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Romeo Had Game

This post is also available in: German

A dataslut at FiveThirtyEight tallied the lines each pair of characters spoke to each other and found that Romeo was following Poon Commandment V.

Juliet speaks 155 lines to him, and he speaks only 101 to her. His reticence toward Juliet is particularly inexcusable when you consider that Romeo spends more time talking than anyone else in the play.

And yet these two are the most famous star-crossed lovers in literature. Romeo knew, or more precisely Shakespeare knew, that women — and female readers — love a man who doesn’t give away the store.

In general, Shakespeare’s female lovers lavish a larger share of their lines on their men than the men do on them. This is true not just of “Romeo and Juliet,” but of “Macbeth,” “The Taming of the Shrew” and all four couples in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The only real exceptions, tellingly, occur in the plays where the women pose as men: “Twelfth Night” and “The Merchant of Venice.” (Antony and Cleopatra spend roughly equal shares of lines on each other.)

😆 There’s more egalitarian relationship communication when the women pose as men. Says it all, really. But you feminists keep telling manboobs to emote like girls; that’ll really make them more attractive to women.

Forget modern culture in its totality. Everything important you need to know about men and women you can find in the works of Shakespeare.

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