Well yes, we have no idea what she might have looked like originally when she was probably a young and pretty boy dressed as a girl on the London stage (16th century London: original den of sin and good times).
However, since I am newly in love with Claire Danes in Homeland, here she is, perfectly cast, as a young, wholesome Juliet with a cheeky glimmer about her.
I’ve been working on tutoring prep tonight for my students’ exams next week, which meant re-reading Romeo and Juliet. I now feel I could sit an exam on this play. I mean, I may not get an A, but I think I could pass. Reading Shakespeare for my uni finals made me fall, big time, for his cynical political wranglings (Julias Caesar) and eccentric, liberal, cross-dressing comedies (12th Night! Love) but I’d always thought of Romeo and Juliet as a bit gaudy and shallow. How shallow I was. Its amazing (I know, everyone knows that already). Juliet is a character with some serious poker face: assured, duplicitous, determined. Her declarations of love for Romeo are eerie and lovely:
‘Come, loving black brow’d night, give me my Romeo, and when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun’.
It’s all very intense, just as star-crossed loving should be. Just before Romeo sets eyes on her for the first time, his friends tell him that he talks of love as if it wasn’t tender. ‘Is love a tender thing?’ he asks. We can just feel some bloody demise on its way…
Toward the end a minor character sombrely warns, ‘for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring’. Its a shivery moment.
Here’s the moment that starts it all: