William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”: A Retelling in Prose

“Are you continuing to cry for Tybalt’s death?” Mrs. Capulet asked. “Are you trying to wash him from his grave with your tears? Even if you could do that, you would not be able to make him live again. Therefore, stop crying. Some grief shows that you love him, but excessive grief shows a lack of good sense.”

“Please let me cry for such a loss I feel with all my heart,” Juliet said.

“If you cry, you will feel the loss bitterly, but you will not bring back the person for whom you are crying.”

“Mother, I feel the loss so bitterly that I must cry.”

“Juliet, I think that you are crying not so much over your cousin Tybalt as you are over the fact that the villain who killed Tybalt is still alive.”

“What villain?”

“Romeo.”

Juliet said, “The villain and he are many miles apart. God pardon him! I do, with all my heart. And yet no man like he does grieve my heart.”

Mrs. Capulet understood this to mean, “The villain Romeo and Tybalt are many miles apart. God pardon the late Tybalt! I do, with all my heart. And yet no man so much as Tybalt does grieve my heart because he has died.”

But Juliet knew that to herself, her ambiguous words meant, The word “villain” and Romeo are many miles apart — Romeo is not a villain! God pardon Romeo! I do, with all my heart. And yet no man so much as Romeo does grieve my heart because he is banished from Verona and my presence.

Mrs. Capulet said, “You should say, ‘And yet no man so much as Romeo does grieve my heart because he is still alive.’”

Juliet said, “I grieve because Romeo is far from the reach of these my hands. I wish that no one but I might avenge Tybalt’s death!”

Mrs. Capulet understood these words to mean that Juliet would like to kill Romeo, but she grieves because he is no longer in Verona and so she cannot kill him.

But Juliet knew that to herself, her ambiguous words meant, I grieve because I can no longer see Romeo, and I would like to be the only person who could avenge Tybalt’s death against Romeo because then Romeo would be safe and in no danger.

Mrs. Capulet said, “Don’t worry. We will have vengeance for the death of Tybalt, so you need not cry because Tybalt’s death has not been avenged. I am going to send a man to Mantua, where the exiled scoundrel Romeo is said to be fleeing. The man I send to Romeo will give him a drink so poisonous that very quickly Romeo will keep Tybalt company in death. Then, I hope, you will be happy.”

Juliet said, “Indeed, I never shall be satisfied with Romeo, until I behold him … dead … is my poor heart for a kinsman vexed. Mother, if you could find a man to bear a poison, I would temper it, so that Romeo should, upon receipt thereof, soon sleep in quiet. Oh, how my heart hates to hear him named, and cannot come to him to wreak the love I bore my cousin upon the body of the man who slaughtered him!”

Juliet again used ambiguous words, some of which had two meanings.

This is what Mrs. Capulet heard: “Indeed, I never shall be satisfied with Romeo, until I behold him dead — dead is my poor heart for a kinsman [Tybalt] vexed. Mother, if you could find a man to bear a poison, I would temper [mix] it, so that Romeo should, upon receipt thereof, soon sleep in quiet [die]. Oh, how my heart hates to hear him named, and cannot come to him to wreak [avenge] the love I bore my cousin upon the body of the man who slaughtered him!”

But Juliet knew that to herself, her ambiguous words meant, Indeed, I never shall be satisfied with Romeo, until I behold him — dead is my poor heart for a kinsman [Romeo] vexed. Mother, if you could find a man to bear a poison, I would temper [weaken] it, so that Romeo should, upon receipt thereof, soon sleep in quiet [take a nap]. Oh, how my heart hates to hear him named, and cannot come to him to wreak [give expression to] the love I bore my cousin upon the body of the man who slaughtered him!

“You get the poison, and I’ll get a man to give it to Romeo,” Mrs. Capulet said. “But right now I have good news for you, girl.”

“Good news is welcome in such joyless times as these,” Juliet said. “What is your good news?”

“You have a father who loves you,” Mrs. Capulet said. “He knows that you have been grieving, and to take away your sadness he gives you a day of joy — a day that neither you nor I expected.”

“What day is that?”

“Early Thursday morning, a gallant, young, and noble gentleman, Count Paris, at Saint Peter’s Church, will happily make you a happy bride.”

Shocked, Juliet replied, “By Saint Peter’s Church and by St. Peter, too, he will not make me there a joyful bride! I wonder at this haste — why must I wed before I am wooed? Mother, I beg you to tell my father that I will not marry yet; and, when I do marry, I swear that my groom shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate, rather than Paris. Your news is shocking, not joyful.”

Her mother told her, “Here comes your father; tell him so yourself, and see how he will take it.”

Copyright 2016 by Bruce D. Bruce

Note: The above is an excerpt from my book William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: A Retelling in Prose, which is available here (99 cents cheap):

http://www.amazon.com/William-Shakespeares-Romeo-Juliet-Retelling/dp/1304796833

http://www.amazon.co.uk/William-Shakespeares-Romeo-Juliet-Retelling-ebook/dp/B00H6ANWNO/ref=sr_1_24?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1431698181&sr=1-24&keywords=retelling+in+prose

http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/david-bruce/william-shakespeares-romeo-and-juliet-a-retelling-in-prose/paperback/product-21727658.html

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/william-shakespeares-romeo-and-juliet-david-bruce/1117667603?ean=2940045492119

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/385811

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/william-shakespeares-romeo/id779220888?mt=11

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/william-shakespeare-s-romeo-and-juliet-a-retelling-in-prose

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