REVIEW
Garber, Marjorie. "Romeo and Juliet: Patterns and Paradigms."
The Shakespeare Plays: A Study Guide. LaJolla: U of California, San Diego, 1979. 50-63. Rptd. in Romeo and Juliet: Critical Essays. Ed. John F. Andrews. New York: Garland, 1993. 119-131.

Thesis: Garber's general subject is the contrasts in Romeo and Juliet: between comedy and tragedy, the old and the young, night and day, high and low, love and death. Perhaps the most interesting contrast that she points out is the one between Juliet's early childishness and her developing maturity. Here is a paragraph from Garber's commentary:

But at the same time that she has lost her family and friends, she has gained a husband and lover -- and in her scenes with Romeo, Juliet demonstrates a startling maturity of another kind by rejecting false modesty in favor of a frank declaration of love and an even franker declaration of sexual desire. The play invites us to contrast this behavior not only with her own previous naivete ("I'll look to like, if looking liking move") but also with the coy chastity of Romeo's first love, Rosaline, and with the coarse vulgarity of the Nurse. Thus, in the balcony scene Juliet is at first embarrassed to find that Romeo has overheard her private thoughts, but within half a dozen lines her "maiden blush" has given way to a direct and unashamed question: "Dost thou love me?" (II,ii,86;90). Notice that it is she who asks the question, as it is she who has first spoken of love. Throughout the scene she remains the dominant figure, alternately advising, cautioning, and summoning Romeo, while he quite appropriately stands gazing at her from below. For a young woman of her age and her sheltered upbringing, this innocent forwardness is as remarkable as it is appealing.   (124)

Bottom Line: Highly recommended.


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   Author: Philip Weller
   Last Modified: 2 April 2002