Hello everyone and welcome back! A lot has happened since the last post (in April). One thing that hasn’t happened much was theatre. That was the main reason for the hiatus.
Pictured: The Baddest Quarto.
This week we’ll look at Romeo & Juliet‘s The Nurse, who is Juliet’s servant, guardian and former wet nurse. In the play, Juliet is supposed to be 13 years old. The action takes place shortly before Juliet’s upcoming birthday.
Imagine being 13 years old and still having to hang out with your old wet nurse.
The Nurse first appears in the poem Romeus and Juliet from 1562, which
Shakespeare stole from served as Shakespeare’s basis for his play.
The Nurse acts as a kind of go-between between the two leads. She helps set them up. She also provides a counterpoint to Juliet and Romeo’s idealized spiritual whatever thing they have. For her, love seems to be more about physical pleasure:
“I am the drudge, and toil in your delight, / But you shall bear the burden soon at night” (II.5.75-76)
She’s telling this to a 13 year old.
For an in-depth analysis of The Nurse’s character, there is this video:
And here is the monologue itself:
NURSE: Even or odd, of all days in the year,
Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen.
Susan and she (God rest all Christian souls!)
Were of an age. Well, Susan is with God;
She was too good for me. But, as I said,
On Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen;
That shall she, marry; I remember it well.
‘Tis since the earthquake now eleven years;
And she was weaned (I never shall forget it),
Of all the days of the year, upon that day;
For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,
Sitting in the sun under the dovehouse wall.
My lord and you were then at Mantua.
Nay, I do bear a brain. But, as I said,
When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple
Of my dug and felt it bitter, pretty fool,
To see it tetchy and fall out with the dug!
Shake, quoth the dovehouse! ‘Twas no need, I trow,
To bid me trudge.
And since that time it is eleven years,
For then she could stand high-lone; nay, by th’ rood,
She could have run and waddled all about;
For even the day before, she broke her brow;
And then my husband (God be with his soul!
‘A was a merry man) took up the child.
‘Yea,’ quoth he, ‘dost thou fall upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit;
Wilt thou not, Jule?’ and, by my holidam,
The pretty wretch left crying and said ‘Ay.’
To see now how a jest shall come about!
I warrant, an I should live a thousand years
I never should forget it. ‘Wilt thou not, Jule?’ quoth he,
And, pretty fool, it stinted and said ‘Ay.’
(from The Monologue Bank)
Thank you and join us again soon when we have another rip-roaring monologue for you!!!!