Friday, April 28, 2006

Romantic Reversals

The trouble with Romeo and Juliet is that no one understands it.

(Apart from me of course.)

I blame Goethe.

That little exercise in putting Faust back into the meeting of Romeo and Juliet prodded me to think about what happened to Faust when the nasty, Romantic German got his hands on the story: He gave it a happy ending.

Because of Faust's love of a woman, he is saved from hell.

They then did the same to Shakespeare - Romeo, well down in the hottest pit of Hell, gets yanked up to heaven - just because he loved Juliet and she loved him.

From being a good educational tool warning the youth of Shakespeare's day to keep a grip on their urges, Goethe and his like turn the whole thing "arse over tit" and killing yourself comes into fashion.

And that led onto to Wagner!

Shakespeare, why couldn't you stay a nice English provincial?

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