In a slightly early celebration of Valentines’ Day, Dr. Carlos Campo led a discussion of Romeo and Juliet for the Library Book Club on February 9th. Fifty students, faculty, and staff from Regent and CBN turned out to enjoy Dr. Campo’s trademark erudition and humor.
In an introduction to his mini-lecture on Rome and Juliet, Dr. Campo gave an overview of the life and career of William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon and invited any Oxfordians among the audience to make an appointment should they wish to make their case.
Dr. Campo, who holds a Ph.D. in English with a specialization in drama, taught literature and theatre for many years, and this dual emphasis was apparent in his illumination of the play. In discussing Act II, scene ii (the “balcony” scene), for example, Dr. Campo pointed to some often overlooked lines near the end of the scene that exemplify Shakespeare’s mimetic power:
Juliet At what o’clock to-morrow
Shall I send to thee?
Romeo At the hour of nine.
Juliet I will not fail; ’tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.
Romeo Let me stand here till thou remember it.
Juliet I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
Remembering how I love thy company.
Romeo And I’ll still stay, to have thee still forget,
Forgetting any other home but this.
The crucial verb in this exchange is “forget.” So overcome with love for Romeo is Juliet that she forgets why she called him back to the balcony. Yet, “I have forgot [my lines]” is something no good actor should ever say! By making this inside joke to fellow members of the acting profession, Shakespeare also underscores the extraordinary naturalism of his depiction of romantic love.