January 27, 2001
I received your most welcomed letter today. I will assume that you are in good health since you failed to mention anything in your letter about your well-being. I was surprised that your entire letter was focused on Romeo and Juliet. Why are you so caught up in the way Capulet gave his daughter, Juliet, an ultimatum of being disowned if she dared disobey his orders?
You mention in your letter that you have only read Romeo and Juliet once. Knowing well that you are a movie freak, I find it strange that you would have ever read the book! Furthermore, I know that your faithfulness to Leonardo DiCaprio remains steadfast, yet, you still gave in to reading the play. What has come over you?
I am encouraged, however, with your new-found sensitivity for such a historical and cultural issue. Going to the movie theater or watching a movie on the television or video has never previously influenced your thinking. It was solely done for watching a “hottie,” who’s acting skills can never be more than mediocre at best.
A father disowning his daughter as a consequence of her disobedience, is a topic which can inflame a spirited debate, particularly during these modern times. I am not surprised at your forthrightness in entertaining thoughts regarding this dilemma, since I have always considered you a person of exceptional intellect.
In your letter you write, “Society has changed much since the Elizabethan times, especially now that we are in the 21st century, it seems as if everyone is liberal.” I am assuming that you are not cognizant of the deplorable conditions existing in many countries of the world this day. I say “deplorable” because I do not agree with the way fathers treat their daughters in certain modern cultures. Dowries are very much alive in today’s world, and disowning a daughter is the least of the consequences. In some countries, daughters are murdered if they fail to obey their fathers’ orders; in others, pre-teen daughters suffer the pains of greater evils, and carry the torment throughout their lives. I would think some daughters pray for their father’s to disown them. More importantly, love has nothing to do with it.
Although we may both agree this should never be, we should also never allow for liberalism to be what you said, “[D]o what you want, just don’t get me involved.” We must always challenge the status quo. Romeo and Juliet did.
Karina, you must remember that Juliet was only thirteen when she fell in love with Romeo, and that she did so at first sight. Juliet reveals this when she tells her nurse, “Go ask his name.--If he be married, My grave is like to be my wedding bed.”(I, v, 133-134)
After her nurse reveals, “His name is Romeo, and a Montague,” (I, v, 135) Juliet responds;
“My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy. (I, v, 137-140)
How could a thirteen-year old girl, or boy for that matter, know anything about love during Juliet’s time? How can a thirteen-year old know about love now?
So, I disagree with your statement, “In the end, what had to be done--was done.” I believe death should never be a penalty for not being able to be with the one you love. Neither should death be the result of being with one whom you do not love! But if a village is to survive, its culture should never die. Hence, Capulet was right.
I pray that you not dwell too much upon Capulet’s threats to Juliet. It is with certainty that I feel Shakespeare would turn over in his grave if he knew that you, too, have disobeyed your father, often with impunity.
With warmest regards,