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Chapter 3 - Shakespeare’s Juliet

The Ovidian Girlhood of the Boy Actor

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 June 2021

Heather James
Affiliation:
University of Southern California
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Summary

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare fashions the dramatic role of his early tragic heroine in relationship to Ovid’s Metamorphoses and especially in relationship to his erotic elegies as they are mediated by the charismatic figure of Christopher Marlowe. This chapter explores the difference to the 1597 and 1599 quartos of the play that Ovid makes. There is no particular relationship between the part of Juliet to Ovid in the first quarto, whereas there is an intense and transformative relationship between Shakespeare’s Juliet and the version of Ovid that Marlowe brought to the Elizabethan stage. The final argument of this chapter is that Shakespeare remembers, honors, and radically adapts Marlowe by transferring the bold speech of the Ovidian erotic elegist from the tragic hero to the part of girl, performed by a boy.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Shakespeare’s Juliet
  • Heather James, University of Southern California
  • Book: Ovid and the Liberty of Speech in Shakespeare's England
  • Online publication: 18 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108767484.004
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Shakespeare’s Juliet
  • Heather James, University of Southern California
  • Book: Ovid and the Liberty of Speech in Shakespeare's England
  • Online publication: 18 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108767484.004
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Shakespeare’s Juliet
  • Heather James, University of Southern California
  • Book: Ovid and the Liberty of Speech in Shakespeare's England
  • Online publication: 18 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108767484.004
Available formats
×