2.27.2014

|Socratic Seminar Reflection| Romeo and Juliet: Act 3

I found this socratic seminar to be especially enlightening. A point we brought up was the way how Shakespeare has flipped the connotations of day and night as now night is seen as a happier time of day than the daytime to Juliet. We had alot of theories of why Shakespeare would switch these two words around, however one that stuck out to me was Leo's point on how Romeo and Juliet's love led them to darkness. Romeo and Juliet can only meet up in the night because the darkness hides them from getting discovered. Without their relationship, Romeo and Juliet would have no reason to stay up during the night so in a sense, it is their love for each other that led them to hid out in the darkness. If we use the previous negative connotation of night, then this whole flipping situation could be Shakespeare trying to convey that love leads to danger and death. With this theme of reversals, we also noticed how Romeo and Juliet's roles are switched in their relationship. Although Juliet is the woman, she is the one taking control of the relationship while Romeo just goes along for the ride.

Furthermore, another observation we raised in the discussion was how love changes people. We took not of Juliet's maturing ways because she seems more independent than before as she doesn't rely on the Nurse to tell her what to do with her life as much as she did before. Yet a character that hasn't seemed to show any development is Romeo. He is still as dramatic and pitiful as before as displayed in the scene where he sobs on the ground and asks Friar Lawrence to fix his problems for him. Or point was that since Romeo hasn't changed then he doesn't actually love Juliet because love is supposed to change people.


An area I found confusing was whether Romeo and Juliet's relationship is an act of love or lust. Previously I have always seen their actions to be more lustful than loving. However this discussion made me question if they might have actually had true feelings for each other. If their relationship was purely based off love then Juliet would not have urged Romeo to leave in case he gets caught even when she wanted to stay by his side. If Juliet did not care for Romeo she would not have cared if he got caught or not.


Overall, this discussion was definitely one of our better ones because not only were alot of new ideas brought up but we also debated over different views on certain questions.

2.25.2014

|Reading Log| Romeo and Juliet: Weako and Imprudent

A response to Act 3 Scene 2 and Scene 3

The scenes following Romeo's banishment further higlights how messed up Romeo and Juliet's relationship is. For one, both Romeo and Juliet think death would be better than Romeo's banishment. The fact that there is an oppurtunity to see each other is but restrictions prevent them from meeting each other is seems to be too much for both Romeo and Juliet to handle. They either have to be together happily married in Verona or be together in death. If you consider the fact that Romeo and Juliet have only met each other the other day and are in the third hour of their marriage, the way they are unwilling to separate from each other is creepy. I mean they've only known each other for a day and now they are willing to give up their lives and harm their family name in order to be in a relationship that is 99% lust and 1% love. 

However if you look at what these two scenes revealed about Juliet's character, their actions seem to be somewhat explained. This is because Juliet is a imprudent girl who does not understand the consequences of her actions so she makes a lot of rash decsions. For example, she stated Romeo's banishment "is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet, all slain, all dead." (3.2.133) In other words, the exile of her beloved is equivalent to not only the death of her family but also the death of herself and Romeo. Any person in their right mind would not compare their family's death to a person's expulsion. On the other hand, Romeo is not much better. Crying about your punishment and separation from your lover is acceptable but when you cry so much that you are lying on the ground and relying on someone else to fix your problems for you is not acceptable, especially when you're a full-grown man. So now we have two people, one who doesn't value the lives of her family and another who can't do anything for himself in a relationship. There is really only one direction this relationship can go, and that is towards doom (and in the end death!)




2.21.2014

|Reading Log| Romeo and Juliet: The Start of the End

What are your thoughts on 3.1?

The first scene of Act 3 was very intense in terms of what happens plot wise. I mean we have the death of two people, the fleeing of Romeo, and the Prince's descision to banish Romeo from Verona. 

I found the death of the Mercutio and Tybalt to be quite sudden or at least unexpected. However, their deaths mark the beginning of the real problems that are about to come Romeo and Juliet's way. The tension between the two househoulds are definitely at an all time high because of the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio. To add on to the tension, no one knows where Romeo is because he ran away after he slayed Tybalt. If he were to come back (which he isn't allowed to because the Prince banished him) the Capulets would be sure to avenge for the death of their kinsman. From the scene you can already tell Romeo and Juliet are doomed for because Romeo is as good as dead and even if he weren't dead there would be no way the Capulets would approve of their relationship.
Stop in the name of love

Maybe this scene was a just a little teaser of what will come later, as we know Romeo and Juliet both die a bloody death later on.

2.18.2014

|Socratic Seminar Reflection| Romeo and Juliet: Act 2

I found this times discussion much more succesful in sharing ideas because of the new format we tried out. For all of our previous seminars we had people raise their hands before they could talk. In this discussion we decided to ditch the hand raising and opened up the floor for anyone who wanted to talk to speak. Of course there were moments where two people tried to talk at the same time but this new method of discussion was more effective in connecting ideas to other people's replies instead of jumping around from topic to topic like we normally did. One area I could work on personally is participating more during this discussion I didn't talk as much I did during previous seminars. Another way I could improve our discussion is by raising questions. Since we are no longer given a list of guiding questions to base our discussion off of, there are alot of pauses in our discussions because we do not know what we are going to talk about next. Furthermore, most of our questions are raised by only one person (trusty Leo) which is dumping alot of responsibility onto him. So I could pitch in effort to think of questions while reading and bring them up in our next discussion. 

2.12.2014

|Reading Log| Romeo and Juliet: Whirlwind Romance

What song would you use to describe their relationship?

As the song's title suggests, I have managed to find the most perfect song to describe Romeo and Juliet's whirlwind romance: "WhirlwindRomance" by Steel Pulse. So below I've taken 5 promising lines from the song that pretty much sum up  Romeo and Juliet's relationship.

1. Pretty lady standing there
    I'm telling you that you're looking fair
    Cause I've got my eyes on you

This is exactly the way Romeo and Juliet meet. Romeo sees Juliet standing alone at a party and finds her exceptionally beautiful. 
2. I can tell by the way you stare
    Romance is in the air

As Romeo stated in Act 2 Scene 2 Line 12 he says "[Juliet] speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that? Her eye discourses; I will answer it." In other words, Romeo can tell from Juliet's eyes that she loves him. Just like this song. 

3. I'm living out my fantasy

Romeo and Juliet are both living out a fantasy by continuing their relationship. There are so many factors stopping them from being together (mostly the family feud) but they still decide to get married. Their love was basically doomed before it even started so their dream for finding love is so overwhelming Romeo and Juliet manage to continue their relationship.

4. Gimme your heart and I'll
    Give you my love

In their famous balcony scene, Juliet only agrees to marry Romeo after he vows that he truly loves her. This line of the song also reminds of the part where Juliet asks him to give up his name so they can be together. By giving up his name, Romeo, in a sense, is showing his true love for Juliet because his name is what gives him status in society. By giving that up, he is choosing Juliet over his wealth and social standing. 

5. I just want to be your man
   And make sweet love to you
 

Throughout this story we question if Romeo and Juliet are feeling love or lust. Currently, Romeo is probably leaning more towards the lust side. There have been many incidents when he has stated he wished to sleep with Juliet. For example, Romeo openly insulted virgins because “none but fools do wear” the “vestal livery” that the maidens of Diana wear. (2.2.8) From his disdain for virgins we can infer that he definitely will not accept his love being a virgin.



2.10.2014

|Reading Log| Romeo and Juliet: Friar Lawrence

Write a blog post about Friar Lawrence.

Friar Lawrence seems to be a sophisticated and peace loving man. His sophistication can be seen through the eloquence of his soliloquy when he first enters the scene. Not only was his speech in perfect iambic pentameter, Friar Lawrence manages to explore his thoughts on man's evil nature. However the way he describes human nature as "the worser is predominant" (2.3.30) shows his negative view on human beings. This can also be seen when he says "young men's love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes." (2.3.71) He basically states that all men do is "love" with their eyes instead of loving from their heart which is a pretty pestimistic view on love (even if it's true). And maybe that is why he agrees to wed Romeo and Juliet because he wants to promote moral behaviour in society. Friar Lawrence states himself that the only reason he agreed to help Romeo is because he wants to "turn [their] households' rancor to pure love." (2.3.99) In other words, by bringing Romeo and Juliet together, he is hoping to end the feud between the families and bring peace and love to both households (although his act of agreeing to marry the two lovers will eventually lead to their death - but he doesn't know this yet).
I have found the secret to peace in society!


2.09.2014

|Socratic Seminar Reflection| Romeo and Juliet: Act 1

A new idea I came across during our Socratic Seminar was the way the Capulets were portrayed as more agressive people than the Montagues. Apparently this was used to highlight Juliet's gentle ways by contrasting the other Capulet's reckless behvior. Part of that is true as the Capulets seemed more into the fight than the Montagues in Act 1 Scene 1 where they battled it out in the middle of Verona and there is also Tybalt's aggresive nature towards Romeo when Romeo appeared at Capulet's party. However, a person other than Juliet that doesn't seem to fit in the aggressive mold of the Capulets is Sir Capulet himself. When Romeo and his crew arrived at the party, Capulet was the one telling Tybalt to calm down and just let Romeo be because of his reputation around town. If Sir Capulet were to follow the normal aggressive Capulet ways he would have been the one urging Tybalt to kick Romeo out of the party.

Furthermore, we talked about the fact how women seemed to have more power in this play as compared to normal Elizabethan society at that time. Although this may be true because Lady Capulet was the one to stop Sir Capulet from taking his sword and joining the fight with the Montagues, women are still seen as objects in  Verona. I mean the play opened up with men joking around about sleeping with women. And dirty language used against women is evident throughout the whole act, in fact Lady Capulet even hints so herself.


This being our first socratic seminar without any guiding or discussion questions to help us out I think we did a fairly good job as a class.

|Reading Log| Romeo and Juliet: The Reckless

How did 2.1 and 2.2 change or cement your views on Romeo and Juliet?

Romeo and Juliet's interactions in 2.1 and 2.2 further exposes their rash characters. For example, Romeo decides to camp out in front of Juliet's balcony during the night and just wait for her to come out so he can catch a glimpse of her. Now, there are may issues regarding this ruthless act. One big question is how did he even find know where Juliet's room is? I mean, he knows where she lives because he crashed Capulet's party but how did he manage to find out where her room was located. And even Juliet was a bit confused because one of the first things she said to him was "'[how] camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?'" Or in other words, how did you find me and why are you here. 

Furthermore, it shows Romeo's reckless behaviour because he didn't even stop to think about the consequences of his actions if he were to be caught at Capulet's house in the middle of the night creeping on Juliet as she spoke to herself on her balcony. As Juliet stated if the Capulets saw him "they will murder thee." And Romeo being the romantic Romeo he is, says that if her eyes "look thou but sweet" he will be "proof against their enmity." Not only is he putting way too much faith into love, or a love that is most likely going to fall apart quickly, he is also putting a lot of trust into Juliet because he trusts her too look at him with sweet adoring eyes. Both which are not the smartest moves to pull. Juliet is perfect for Romeo because she also has the same impulsive behaviour as Romeo. At their second meeting she basically agrees to marry Romeo as a symbol of her love for him. Normally, a kiss or a simple "I love you" would do the job but Juliet just decides to give her hand in marriage because she loves Romeo that much.

Juliet needs to get her priorities straight.



2.03.2014

|Reading Log| Romeo and Juliet: How to Pick Up a Girl with Religious Metaphors

What are your impressions of Romeo and Juliet so far? Did anything surprise you about these characters in 1.5?

Romeo seems like a typical 14th century man of Verona. He falls in love quickly but falls out of love just as fast. I mean, before stepping into Capulet's party, Romeo was still depressed about his unrequited love with Rosaline and was questioning if he should crash the party or not. Yet, once he lays eyes on Juliet, his star in the dark, dark world, he drops his feelings for Rosaline immediately and decides to love Juliet instead. He even claims he has "ne'er saw true beauty till this night" 1.5.60, which shows how easily he can forget Rosaline. Juliet, on the other hand, is not much better either. After one kiss (okay maybe more than one), Juliet decides she would rather die than be married to someone who is not Romeo. What is weird is the way Romeo courted Juliet. He practically stole a kiss from her using religious pick up lines. What is even weirder is Juliet liked it, in fact, she even encouraged it by replying in even more complex religious metaphors. 
Can't take Romeo's smoothness anymore

From the speed their relationship is moving, it is fair to question if their "love" is lust or true love. Based on the fact that they barely know each other and the only words they have exchanged are religious metaphors about pilgrims and hands I think it is safe to say their relationship is based off of more lust than love. Romeo claimed he "loved" Rosaline but he threw that away once he saw Juliet. Furthermore, Juliet is only thirteen years old. Does she actually feel love is or is she in love with the idea of love? All around her, girls her age are getting married and starting famlies so being relationships is the social norm. Therefore, maybe Juliet feels it is her turn to find a husband and is  infatuated with the thought of having a husband instead of actually being infatuated with her husband. Yet, the conversation they shared was probably the most perfect unplanned conversation between two strangers ever. Romeo starts sprouting lines about hands and pilgrims and Juliet somehow understands what he means and replies in equally confusing language. If that is not impressive, there is also the fact that their whole conversation is a sonnet, fourteen perfect lines of romantic religious banter. The way their first and at this point, only, conversation fit together so well could be a sign from the heavens that they were meant to be. 

Romeo and Juliet a.k.a How to Pick Up a Girl with Religious Metaphors


 

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