Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night, that runaway's eyes may wink and Romeo leap to these arms, untalk'd of and unseen. Lovers can see to do their amorous rites by their own beauties; or, if love be blind, it best agrees with night. Come, civil night, thou sober-suited matron, all in black, and learn me how to lose a winning match, play'd for a pair of stainless maidenhoods: hood my unmann'd blood, bating in my cheeks, with thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night; come, Romeo; come,

thou day in night; for thou wilt lie

upon the wings of night whiter

than new snow on a raven's

back. Come, gentle night,

come, loving, black-brow'd

night give me my

Romeo; and, when he shall

die, take him and cut

him out in little stars,

and he will make the face

of heaven so fine that all

the world will be in love

 with night and pay no

worship to the garish sun.

 

Crib Notes

Name: The Lovers - Romeo and Juliet.

Dramatis Personae: Juliet Capulet; Romeo Montague; Friar Laurence.

Astrology: Gemini, Mercury

Hebrew Letter: VAV

 

 Text & Context: The Hebrew word vav means "hook", associated with the silver hooks which hold the curtain to the tabernacle. The Torah, as recreation of the tabernacle, was constructed with each column of text beginning with Vav, thereby "hooking" the text to the parchment.

  When Romeo first meets Juliet, he uses imported religious vocabulary - "shrine", "saint", "pilgrim", "palmer". After their initial kiss, Romeo says, "From my lips, by thine, my sin is purg'd". Juliet responds with, "Then have my lips the sin that they have took." When they kiss again, Juliet says, "You kiss by the book." From the first, Juliet is the realist, seeing how dangerous is this love and how it is likely to end. Theirs is a world of family hatred, arranged marriages, mundane pride; the amour fou Romeo and Juliet experience sets them on a collision course. Love may liberate their future, but their present remains hooked to their past.

  Traditionally, we see in The Lovers card the male paramour exchanging his mother's love for his bride to be's. Here, by all rights, we should see Romeo's exchange of love for the male world epitomized by Mercutio. Friar Laurence then, as "brother", is his good-humoured surrogate, every bit in the crypt as Mercutio was "a grave man." Mercutio represents a mercenary homo-centric world of pugilism, lust, and derisiveness. The love Romeo explodes with literally kills Mercutio, as surely as it does Juliet and himself. These deaths, like the petit mort of orgasm, represent the break with the quotidian world built to this point in the cards.

 

 Thomas Aquinas thought love a "binding-up" of reason, a drunkenness exchanging itself for the true omnipotent love of God, and therefore far more dangerous than simple fornication. Juliet is often as earthy as Mercutio, and in this power - sexual and otherwise - we may glimpse the power and fear engendered in the adolescent male; fear of himself, of the other [female], and the great world unknown. Here, in this dark, Romeo and death change places. "Death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead!" Recall, Christ's sacrifice rent the curtain of the tabernacle. Similarly, we have here the bed trick, only with Death. The dead trick then, orchestrated by a man of the cloth, as in Measure for Measure by a fake friar and All's Well That Ends Well by a questionable pilgrim. Even with Juliet's death, her language is sexual: "O happy dagger, this is they sheath" - the Latin for "sheath" being vagina.

  In the end, the world built and maintained by adults is so divorced from grace and humility that it can only serve as a prison for themselves and their children. A half-world, of faulty presentiment, where things are half seen - Romeo's dream where in death he is awakened by Juliet's kiss. A world where the nightingale replaces the lark. A dead world, then, where even the most vibrant bursts of life are deadly.

Intertext: Staffs 8 Mercutio