Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Romeo and Juliet : Queen Mab

Mercutio's Queen Mab speech is an interesting discussion point for Romeo and Juliet. Technically, as last as far as the plot goes, you can skip it altogether. It goes more toward character development. When I was in school we had lengthy discussions about what the speech tells us about Mercutio. I know one high school teacher of Romeo and Juliet who simply skips it.

I noticed this blog entry about Queen Mab, which includes link to an audio of the spoken word, the speech transcript itself, and some commentary. It's short, but it's nice to see a whole post about just Queen Mab.

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Alan K.Farrar said...

Simply Skips It? !!!!!!

Cough, spluter, tea (best Irish Breakfast, with milk) up the nose.

May s/he be sauted in their own insensitivity and then impaled on the ignorance they create.

Do they also cut Hamlet's 2B speech? Would they slice out the middle two movements of Beethoven 5 as going nowhere?

Mab is possibly the best thing in the play - great images (provoked others to develop it) and essential context.

Duane said...

Oh, come on Alan. Best thing in the play? Essential context? We're talking about high school kids who just want to do the minimum they have to and get on to the next class. You're lucky to even to have them walk away knowing that "wherefore" does not mean "where".

In what way do you figure it's essential? What plot points, exactly, are touched upon in the speech? Other than giving some meat to Mercutio's character (which ultimately makes him one of Shakespeare's best characters, granted), what else does it bring to the play that the youth of today are missing out on?

Alan K.Farrar said...

Check my blog (already published that one before you asked).
As Secondary School Teacher, I never had any problem with that speech - in fact, it was one of the keys to getting some of the rougher elements involved.
Part of the problem is the misunderstanding of the play that has resulted in interpretations based on Romantic ideas of 19th Century Germany.
There is no way Shakespeare has slipped in a bit of padding - if your average teacher is treating it like that then there must be something wrong.

Anonymous said...

Duane and Alan...
ok i'm a high school student and our teacher is doing the complete oppsite of skipping the Queen Mab speech. Not only are we reading it but tonight for homework we're reseaching it. As far as us being just " high school kids who just want to do the minimum" this is probably so far the classes favorite speech.
I've read Romeo and Juilet many times and honestly it doesn't help to the plot as much as getting person's attention.

Anonymous said...

As a high school student (Year 9), I would say that the Queen Mab speech is one of the best things about the play. The pure imagination was amazing. Our teacher has definitely talked a lot about it, and I am glad too, it's such an interesting and inspiring piece. Our homework was to reasearch it and understand it. I don't think that this should be skipped in high school. And the whole thing about minimum is c***. If anything, most people in my school do MORE work than they should. Funnily enough, we want to get good grades, we want to pass classes with 100%, we want A* and we want a good career. The whole 'where' and 'wherefore' is kinda stupid too. Every child learns that in primary school, let's be serious here...