Romeo and Juliet and the Punning of Sex Based on scholarship by Stephen Greenblatt and Pauline Kiernan An analysis of 2.1 and 3.5
One path, two locations • Wordplay’s logic—no one word, one thing connection • Slippage in sound and meaning = possibilities
Comedy or Tragedy? • Tragic bawdiness • Plethora of sexual puns • One meaning-interpretations give unwarranted levity: subtext essential • Conversion of comedy to tragedy
Act 2, Scene 1: Mercutio’s Punning Mercutio I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes, By her high forehead and her scarlet lip, By her fine foot, straight leg, and quivering thigh, And the demesnes that there adjacent lie… Mercutio I c**t-jure you by Roasline’s bright c**t, by her high hymen and her scarlet clitoris, by her admirable rump, straight leg and wanking thigh, and the c**t and arse that there adjacent lie.
More Mercutio, More 2.1 Mercutio If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark. Now will he sit under a medlar tree And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit As maids call medlars when they laugh alone. O Romeo, that she were, O that she were An open arse, and thou a popp’rin’ pear. Mercutio If love be blind, he won’t be able to fuck the vagina. He’ll sit under a medlar tree and wish his mistress were that kind of fruit that girls call open-arses when they’re talking dirty on their own. O Romeo, if only she were, O if only she were an open arse, and you an erect penis popping it in her.
Act 3, Scene 5: A Father’s Love, a Father’s Hate Capulet 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. Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage, You tallow-face!... Juliet [kneels down] Good father, I beseech you on my knees, Hear me with patience but to speak a word. Capulet Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch! I tell thee what: get thee to church o’ Thursday, Or never after look me in the face. Speak not, reply not, do not answer me. [Juliet rises] My fingers itch… Out on her, hilding!... Graze where you will, you shall not house with me. …beg, starve, die in the streets, For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee… Capulet Get your genitals ready for a thrashing on Thursday next to go to Saint Peter’s Church with Paris, or I’ll drag you there on a whore’s cart. Whore! You pox-diseased piece of dead, putrefying flesh! You whore! You pestilent slut. You greasy-c**t! Juliet [kneels down] Good father, I beseech you on my knees, hear me, please be patient and let me say a word. Capulet Go and act the pimp and hire yourself out, young whore, disobedient wretch! I tell you what. Get you to church Thursday, or never afterwards look me in the face. Speak not, reply not, do not answer me! [Juliet rises] Capulet Live as a whore wherever you want to, you’re not living in my house any more. Whore, starve, have sexual orgasms like a whore in the street, because by my soul, I’ll disown you, I’ll never acknowledge you again!