This paper offers a full discussion of ancient Greek and Roman models of the intersection between private and civic spaces on the one hand, and on the other and social practices, with reference to the interaction of these in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In particular, among narrative patterns and stories circulating in Renaissance England, which are here examined in their basic structures and motifs, Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe epyllion provides the primary focus. This paper identifes (with John J. Munro) two main archetypical plots: the separation- and the potion-plot. While the former is increasingly infuenced by family and civic conditionings, the latter is dominated by the peripeteia of Thisbe’s (and Juliet’s) apparent death which eventually pushes Pyramus (and Romeo) to commit suicide. This paper explores both Greek and Roman sources in order to verify the presence of both plots and appreciate not only the great variety of treatments they underwent in the antiquity, but also the multiple hints that could direct their successive re-enactments. As suggested by Kenneth Muir (1954), this paper hypothesizes that Shakespeare could have relied on “multiple sources” mediated even by unsuspected or over-looked texts. This allows to clarify the critical equivocation at the basis of all interpretation of ‘source’ foregrounding exclusivity. Indeed, classicists and Shakespearean scholars alike have mainly concentrated on the potion(-and-error)-plot, neglecting the fact that Romeo and Juliet ’s conclusive action – indirectly inspired by Ovid – “does not exhaust the entire plot nor represents the unravelling of the play’s early announced contradictions” which more deeply involve the civic and political context of the story.

Classical paradigms of tragic choice in civic stories of love and death

AVEZZU', Guido
2016-01-01

Abstract

This paper offers a full discussion of ancient Greek and Roman models of the intersection between private and civic spaces on the one hand, and on the other and social practices, with reference to the interaction of these in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In particular, among narrative patterns and stories circulating in Renaissance England, which are here examined in their basic structures and motifs, Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe epyllion provides the primary focus. This paper identifes (with John J. Munro) two main archetypical plots: the separation- and the potion-plot. While the former is increasingly infuenced by family and civic conditionings, the latter is dominated by the peripeteia of Thisbe’s (and Juliet’s) apparent death which eventually pushes Pyramus (and Romeo) to commit suicide. This paper explores both Greek and Roman sources in order to verify the presence of both plots and appreciate not only the great variety of treatments they underwent in the antiquity, but also the multiple hints that could direct their successive re-enactments. As suggested by Kenneth Muir (1954), this paper hypothesizes that Shakespeare could have relied on “multiple sources” mediated even by unsuspected or over-looked texts. This allows to clarify the critical equivocation at the basis of all interpretation of ‘source’ foregrounding exclusivity. Indeed, classicists and Shakespearean scholars alike have mainly concentrated on the potion(-and-error)-plot, neglecting the fact that Romeo and Juliet ’s conclusive action – indirectly inspired by Ovid – “does not exhaust the entire plot nor represents the unravelling of the play’s early announced contradictions” which more deeply involve the civic and political context of the story.
9781138839984
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Greek novel
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/927753
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