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Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger$
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Sudhir Kakar and John Munder Ross

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198072560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198072560.001.0001

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The Amorous Death of Romeo and Juliet

The Amorous Death of Romeo and Juliet

(p.13) 2 The Amorous Death of Romeo and Juliet
Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger

Sudhir Kakar

John Munder Ross

Oxford University Press

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a classic verging on a latter-day myth. The story of the star-crossed young lovers, whose purity of feeling and spirit were betrayed by cruel fate and misguided relatives, is seen as an archetype of passion laid low by petty vanity masquerading as kinship honour. This chapter argues that Romeo and Juliet is neither about innocence (betrayed) nor about the romantic absorption and tenderness of young love, as depicted in the Western cultural tradition. Rather, the play has as its theme a singular aspect of erotic union: its savagery when denied. It also shows the violence inherent in the frustrated femininity of men and of their carnivorousness once they taste a woman's beauty and are then prevented from experiencing it again.

Keywords:   Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare, passion, kinship honour, love, erotic union, violence

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