Saturday, January 01, 2005


While reading an online forum about novel writing, someone said that their pet peeve was archaic (quote: "big, olden day" words) language, such as (and this is a quote: "Where for out though or whatever"). I can only presume they meant "wherefore art thou," from Romeo and Juliet.

Which made me think of something. I wonder how many people know that "wherefore" actually means "why"? Juliet is not asking where Romeo is -- she's asking why Romeo is who he is...that is, why he's a Montague, and therefore supposed to be her mortal enemy.

The actual line is, "Romeo, Romeo -- wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet." (That is my own punctuation -- but I am the person who out-Shakespeare-quoted the Evil Leprechaun. ;-) In other words, you can be fairly certain of the words, if not the commas. :-)

Basically, Juliet says, "Romeo, why are you you? Renounce your family -- but if you won't, just promise you'll love me and I'll renounce my family."

Just a mini-lesson from someone who was (a) horrified that a wannabe writer couldn't at least render the quote somewhat accurately and (b) thinking of all the kids in all the sitcoms that phrase that line as if they're looking for poor-missing-Romeo.

Oh -- and there's going to be a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy move -- which I don't much care about, except that that was the first computer game I ever played, on my dad's 8088, in which game play consisted of typing "walk to the window" and reading the computer's description of what you saw out there. And you always brought your razor, or something, from your shaving kit to the pub, 'cause you'd need it...or something....

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