ROMEO AND JULIET: Harvest time Human eat human flesh By Shakespeare (Emilia Bassano) Having established with the other play Titus Andronicus the symbolic framework of her work as an extension and counterattack to Emperor/General Titus of Rome and his Gospels in the NT, Emilia then ‘branched’ out. Though she often used Titus as a type for her characters, she never again made such an overt, obvious attack against him. Instead, she often employed subtle subtexts and wordplay to make her characters into ‘Antetypes’ of the Flavian villains. She wished to make the point that the Gentiles, who had ruled through ‘divine Right’ throughout Christendom’s history, shared Titus guilt in the use of a false religion to maintain their power. This nobility had not only waged a general persecution of her race and religion since Titus, but had murdered Christopher Marlowe, her lover, mentor and friend for exposing the secret of Christianity. And for this Emilia gets her revenge in literature as the ghost writer of Shakespeare’s plays. Typically, the Gentile royalty depicted in the Shakespearean plays are cursed with the same unwitting cannibalism that was inflicted in Titus Andronicus. With her typology (basing a character upon another), Emilia reversed Titus cannibalistic curse (Eucharist/ manna-feast) on the Jews and put it on the Gentiles. Romeo and Juliet is an excellent example of this cannibalistic reversal. As with virtually all of the Shakespearean plays, the plot of Romeo and Juliet was derived from prior works but she tweet and twist to her own delight. The primary source was Arthur Brooke’s Romeo and Juliet, which used essentially the same plot. Brooke’s poem was first published in 1562 and reprinted in 1587, eight years before the first performance of Romeo & Juliet. One of the major changes in the version of the story attributed to Shakespeare was the compression of the storyline’s timeline from several months in the original to 4 days in Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is one of the most beloved plays in the English language and is seen as beautiful but tragic story of an ill-fated love affair. However, its real meaning is a satire that reverses the Gospel’s humor regarding the Jew’s cannibalism of the Messiah on the Passover which is the triumph of sin and evil over good. At the conclusion of the play, the gentile nobility are turned into bread. And this occurs, not on the Passover, but near the Christian feast day of the ‘Consecrated Bread’. Romeo & Juliet is one of Shakespearean plays that take place in the region of Italy from which Emilia Bassano’s family emigrated. Shakespeare’s focus upon this region has been a mystery, but now it can be explained. The Bassanos had lived in the area around Venice for generations, and Emilia would have either traveled to the region or learned enough about it from her family to be able to write about it in such detail. In fact the volume of the plays set in the area were like the number of the moors in the play, a clue left by the author as to her identity. By leaving such clues, Emilia was mirroring the clues left by Titus in the gospels. Also recall that many of the Bassano also came from Morocco in Africa being founded by a Black Moor in 1062 by Yusuf Ibn Tashifin laying its foundation. It’s from this mixture she might of received the nickname of the dark lady in Shakespeare’s sonnets. And while in England she may have secretly read the Koran. In her poem Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum she states that a Queen when in my Glasse she daines her selfe to see”. Queen of Sheba meeting with Solomon describes the floor as glass in the Koran 27:44 and doesn’t in the bible 1 Kings 10:1-13. If she would have been found out to read the Koran or practice Judaism she would have been executed in England during her lifetime. But that’s another story. As with so many of the plays, Romeo & Juliet harbors enigmas that have resisted all attempts at literary analysis. On the surface, the play seems to represent a senseless tragedy, as hasty but well-intentioned plans are continually going horribly awry. Titus tried to fool the Jews by creating a divine show’ that featured a ‘Jesus’ who seemingly rose from the dead, but was really the Emperor himself. Once it is understood that the playwright is playing off of Titus’s deception then it becomes clear what Romeo is referring to when he appears to come back from the dead and says: “I dreamt… that I revived and was an emperor (V, 1, 6-9). The author is typologically linking Romeo to Titus/Jesus who seemed to have died but was ‘revived’. To completely clarify Romeo’s-whose name plays on this theme-linkage to the Caesars, he is described as the heir of ‘Tiberio’, obviously indicating Tiberius (Luke 3:1) Nurse He is the son and heir of old Tiberio (I, 5, 129 The name of Romeo’s servant, ‘Balthsar’, was the name ascribed in the Middle Ages to one of the three wise men who brought gifts to the new born Messiah in the Gospels, thus contributing to the theme connecting Romeo with Jesus. It was also the name given to the prophet Daniel by the gentiles. This helps with the understanding of the character’s hidden Jewish identity and begins to establish the play’s relationship to the prophecies of Daniel. Juliet’s birthday is also part of the play’s broad reversal of the Gospels satirical system. Juliet was born July 31-Lammas Eve, the day before Lammastide, The Christian feast day that is the most similar to Passover. It was held every August first and, like Passover, was a feast that featured the eating of consecrated bread. The term Lammas derives from the words loaf and mass and refers to the consecration of the bread made from the first fruits of the Harvest. Romeo and Juliet builds towards its dramatic cannibalistic conclusion during the Lammastide season as a Jewish parody of the Gospels building their cannibalistic conclusion at Passover. The following passage reverses the usage of Daniel’s prophecies in the New Testament. In Romeo and Juliet, Daniel’s prophecies envision the Gentile’s destruction at the play’s end, rather than the Jews. Notice in the passage that Juliet’s birthday is mentioned three times. The highlighting by repetition of concepts particularly important to the satirical level was a technique the author borrowed from the gospels: for example, the key word “soudarion” is repeated thrice in the description of Jesus tomb. The numbers 14 and 11 (associated with Daniel prophecies) are also repeated, and that the nurse’s deceased husband makes a prophecy regarding Juliet-that she would “fall backwards” when she has “more wit”=when she reached her 14 birthday: Lady Capulet She’s not Fourteen Nurse I’ll lay 14 of my teeth- And yet, to my teeth be it spoken, I have but four- She is not fourteen. How long is it now To Lammas-Tide? Lady Capulet A fortnight and odd days Nurse Even or odd, of all days in the year Come Lammas-Eve at night shall she be fourteen… Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit Josephus in War of the Jews falsified the prophecies of Daniel to show Hoi polloi that the Roman’s destruction of the Jews had been ordained by God. The above passage (Romeo & Juliet I,3, 11-48) cleverly reverses this and is a spoof of the Gospels and War of the Jews improbable linkage of Daniel’s prophecies to the Jewish feast day of the Passover. The spoof is created by linking the time spans of 14 and 11 years to a prophecy regarding the Christian holy day of Lammastide. In the bible, Daniel’s prophecies were presented in time spans of “weeks”, which are periods of seven years. The fact that Juliet will be exactly 14 years old on the upcoming feast of Lammastide indicates that this will be the closing of the second week-the second period of seven years. To reeves the falsifation of Daniel’s prophesies, the nurse in the play indicates that at the mid point of the previous week, in other words 11 years ago, a disaster had occurred-the earthquake that led to Juliet’s breaking “he brow”. On that portentous day, the nurse’s deceased husband had made a prediction concerning Juliet-that she would “fall backwards”-indicating she will die-once she has “some wit”. As this comes to pass at the play’s end, this fulfilled prophecy satirically reverses the fictitious Daniel prophecies described by Josephus and the gospels so that in Romeo & Juliet Daniel is envisioning the destruction of the gentiles not the Jews. The dove house was shaken as a spoof of the use of doves in the gospel to designate the messiah as in Matthew 3:16. The application of the prophecies of Daniel in the Gospels and War of the Jews and those foolish enough to believe them. The clearest representation of the coming cannibalism on Lammastide occurs in another of Romeo’s statements as he enters the Tomb Romeo Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth, Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open, And, in despite, I’ll cram thee with more food. Perhaps the wittiest example of the wordplay concerning cannibalism is a theme that runs throughout the play regarding “Joints”. The author begins her punning on the word ‘joint” in the following passage in which Juliet’s father instructs her to take her “joints” to the Church, and then refers to her as “Carrion”-(dead body for animals to eat) Capulet: How now, chop-logic! What is this? Proud, and I thank you, and I thank you not; And yet not proud, mistress minion, you Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds But fettle your fine joints (Recall Mary’s fine/good portion Luke 10) gainst Thursday next To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church, Or I will drag thee on a hurdle-thither Out, you green-sickness Carrion! Out you Baggage You tallow-face (III 5, 149-157) The author then builds upon the theme in the following passage in which Juliet envisions playing madly with joints at her family Tomb (IV, 3, 46-57) The theme becomes completely clarified in the following passage in which Romeo foresees the strewing of Joints and Limbs throughout a hungry churchyard. It must be remembered that the Flavian satirical system indicated that the Jewish Messiah was “pruned”-that is his limbs were taken off-and eaten by his followers. In Romeo and Juliet this grim joke was reversed back upon the gentile’s royal family. Romeo: In what I further shall intend to do, By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs (V, 3, 36) Having established the punning theme on “Joint”, the author delivers the punch line at the conclusion of the play. In the following passage, Juliet’s father asks for Montague’s “hand”, calling it his daughter’s “jointure” (Dowry) Capulet: O brother Montague, give me your hand. This is my daughter’s jointure For no more can I demand (V, 3, 296-298) The satire of cannibalism in Shakespeare literature is taken to perhaps the highest metaphorical pitch in Romeo & Juliet. The first fruits in Romeo & Juliet are punning substance, the “flower”-that is “flour” of youth. Juliet and Romeo are incorporated-made into One body and flesh-in the marriage service. They shall not stay alone, Til Holy church incorporate two into one (II, 6, 37). This metaphorical logic continues with Juliet’s father who is opposed to the marriage stating: “God’s bread! It makes me mad” (III, 5, 18). The list of “Flours” for the Lammastide “Bread” includes; the handsome but weak “flower” of Romeo; the “Sweetest flower” (IV, 5, 28); Juliet, now “Deflowered” (IV, 5, 37) although she was not really “ripe”; Paris who is “a flower”, in very faith a flower (I, 3, 78); Mercutio who is the flower known as a “pink” (II 4, 60) and has already been “peppered” and Juliet’s relative Tybalt, who may belong to a Floral family, but is “Green in earth” (IV, 3, 42). From the tomb, the various bodies will provide the “flour” for the feast of Lammastide. The Playwright is simply reversing the “Joint” and “bread” humor of the Gospels that concluded on the Passover, with a gentile version of the story that concludes on their feast day of the consecrated bread.