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benvolio's verse speech in romeo and juliet

 
 
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2011 06:11 am
Why does Shakespeare use capital letters in the middle of a sentence e.g. Quarrel, Tilts, Peircing, Martiall etc. as in benvolio's lines below:

Tybalt, here slaine, whom Romeo's hand did slay;
Romeo that spoke him faire, bade him bethinke
How nice the Quarrel was, and urg’d withall
Your high displeasure: all this uttered,
With gentle breath, calme looke, knees humbly bow'd,
Could not take truce with the unruly spleene
Of Tybalts deafe to peace, but that he Tilts
With Peircing steele at bold Mercutio's breast,
Who all as hot, turnes deadly point to point,
And with a Martiall scorne, with one hand beates
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Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2011 06:21 am
Why Shakespeare in particular used capitals in that way would be impossible to say. However, one can say with confidence that for literally centuries, people writing in the English language capitalized substantives as a matter of course. Perhaps this was a means of drawing the reader's attention to the idea respresented by the substantive. So, for example, writing almost two hundred years later, the framers of the United States constitution wrote this preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I know some people allege that this comes from the Germanic roots of our langauge. I doubt that. When Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Danes invaded the island of Britain, most of them (nearly all of them) were illiterate. The language used by Shakespeare at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century, and used by the committee who wrote the text of the constitution at the end of the 18th century were all removed by more than a thousand years from the Germanic origins of our language

I suggest to you that this is just a means of emphasizing certain substantives. Note that it is not only substantives, either. There were not hard and fast rules about capitalization, spelling, punctuation in English.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2011 07:00 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Why Shakespeare in particular used capitals in that way would be impossible to say. However, one can say with confidence that for literally centuries, people writing in the English language capitalized substantives as a matter of course. Perhaps this was a means of drawing the reader's attention to the idea respresented by the substantive. So, for example, writing almost two hundred years later, the framers of the United States constitution wrote this preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I know some people allege that this comes from the Germanic roots of our langauge. I doubt that. When Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Danes invaded the island of Britain, most of them (nearly all of them) were illiterate. The language used by Shakespeare at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century, and used by the committee who wrote the text of the constitution at the end of the 18th century were all removed by more than a thousand years from the Germanic origins of our language

I suggest to you that this is just a means of emphasizing certain substantives. Note that it is not only substantives, either. There were not hard and fast rules about capitalization, spelling, punctuation in English.
Without wishing to deny your thought on the matter; the Virtues for which good government always seek are not simply names, but Proper Nouns....Each person must have justice, for example, but for that to happen their must first be Justice as a quality and a concept... What we must accept that these are only moral forms having no more reality than those in need of them give to them...

It could be that capitals were in Shakespeare's verse a guide to inflection.... As a whole, the story very much illustrates an age that was hardly finished when Shakespeare wrote of it, of feuds and vengeance and the struggle of law to achieve power over individual action... We cannot imagine in our day an Othelo killing his wife for his injured honor, and yet that world lives fast to our own... Honor to us is as meaningless as love... I trust that love has always existed as a means of treaty, as a method of settling feuds, but the thread of honor wove all people together once, and may yet again.. It was common currency..
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2011 07:12 am
@Fido,
As usual, you're as chock full of **** as an old outhouse.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2011 12:32 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

As usual, you're as chock full of **** as an old outhouse.
Yard bird!!!
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