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Tragedy In Romeo And Juliet Essay

1675 words - 7 pages
















INTRODUCTION .... . . . . ix






IN the text of this edition of Romeo and Juliet I have
introduced only two readings not previously found in
editions ...view middle of the document...

I may add here that if the nickname " Abraham "
was given to Cupid because he is the " father of many
nations," an additional comic effect might be gained by
choosing for Cupid a name recognised as a favourite one
with Elizabethan Puritans. In Middleton's The Family
of Love, Dryfat, a member of the " Family," says, " I
have Aminadabs and Abrahams to my godsons." I
must leave it to some more ingenious critic to make the
discovery that we should read " Abron Cupid," and that
Shakespeare had noticed in Cooper's Thesaurus (1573):
" Abron, the name of a man, whose sensualitie and
delicate life is growne to a Proverbe."

The Quarto editions of Romeo and Juliet are the
following :

" An Excellent conceited Tragedie of Romeo and Juliet,
As it hath bene often (with great applause) plaid
publiquely, by the right Honourable the L. of Hunsdon
his Servants. London, Printed by lohn Danter.

I597"(Q I)-

" The Most Excellent and lamentable Tragedie, of

Romeo and luliet. Newly corrected, augmented, and
amended : As it hath bene sundry times publiquely
acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine
his Servants. London Printed by Thomas Creede, for
Cuthbert Burby, and are to be sold at his shop neare
the Exchange. 1599." This, the second Quarto, I refer
to as Q, unless there is special occasion to distinguish
it as Q 2.

The third Quarto (Q 3) was printed in 1609 for


John Smethwick ; the title-page describes the tragedy
as having been " sundry times publiquely Acted, by the
Kings Majesties Servants at the Globe."

The fourth Quarto (Q 4), printed also for John
Smethwicke, is without date. In some copies the word
" Globe " is followed by " Written by W. Shake-speare."
In other copies (said by Halliwell-Phillipps to be the
later issues) the name of the author does not appear.

The fifth Quarto (Q 5) is dated 1637 ; it was printed
by " R. Young for John Smethwicke."

The text of Romeo and Juliet in the first Folio, 1623,
(F) was derived from Q 3.

The editors of the Cambridge Shakespeare observe :
" As usual there are a number of changes, some
accidental, some deliberate, but all generally for the
worse, excepting the changes in punctuation and in the
stage-directions. The punctuation, as a rule, is more
correct, and the stage-directions are more complete, in
the Folio."

The second Quarto 1599 first gives the play in
full ; it is our best authority for the text ; but the correc-
tions of the later Quartos and of the Folio are valuable
aids towards ascertaining the text, while in not a few
passages Q I lends assistance which cannot elsewhere
be found.

In the present edition the readings of Q and of F
which differ from the editor's text are recorded, except a
few obvious misprints and such others as seem wholly
unimportant. Not many references are made to Q 3,
because in general its various readings...

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