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Mythology in Romeo and Juliet - Project

English I Honors Mrs. Wild - Jack Nevin and John Struck

Jack Nevin

on 26 April 2013

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Transcript of Mythology in Romeo and Juliet - Project

By Jack Nevin and John Struck Mythology in Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet "Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word,
One nick-name for her purblind son and heir,
Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim,
When King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid!" Mercutio is joking around with Benvolio and Romeo when this line is spoken. They are making jokes about Romeo and his tendency to fall in love easily. The meaning of this line is; Say one fair word to my godmother Venus, One nickname for her almost blind son and heir, young Cupid, he who shot the arrow so well when King Cophetua loved the beggar maid! There are many references to mythology in this passage. The first reference is to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and mother of Cupid. Cupid is the blind boy that flies around, shooting people with arrows of love. Love is blind. King Cophetua was a king who ruled over somewhere in Africa. He was known for his lack of any attraction to women. One day while walking around, he sees a beggar named Penelophon who is begging for clothes. It was love at first sight, he decides that he will either marry this beggar or commit suicide. He goes into the beggar den and tells her that she will be his wife. She consents and they live a happy life together. This story is referenced in the play because the situation that Romeo and Juliet is similar to that of King Cophetua and the beggar, their love was not an ordinary one. However, in the case of the King, there is a happy ending. Juliet is speaking to Romeo from the balcony about their love and commitment. The meaning of this line is; And I will take your word. But, if you swear, you may prove false. They say that Jove laughs at lovers' lies. The mythological reference that is made in this passage is a reference to the Roman god Jove. He is better known by his Greek name, Zeus. Perjury is a reference to a court and lies in a court are not something to be laughed at. What this passage means is that Jove would normally get very angry at lies but when they are between lovers he finds them humorous. This reference fits perfectly with the context of the play. Juliet is asking Romeo whether he truly loves her and is not just saying that. She doesn't know if she can trust him and warns him that if he is lying, the gods will not be happy. "The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels" Act II, Scene III, Lines 3 - 5 "Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus' lodging: such a wagoner
As Phaeton would whip you to the west,
And bring in cloudy night immediately." Juliet speaks these lines while she is waiting for the Nurse to return with news about her and Romeo. She is talking to herself out on her balcony. The meaning of this line is; Run quickly, you horses with fiery flames for feet, Towards the Sun god's house. Such a driver as the son of the Sun god would whip you to the west and bring in a cloudy night immediately. The mythological references are to the Greek sun god Phoebus (in Greek Apollo) and his son, Phaeton. Apollo was the god of many things such as music, plague, sports and the sun. He drove the chariot that pulled the sun across the sky each morning and night. Phaeton boasted that he was the son of a god, but no one believed him. Determined to prove it, he went to visit Phoebus in heaven and persuaded the god to let him drive the chariot of the sun for one day. The solar horses were to strong for him, and Phaeton drove recklessly, setting fire to heaven and earth. Zeus knocked him from the chariot with a thunderbolt. When he died, his sisters turned into poplar trees and their tears became amber. What Juliet means when she says this is that she wishes that the day will go faster and time will pass. She is anxiously waiting for the nurse.

Act I Scene I, Line 131-132 "But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the furthest east begin to draw
The shady curtains from Aurora's bed,
Away from the light steals home my heavy son,
And private in his chamber pens himself,
Shuts up his windows locks far the daylight out" Montague speaks this line in Act I Scene I when talking to Benvolio and Lady Capulet about Romeo and his feelings. The meaning of this line is; As soon as the sun, which should make people happy, begins to rise above the horizon, as the goddess Aurora draws back the curtains from her bed, My depressed son runs away from the sun back home to lock himself in his room, he shuts the windows and hides from the light. The mythological allusion that is made in this passage is a reference to the Roman goddess of morning, Aurora. She would fly across the sky each morning announcing the sunrise. In the context of the play, this means that Romeo is always depressed and much prefers the darkness to the light. A depiction of the goddess Aurora Act II, Scene I Lines 13 - 16 Cophetua and the beggar-maid
by Edward Burne-Jones "And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries
They say, Jove Laughs. Act II, Scene II Lines 95 - 97 The god Jove Friar Laurence is alone in his cell, talking to himself while picking plants in the early morning. He is very philosophical and likes to engage in deep thinking. The meaning of this line is; The grey-eyed morning smiles on the frowning night, cutting the eastern clouds into squares with rays of light; And the flecked darkness stumbles like a drunkard From day's path and the sun's fiery rays. There are actually a few mythological references in this line. Titan is a reference to greek mythology. One of the first generations of gods were the titans, they controlled all the elements and all life. They all gave off the same glowing energy of the sun and stars. Titan is also another name for the Greek sun god Helios. Helios was the titan of the sun. It was said that he lived in the sun. Helios was tasked with driving the chariot that pulls the sun around the world each day. His chariot was pulled by 'solar' steeds; Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, Phlegon, Bronte, Sterope, Abraxas Eous and Aethiops. Helios is often grouped with Apollo, the god of light. However, Helios is a titan and Apollo was an Olympian therefore they are classed as two different entities. The equivalent of Helios in Roman mythology was Sol, more specifically, Sol Invictus. The Etruscan equivalent was called Usil. In the context of the play and the mythological meanings, this means that the sunrise is very bright and it is/is going to be a beautiful day in Verona.

Helios and his main 4 horses; Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon and Phlegon Venus and Cupid by John Copley Act III Scene II Lines 1 - 4 Phaeton being struck by a lightening bolt and falling from the chariot and to his death Group #5
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