Friday, September 07, 2012

More on the Psychology of Romeo and Juliet

A couple weeks ago I stumble across a mention of The Romeo and Juliet Effect in a book about motivation and will power.

Today among the various Shakespeare feeds I scan I spotted this 2008 Psychology Today article entitled, "Romeo and Juliet's Death Trip: Addictive Love and Teen Suicide."  

There are no great insights to be found.  The author pretty much skims the story for various death references and ties them all back to suicide, including the claim that Romeo is suicidal over Rosaline at the opening of the play.  I think that's a bit much.  That's not suicidal, that's emo.  Not the same thing.

The article's at least entertaining, though, and I appreciate that.  I wonder how far his tongue was in his cheek while writing it?

Father Laurence tries cognitive behavior therapy:
I'll give thee armour to keep off that word:
Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy (read "psychology"),
To comfort thee, though thou art banished. . . .
rouse thee, man! thy Juliet is alive,
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;
There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee,
But thou slew'st Tybalt; there are thou happy too:
The law that threaten'd death becomes thy friend
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:
A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
Happiness courts thee in her best array.
But then (oy!!!) the good Father resorts to pharmacology: he gives Juliet a potion to make her appear dead.


JM said...

This is great stuff...for a load of crap.

Dr. Peele writes:
...See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.

"That's not what Shakespeare really thinks about this duo, and what makes him say:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
He really thinks these kids are sick puppies."

I love it when so-called empiricists, in a discipline totally unknown to Shakespeare, tell us what Shakespeare "REALLY THINKS" concerning THEIR opinions.
Then, when taken to task on it, he writes this:
"As I have written previously, bloggers quickly learn that most people are simply waiting when reading something to offload their own opinions."

Just what has he done to Shakespeare then? Anyone in the field would instantly recognize his initial "analysis" and subsequent weak attempt to offload guilt onto someone else, (one who disagrees with him for what he himself has done) as CLASSIC Projection.

Once again, when it comes to "analyzing" Shakespeare, someone who supposedly studies the ego with impartial eyes has kept them closed as concerns his own.

JM said...

BTW Duane, I read further. His tongue is nowhere in the vicinity of his cheek. To him, this stuff is literal. Furthermore, for a PhD in 'psychology', his ability to deal with someone differing in 'opinion' from his own is sorely lacking. The differing opinion I cited:
"To a hammer, everything looks like a nail--and to someone who has been studying addiction for over 30 years, romantic love looks like addiction.
Would R & J have been able to sustain their passion? Of course not. It would have morphed into a more mature affection, or withered. It never got a chance to do either, not b/c of the young lovers, but b/c of the feud which separated their families.
Juliet is more mature than Romeo--she proposes to him, not the other way around, and her love for him is her first--but they don't fall in love to defy their families. They don't know the beloved is a member of the rival family when they fall.
Your article trivializes a great piece of poetry, and fails to appreciate Shakespeare's real knowledge of human nature.
His response:
"I'm sorry to tell you,but you're an imbecile, and if you use that hammer line again (although I fear you've done so a few dozen times since you wrote this), you'll end up in purgatory (that's Dante's hammer)."
He then proceeds to include an addendum at bottom of the original article you cite, mentioning the responder by name, leading to more of the same of HIS opinion. Wonder why she became so important, if her thoughts were so "imbecilic"?

Physician, heal thyself.