Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Letter from Sidney to Shakespeare: A Comparison of Two Sonnets :: 81 Play Essays
Letter from Sidney to Shakespeare A Comparison of Two SonnetsMy Dearest William,I fox just returned from seeing your marvelous new tragedy Romeo and Juliet, and I concupiscence to offer my sincere congratulations on another stupendous winner One particular passage from the play has stuck in my mind. In the early act, scene five, Romeo and Juliet exchange a dialogue about a court which is in the form of a sonnet. This reminded me of one of my own sonnets Sonnet 81 of Astrophil and Stella. Your views on the subject of kissing are very interesting, and in more ways parallel my own. For instance, you compare kissing to a holy and prayer-like act, where as I compare it to a union of souls. There was one flavor of your sonnet that reminded me very much of my own. Your Juliet is very clever and quick in speaking to the lovesick Romeo in the same way that my Stella is in her receipt to Astrophil.In your poem, Romeo believes he is being very clever, but Juliet consistently turn s his quick-witted statements around on him. Romeo tries to flatter Juliet by calling her cave in a holy shrine which he hesitates to profane with his unworthiest hand (Shakespeare, I.v.95-6). Juliet later insisted that he does not give himself enough credit you do wrong your hand too much (I.v.99). Romeo compares his lips to two blushing pilgrims with which he offers to remedy his stony touch by giving her a kiss. This begins an extended metaphor of the human relationship between saints, their supplicants, and in a roundabout way, God. As Juliet explains, pilgrims show their devotedness when they appeal to saints in prayer. A holy bay wreathers kiss, is a prayer, palm to palm, to the saint (I.v.102). In much the same way, Romeo places his hand together with Juliets hand in a sort of prayer.Romeo tries to use this analogy to his improvement by asking, Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? (I.v.103). However Juliet replies to his bare cleverness by explaining tha t both saints and pilgrims use their lips in prayer, not in simple kissing as Romeo is suggesting. Romeo then makes a last apparent motion to obtain the kiss he desires. He calls her a saint, implying that he intends to be her pilgrim.