• Shakespeare's Anti-Balcony Scene

    Author(s):
    Sujata Iyengar (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    CLCS Renaissance and Early Modern, LLC Shakespeare
    Subject(s):
    Shakespeare in adaptation, Literature and film, Theatre history, Folklore, Troubadours
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Romeo and Juliet, Balcony scenes, Blondel, Rapunzel, Stage directions
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/kvyb-4t72
    Abstract:
    Attenuated Shakespearean references in popular cultural texts communicate meaning only because audiences, storytellers, and lovers all over the world identify the scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet instantly as an emblem of romantic love. The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice, and Antony and Cleopatra likewise include scenes in which lovers are separated by vertical distance on stage and engage in a kind of duet. This essay surveys Shakespeare’s three romantic balcony scenes, identifies the key speech-acts and use of visual space that they share, and contrasts with them what I call an anti-balcony scene – the opening of Othello, in which Iago and Roderigo, below and without, roughly awaken Brabantio, upstairs and within, with the shouted news of Othello and Desdemona’s elopement. I observe the power and translatability to world cinema of the opening movement of Othello and suggest we can likewise understand that scene and its ubiquity as an anti-romantic appropriation of the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, one that renders Othello and Desdemona’s match instantly recognizable as a wooing gone awry. Finally, I speculate that the power of the romantic balcony-scene in Shakespeare stems from its folkloric origins, which eased its global translation into other cultures and modes.
    Notes:
    This is the accepted version (Word Document) sent to the publisher. Here is the URL of the published article: http://www.ircl.cnrs.fr/productions%20electroniques/arret_scene/6_2017/ASF6_2017_12_iyengar.pdf
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
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