REVIEW

Tanselle, G. Thomas. "Time in Romeo and Juliet."
Shakespeare Quarterly 15.4 (1964): 349-361.

Thesis: Tanselle focuses on "exact references to particular hours, days, months, years" (350). About the significance of these time references, Tanselle says,

Their unusual frequency and specificity would indicate that they are especially important to Shakespeare in this play and that they are used in other ways than as a calendar. For one thing, they contribute to the effect produced by the dominant imagery of light and darkness; allusion to the hour seems a natural way of intensifying the contrast between day and night, or brightness and dullness. In addition, time references are used to further the characterizations -- for example, when Romeo declares that time passes slowly for him in Rosaline's absence, or when Juliet wishes night to come quickly since it will bring Romeo. Time references also contribute to the sense of foreboding which permeates the play, especially through figurative expressions involving day, night, and stars. Finally, the insistence on the time of day increases the reader's awareness that he is watching two impetuous young lovers rushing precipitously through a series of events; Shakespeare does not allow us to forget for a moment that his version of the story involves only a few days.     (350)
Tanselle then proceeds to cite and comment on each of the specific time references in the play.

Note: Almost all of the time references that Tanselle examines may be found in the Chronology of Romeo and Juliet Navigator.

Bottom Line: Solid work.


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   Author: Philip Weller
   Last Modified: 3 April 2002