chapter  2
18 Pages

Happy Daggers

Romeo and Juliet
WithMarlena Tronicke

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love tragedy of all time – after all, their immortal love culminates in a love suicide. Unlike Hamlet, Shakespeare’s other play set in a Christian context in which suicide plays a major role, Romeo and Juliet does not engage with religious damnation of self-slaughter. Given that its Veronese setting is distinctly Catholic, this may seem surprising. Perhaps also surprisingly, already the Prologue prepares the audience for the couple’s eventual suicides. Despite tragedy’s teleological formula, such a detailed narrative prolepsis is unusual. Nevertheless, it anticipates the play’s peculiar quality of “pre-scriptedness,” its overall theme of haste and prematurity. 1