Sunday, July 3, 2016

Shakespeare Human Nature and Analysis: Romeo and Juliet

What can you learn from "Romeo and Juliet"?

In the world of statement analysts where study is a passion, there is a depth few mine though at the top of the profession, the understanding is good.  There, with the solid understanding of human nature they not only understand the words ('what' before 'why' during analysis ) but appropriately predict the behavior and words in which the behavior is illuminated.  This is a meeting between the analysis of the statement, the behavior, and the psychology behind both.  

When human nature is not seen clearly, the "expected" falters and quality suffers in all the proceeds from this.  It is challenging enough to void the influence of our own projection, yet if human nature, the intellect and emotions, is even slightly misaligned the analyst wearing the cloak of philosopher misses even if ever so slightly.  

At this level he or she (as the value of gender is heightened within the field) is most dissatisfied. 

The post mortem work is an unhappy and uneasy event, rather than an exciting opportunity for growth. The miss was not in principle but application 

Not in great conclusion but a tiny point therefore in general a review peer review will come back positive perhaps not even identifying the error.  

Shakespeare's brilliance is such that one line may warrant one or even two paragraphs of ours, to grasp his meaning and beauty.  

Consider "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?"

The question was rhetorical as Juliet articulated the longing of her heart. What came next is right out of the pages of Statemebt Analysus 101. 

She sought an answer to the question of her heart:  'Do you love me, Romeo?'

The rebuke she gives of his answer is to reveal just how deeply William Shakespeare knew of the human heart.  Note the analysis that follows.   

Juliet sought the most reliable affirmation of words of marriage:  those freely chosen with reduced need to persuade.  

The moon will change over a month as the emotion of passion may so do.  

Do you desire instruction on human nature?  Are you willing to work?

Are you willing to be challenged, personally?

Or might such study be a challenge to narrative?

For those who love truth, time only increases the disinterest I narrative lest the narrative be improved upon by truth. 

Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me?

Here is the question she asks and needs to know:  "Do you love me?"

She does not want a "yes or no" answer.  This is the easiest of questions to lie to:  

I know thou wilt say 'Ay,'

She knows that this answer is to come, and is easy.  She will believe it, "yet", which is similar to "but", as she compares this acceptance of the answer "yes" in olde English, with something much stronger.  

And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries

She (or Shakespeare!) is aware that a vow offered by the subject may also be unreliable as its need to persuade, given the context, will weaken the assertion and not give the comfort to her cry of "wherefore art thou?", within the her heart.  

What does she want? 

1.  A yes or no answer is too easily to deceive;

2.  A vow here, in an unofficial setting, may be weak as it shows too much of a need to persuade;  Yet if it must be a vow, he, himself, must be the center of the vow.   This is the psychology behind, "Because I told the truth!" 

3.  The free editing process where he, himself, chooses his own words.  

Then say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown and be perverse and say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my 'havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
My true love's passion: therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

Is he listening?

Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops--

Romeo offers to swear, not by himself, as she sought, but by the moon.  Yet it is that Juliet is aware of the science of the moon, moving from the romantic to the practical:  

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
It is said that the heart is so fickle that it is at its best when protected...

What shall I swear by?

Recall her words:  she didn't want a 'yes or no'; she did not want an oath, but would accept the oath if it was based upon himself, but it was not her preference:  she wanted his own wording; the 'free editing process' that is the most reliable in analysis.  This is where the person is, in less than a millisecond of time, choosing his words, increasing the reliability.  

Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.

She admits that her love is so acute that it is idolatrous and that she is open to deception because of it.  Every human is 'religious' in nature.  Simply ask the person,

"is it wrong for a person to slap the face of a stranger in public?" followed by,

"Tell me why this is wrong." 

As the subject speaks, he or she will bring you to the final place of arbitration of right from wrong, moral from immoral, ethical from unethical.  Shakespeare brilliantly highlights human nature, in its weakness, strength, desire, hope, fear and suspicion.  

If my heart's dear love--
Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!

Here she reasons within herself that not hearing him choose his own words, and his struggle, the reality of just how quickly all this has come to pass, void of wisdom.   The great flame is before them, yet the coals are not white with heat, for that takes time, which is something she addresses repeatedly:

too rash
too unadvised
too sudden 
too much like lightning, which appears powerful and bright, yet in a moment, it is gone and forgotten.  At a moment, it appeared to light up everything, as if it were day, but it is just a moment.  

This frustrates Romeo who wants an exchange before he leaves; 

O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?
The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.
I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.

Note the element of timing:  she gave it freely, before he requested it.  This is the ultimate point of the free editing process in the reliable denial:  

It is strong and the psychology behind it is like a wall.  The innocent does not wait, does not toy with unreliable denials; but states it without waiting for the accusation, quite often, as soon as discerned.  The weight of proof otherwise is almost of no consequence. 

The guilty?

Why would I need to steal?
Why would I want to hurt that person?
Why would I do that?

The questions are often the probing of the guilty, to learn if the investigator knows the motive!

Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?

The fear of losing that which was freely offered is not sensible (reliable):  Believe and trust the free editing process.  Let the words guide you.   In kindness, for the purpose of clarity ("frank") she gives it to him again:  

But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
Nurse calls within
I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!
Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.
Stay but a little, I will come again.
Exit, above
O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard.
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.



Andrea said...

Peter, I love this! So interesting looking at the play this way as well as the Shakespearean English. I always felt Romeo somehow screwed up the whole romance, and I find it fascinating that you have determined that Juliet told the truth while Romeo doubted her words.
Wonderful blog post...I enjoy reading your insightful and intriguing analysis of this exchange!

Andrea said...

It is also, intriguing, as you pointed out, Shakespeare's brilliance that he was aware of these human doubts, frailities, as well as the nature of truth itself and the way in which it manifests in language!

Ode said...

Romeo and Juliet
- Love's Faithful Vow (1968)

One does not need to view this clip, the Audio alone is wonder.
Thank you for writing your commentary PH, the subject
the content, its very refreshing.

Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, 1968
starring Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting,
a fine cast of actors

The same words of Juliet, of Romeo
(PH) posted, are this video, 4mins 23 seconds

I have lost count how many times, the lines of Shakespeare
(this film rendition replays in my mind) the words of his crept into my head, like a song on the radio. Human Nature it is.

I have enjoyed this film immensely. I have watched this film nearly 20 times. " Film" it is, movie it's not. I recommend all to see it at least once.

Ode said...

Romeo and Juliet (4/9) Movie CLIP
- Love's Faithful Vow (1968) HD

the Clip begins here, ' enjoy'

O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied? JULIET
What satisfaction canst thou have to-night? ROMEO
The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine. JULIET
I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.

2:25 -

Nic said...

Good 'ol Bill. My son played Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream in Grade 5 (uncommon at that level - his English teacher *loved* Shakespeare). I noticed when he made a mistake, it was usually reciting his lines/meaning into present day English. So he understood the meaning, it was the old English syntax (?) he had some problems with. My husband and I were listening to him practice his lines from another room after dinner one night and my husband turned to me and said, "Every time he makes a mistake, I actually understand what [it] means." Ha, ha! I felt the same way!

Valencia said...


That is certainly odd that your son's English teacher was having 10 year olds act out Shakespeare in its original form. I hate to be a stickler for detail, however I must say that Shakespeare did not write in Old English--he wrote in Elizabethan English, the pronunciation of which and vocabulary is so similar to our own that it is actually considered MODERN English.

Middle English is what Chaucer wrote his tales this stage the language is so different from our own it is nearly incomprehensible to our modern ear while still sharing some vocabulary with our modern language.

OLD ENGLISH is what Beowulf is written in, although that was not written down initially but was recited while playing a harp-like instrument. It was created about a thousand years before Shakespeare wrote his masterpieces. It is so different from our own language it is not recognizable as being English. I actually knew someone who spoke Old English but he has passed away.

So, it is quite wrong to say that Shakespeare is written in Old English. I hope you'll forgive me for going off about it, but it is like nails on a chalkboard to me when people refer to Shakespearean English as Old English.

rain said...

OT. @Wreyeter72

Sequoyah County Sheriff's Office Investigating Missing Hiker As -

The Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it is now treating a missing hiker investigating as a homicide.
Sheriff Joe Lockhart said stories of people hiking with Matthew Fagan are not adding up. He also said two persons of interest are in custody, being held on unrelated charges.

Lockhart said they are still searching the area around Lake Tenkiller where Fagan was hiking and have used dive teams to search the lake.
Fagan was last seen around 3:30 p.m. on June 21 near Cato Creek.

Authorities say he was hiking with three other people but decided to go back to the car before his friends. When the others returned, he wasn’t there.

Anonymous said...

Old but interesting statement in Lindsey Baum case.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post; I have had the joy of teaching this play for 30 years! My students come up with the same conclusions about Romeo: instead of this famous "lover", they are shocked to see a kind of wussy, weepy, self-pitying, in love with the idea of being in love young man! This section really brings out the discussion-sometimes heated-about what love really is and the differences between what a young man and a young woman might feel about it. What dangers does Juliet face as opposed to Romeo?

I now teach an entire year of Shakespeare's plays and the moral questions in Macbeth and Hamlet, the confusion in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night, the use of rhetoric in Julius Caesar--no other literature that I have taught has elicited the responses Shakespeare's works brings.

Anonymous said...

Romeo loved Juliet...he was just a wimp. Ive taught it too and watched it being taught, and that seems to be en vogue right now to say that Romeo and Juliet wasnt really about love (just shows have much our society worships "psychology") and it's ridiculous to say he didnt love her, after all he died for their love, but he was a wimp in a lot of ways. JMO

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Shakespeare has been ejected from many colleges, due to his skin color by those who hold themselves upon a moral high ground.

I'm glad Romeo and Juliet is still being taught...somewhere.

Private schools and private colleges still revere education.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

not to be a stickler, either, but the general term is not "old English" but...

olde English.


it is old to us.

Lis said...

This is a fun and fascinating study. The best literature is that where the author is perceptive about human nature. What a great example.

Re: the Lindsay Baum case, above. Wouldn't it be great if those 8 hours of interrogation could be analyzed? It's hard to draw too much conclusion from the article because his statements are being reported second-hand but I'll bet the police interrogation would reveal the truth.

Tania Cadogan said...

Pronounced yee oldy english beloved of antique shops, ancient pubs and historical papers.

Oldy applies to anything quiticentially english such as fudge, jams, pubs and pirate maps of a tempting and shiny articles of an expensive nature concealed in some strange place. :)

Tania Cadogan said...

Peter Hyatt said...

not to be a stickler, either, but the general term is not "old English" but...

olde English.


it is old to us.

July 4, 2016 at 2:04 PM

I've lived in houses older than the USA.

We have houses in the old village dating back to the early 1600's and a castle at the end of our main road that has been continually occupied for more than 1000 years, the last 450 years owned by the same family.

Where i live, we are spoiled with stately homes, old buildings,and a lot of history, Mesolithic and Neolithic artefacts have been found in the area surrounding Corby and human remains dating to the Bronze Age were found in 1970 at Cowthick.
We also have evidence of the first permanent settlement in the 8th century when the Danes decide to stay after their holidays ended :)

We also have a bucket load of fossils, especially where land was disturbed from all the quarrying.
It is neat knowing that umpteen miilion years ago where i am sitting was at the bottom of the sea

You lot are still babes in arms compared to the UK


Wyfe of Bathe said...

It maken myne harte rote to knowe I have hadde my worlde as in my tyme. :)

wyfe of bathe said...

I am delighted with Peter's skillful application of SA to these older variants of the language and I hope he will do more...whether with literature or statements made by queens, kings, etc.

Anonymous said...

Good reading in Ye Ole English is The Journal of George Fox. Nickalls edition.

Valencia said...

That does not appear to be written in olde english but if Im ever thinking of becoming a Quaker I will check it out.

Nic said...

Valencia said:
Shakespeare did not write in Old English--he wrote in Elizabethan English,

Peter said:
not to be a stickler, either, but the general term is not "old English" but...
olde English.

Thank you Valencia and Peter.

Indeed, not only my son's Grade 5 class perform A Midsummer Night's dream (combination drama and English class which was presented to parents during Education Week) they were also responsible for creating their own costumes -- from items they already had at home. His teacher was very strict about that. My son dressed up as "Link" for Halloween the year before which meant he had the elf-like ears already. The rest of his costume was a t-shirt and plaid shorts and sandals.

It was a brilliant production!!

Nic said...

Quite frequently when reading "statements of persuasion" I think:

"The lady doth protest too much, me thinks."

rjb said...

Every time I read Romeo and Juliet, I find myself fuming at them, "Make better choices!" Love-addled teenagers are not the wisest of persons, whatever time period they live in.

Valencia said...

It's disheartening to see that many seem to miss the point of the play, that many here seem to watch it like a bunch of scolding counselors.
It's funny...I actually went to see the play Dido (& Aeneas) with my friend and her mother who is a psychologist and had to listen the whole ride home to her mother ranting about what did she even see in him?....what an unhealthy choice of partner due to the "incompatability"....
Why do we rob these masterpieces of their beauty by doing this type of rationalizing? We end up missing the point.

Nic said...

Why do we rob these masterpieces of their beauty by doing this type of rationalizing? We end up missing the point.

Because for some, human nature/behaviour is more relatable than a "masterpiece"of literature (subjective), which is "a" point, just not yours.


Nic said...


'Extremely careless,' but FBI advises no charges for Clinton's emails

"Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information," Comey said in a 15-minute statement explaining the investigation, "our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case."

Coincidentally, hours later, Obama is on the trail with Clinton

"I believe in Hillary Clinton"

Valencia said...

Nic, evidently you misunderstood what I saying...I enjoyed Peter looking at the human nature of Romeo and Juliet...he was delving into the truth and beauty of the play. I was referring to some of the posters who are missing the meaning in the play by talking about Romeo and Juliet like scolding counselors.
Peter was helping get to the meaning in the play. BIG difference.

Nic said...

@ Valencia

When Shakespeare wrote his plays, they were for entertainment purposes. He enjoyed theatre and he enjoyed acting. Writing the plays meant he could act in them. I can't say for sure, but I think Shakespeare would be chuffed his plays were still well attended and appreciated for their intended purpose as well as flattered there were syllabuses and theses dedicated to his works.

Nic said...

Class on the Films of Keanu Reeves:

"I think Keanu typifies a kind of entropy which isn’t even capable of attaching itself to the asymmetry of mimicry."

"It’s a kind of a (subtext) you know, redundant expression of a pathological state within the generalized populous.”

Compare the above students' purpose to watching the films and their observation to the average theatre goer’s purpose to view the film/s and observation (whose I have not documented here).

Both approaches are valid and very different.

Valencia said...


So you are now rationalizing WHY Shakespeare even wrote his play?

I think the problem I have with condescending to Romeo and Juliet and saying they "made bad choices" etc is because it is just as bad as the warring families who did not think their love meant anything, and who caused the tragic demise of both Romeo and Juliet.
Peter was delving quite beautifully into the way in which Shakespeare illustrated human frailties, and even, somewhat the nature of love, and I found it greatly enriched my understanding if the play.
I wont be joining in with any psychological analysis of Romeo and Juliet's choices Im seeing in some comments. . Id prefer not to have Shakespeare's plays ruined for me thank you very much.

Valencia said...


No, youre wrong. The "wow they made bad choices" is the overintellectualized viewpoint...born of materialism and the most pseudo-intellectual science of all...psychology.

rjb said...

Valencia -

I would argue that Shakespeare would be quite pleased at knowing that his plays were analysed by over-intellectualised pseudo-intellectuals. :-) His plays are full of social commentary and tongue-in-cheek jabs at political and societal institutions, mores, and certain types of people.

He also recognised the power of the arts, particularly his own plays, to cause the viewer to ponder and evaluate human nature, human actions, even their own motivations and tendencies.

Consider Hamlet's speech to the actors:

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.
(Hamlet, act 3, scene 2, 17-24)

Or, earlier, "the play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king." (Hamlet, act 2, scene 2, 605.)

Shakespeare fully intended his works to shine a light on human nature and give his audience something to think about, rather than be mindless entertainment experienced solely for pleasure.

Romeo and Juliet is not a play about love. It is a play about choices and consequences. The fued between the Montagues and Capulets certainly fueled the desperate and hectic pace of Romeo and Juliet's romance; being told that one cannot have something desirable makes that thing even more desirable. But the couple died because they were starry-eyed adolescents who reacted to situations foolishly and immaturely, and because Romeo couldn't be bothered to check Juliet's pulse or hold his dagger under her nose to see if it fogged up due to her exhaling.

I find that I enjoy Shakespeare more when I look deeper into the meanings of his words and explore the psychology of his characters. Were they not such well-rounded, realistic characters, full of real personality with virtues and flaws of their own, his plays would not have endured the way that they have. Shakespeare understood, perhaps better than any writer ever published, what Jeeves would call "the psychology of the individual." Ignoring his efforts to communicate such deep commentary is doing him and his works a disservice.

Alexandra said...

rjb you wrote

Romeo and Juliet is not a play about love. It is a play about choices and consequences. The fued between the Montagues and Capulets certainly fueled the desperate and hectic pace of Romeo and Juliet's romance; being told that one cannot have something desirable makes that thing even more desirable. But the couple died because they were starry-eyed adolescents who reacted to situations foolishly and immaturely, and because Romeo couldn't be bothered to check Juliet's pulse or hold his dagger under her nose to see if it fogged up due to her exhaling. "

I think you're wrong. The play is about love and the fact that these 2 fell in love and that love played a role in these foolish choices they made, these irrational impulsive unwise choices, as in their young minds they were simply trying to be together above all else bc they were in love. If you take love out of the play, there would be no play.

rjb said...

Alexandra -

I didn't mean to imply that I think the love story aspect of Romeo and Juliet isn't crucial to the plot and should be disregarded out of hand. But it isn't the over-arcing point of the play. One isn't meant to come away from R&J thinking, "Oh, what a beautiful love story. I want to have a relationship like that one day!"

Alexandra said...


You said "R&J" was not about is about choices. You say love is not the overarching theme of the play. What is the main theme then? Making better choices? IMO, the "theme" is about how love influenced the choices these 2 made...the play is not meant to be viewed through the mindset of a New Age self-help manual. It's just not.

Habundia said...

Iam not familiar with R&J but when i read comments i would say its a play which playsout the basic of humans.....the need to be loved of to have love and in which many things can go wrong....wouldnt say that only teenagers make wrong choices when loves involved....there are many adults out there who time and time again make bad choices because of "love" i would say its a story about very human things in life.....and if you are using can not use psychology....because humans are part psychological....if you agree or not...thats just fact......and i would have to agree that one who writes such indept story about human nature happenings....i can not believe they wouldnt want their work to be diqussed over......they would be trilled to see how anyone is viewing their work.....and explaining it in their own view of the world and their lifes