons into a well structured love poemaka a sonnet.

Shakespeare was well practiced in the art of writing these sneaky little poemswritten to woo them girls apparently! And so, you MUST take some inspiration from his previous works to write the perfect sonnet. Also pay attention to how he cloaks his criticism with two rather conveniently placed sentences of flattery in the very end of his sonnets.

Now if you do the right amount of research and practice, your complaints should take the following form:

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
   And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
   As any she belied with false compare.

Sonnet 130

Brilliant, isn’t it?

Now all that’s left for you to do is to –

Show it to your Lover.

And then you wait.

Wait for her as she opens the envelope in pure excitement.
Wait for her as her gaze falls on the very first line of the poem.
Wait for her as her eyebrows get furrowed and her eyes turn misty.
Wait for her as her sadness turns into pure rage.
Wait for her as her blood starts to boil and her teeth start to tatter.
Wait for her as she looks at you – not with the emotion you had expected (what DID you expect anyway?) but with rage.

AAANNDDD…

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Yep, there it is. YOUR ULTIMATE REWARD FOR YOUR SEEMINGLY “tough love”

Lesson?

Steer clear of the Shakesy guy, people. He’ll drown your love-boat more ruthlessly than the fucking iceberg that drowned Titanic. *shrugs*

I TOLD YOU! This was his main intention behind writing this sonnet! We were just too dumb to see it. MAN! I love him and his abilities to surprise us DECADES after his death.

But tell me, did you like his tips?
Would you like to refine it by adding some of your own? This is your chance. Share some of your ”tough-love” tips + experiences in the comments so that the rest of can benefit from them as well! 😉

Until Next time,

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] The Inventor of Words, Writer of Tragedies, Master of Flattery – SHAKESPEARE

The man who gave us –

Hopeless lovers,
Stubborn shrews,
Witless men, and
Witches too.

YES! It’s BARD MONTH over here at THE WITHERING and you are all invited to celebrate it with me.

Shakespeare and I go way back because my love for him sprouted from a deep-rooted hatred!

I wasn’t all that little when my mum went to Penguin’s and got me a copy of King Lear – it was white, it was little, IT WAS DOWNRIGHT BORING. It seemed boring at least. I have been judging books by their cover since 2005 so, of course, I treated this little copy like a bad smell – avoiding it at all costs.


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I was already reading classics and that’s where my mother got the inspiration to introduce me to the sneaky Bard. But this time she had miscalculated. I hadn’t read a single play up until that point and I was very prejudiced about them.

For some reason, I had developed a strong belief that reading a play wouldn’t get me the kind of satisfaction that comes from reading a novel. BUT BOY WAS I ABOUT TO BE PROVED WRONG!

Mumma started getting strict with me about reading King Lear, and I don’t respond that well to pressure. So I defied, WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT. In response, she took away EVERY SINGLE OF MY BOOKS – except, of course, that rather ugly copy of King Lear.

You see, apart from playing out with friends in the evening and arguing with my brother all day long, I didn’t have much else to do. Summer holidays had already started so no school either.

In short, I was stuck – between reading something I despised or increasing argument time with my brother.

Naturally, I chose the former. The first few pages were – TORTURE, for want of a better word. I hated it – the old man and his three daughters. I HATED THEM. I HATED THEIR GUTS, I HATED EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING in that book. But that was about to change. As the play progressed, I found myself furrowing my eyebrows less and less.

How desperately had King Liar tried to be a FAMILY MAN and how pathetically had he failed!

It was a journey of mixed emotions – frustration prevailed, but so did anger (for his daughters), anticipation, hopelessness, and an unexpected burst of sadness when, in the end, King Lear dies of a broken heart.

Over the years, although I forgot the story a few scenes were still very clear in my memory like when Lear – stricken with the realization that none of his daughters want him – runs out of their house, wanders in the snowstorm – cold and all alone! I don’t know why but that scene – the way I pictured it back then – is still stuck in my mind and sends chills up my spine whenever I think of it.

My adoration for Shakespeare crept up on me stealthily and left me craving for more. I was genuinely surprised by how my views about his writing had changed – from aversion to love – all in a matter of a few pages.

I went on to read his sonnets, Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, and THEN Romeo and Juliet. I was introduced to the rest when I started my Honors three years ago and honestly? It isn’t as much fun reading Shakespeare critically as it was back in school – because back then my ideas, my imagination wasn’t muddied by all those opinionated writers, analyzing his works to their hearts content.

BUT HEYYY! Hang on there, Rain! You are going to do the same as well so away with your bashing. *grins* Yep. That’s true! I will twist and turn his works and present them in a way that’s enjoyable to everyone – literary and non-literary folks alike. Sound good? Okay then.

Here’s to an awesome Bard Month and to start it off on a more collective note, why don’t you guys share your experiences with Shakespeare in the comments?
Your first sonnet? First play? Your favorite one?
I WANNA KNOW EVERYTHING! So, let’s chat!