Rosenbaum’s Shakespeare Wars continues to be the most serendipitous book I’ve ever read. By that I mean that I’m never quite sure when I’ll turn the page into a new chapter and he’ll be talking about something I was just talking about two days ago. In this case it’s the “When I shall die” line (as opposed to “When he shall die”) that we talked about last month. Certainly it’s supposed to be “Give me my Romeo, and when he shall die, cut him out in little stars….” rather than the version Luhrman gives us, “When I shall die, cut him out in little stars….” After all, if he’s not dead, why are you cutting him up? Oddly, though, my googling showed that most Shakespeare versions do in fact have it as I, not he. Rosenbaum gets to this near the end of his book, speaking of a trip to Bermuda. He even points out that most editors do indeed go with the “he” version (which is apparently Fourth Quarto) because the “I” version makes no sense. And what Rosenbaum offers (not his own hypothesis, but rather one he heard, though I do not have the book handy to quote the original author) immediately makes sense to me, I’m just not sure if I love or hate it. He goes back to the more bawdy version of “die”, namely “orgasm”. He says that Juliet, a mere 13 yrs old and not married, is to put it bluntly thinking about wedding sex, and how good it’s going to be. You have to admit, if you make that little word translation, it still fits. Now you’ve got an anxious young girl, in love but also certainly in lust, waiting for that big moment when … ummm….hmm, how can we say this and keep it clean? Shall we say, when she gets to consummate her marriage? It’s going to be so good, she tells herself, that all she’ll see are stars, and her Romeo. (I’m not sure when all the rest of the world comes into it, though?) I love it because it works, pretty much. It’s somewhat crude, it’s the sort of thing you don’t talk about when you talk about the story like it’s the greatest love story ever told, but sex is certainly a part of that type of love, and it’s certainly believable that a virginal bride-to-be is contemplating what it will be like. (Now that I’ve seen that interpretation, other parts begin to fall into place – “I have bought the mansion of a love, but not possessed it, and though I am sold, not yet enjoyed”???) I hate it because it destroys what I consider to be one of the most romantic lines in the entire play. It’s an opportunity for Juliet to explain how much Romeo means to her. Normally it’s the guy spouting all the poetry and the “You’re my world” stuff. Sometimes it’s nice to hear it back the other way. What would Juliet do without Romeo? She would repaint the heavens in his image, and the rest of world would say, “Wow, yeah, we like that better. Who is that guy?” 🙂 Thoughts? Nobody mentioned the sex interpretation the first time we discussed that line, so I’m curious if it is a popular interpretation.