Critic’s Corner: Shakespearean tips for tragic relationships

MAGGIE PAWSEY
CRITIC’S CORNER COLUMNIST

(To be read in your best English accent)

‘Twas but a fortnight past, I was honored to have witnessed a certain video from Servants of the Savior — perhaps you, too, had the pleasure of seeing it? ‘Twas entitled “Romeo and Juliet go to Sadies,” and if you have a moment, please, do yourself the favor of watching it on Thoutube and then returneth unto our discussion at hand.

Friends (Romans, countrymen, etc.), this humble advertisement hath sparked the fire of inspiration in the dry bones of my soul. Quoth one Servant of our Savior, “Sadly, Sadie Hawkins dance could not save this tragic love story. But! Sadie Hawkins dance could save your tragic love story.”

And alas, poor Yorick, as I reflected upon my own tragic (nonexistent) love story, thought I, “Whom better to turn to for romantic advice than the Bard himself?” So, credit to the humble Servants! And without much more ado about nothing, I introduce unto you, dear reader:

Tips that might not have saved Shakespearean characters’ tragic love stories, but could save yours:

1. Couples who slay together do not stay together

Lady and Lord Macbeth may have been the best power couple to have ever graced the stage, but perhaps they’re not as much the embodiment of relationship goals as we’d like to think. Yes, they confide in each other and encourage each other toward greatness (A+ communication, to be sure), but things fall apart when they become more focused on power than on their romance.

If you and your significant other don’t seem to be on the same page when it comes to what you want out of life, maybe obtaining a sketchy prophecy from some witches and plotting to kill the king isn’t the best idea. Try counseling.

2. Save the family drama for your mama (and keep your girlfriend out of it)

If, like Hamlet, you’ve begun to suspect your uncle killed your dad just so he could take over the kingdom and marry your mom, it’s understandable that you’d be stressed (and perhaps going a little mad). But before you go insulting all of womankind to your girlfriend’s face, consider working out your problems with your mother directly. And try to avoid killing your girlfriend’s father — that’s never a good move.

3. If she’s the woman of your dreams, listen to hers

Literally — if your wife is telling you not to go to the Roman Senate today, LISTEN TO HER. Despite your ambitions and your plans to go out with the guys, if your significant other is having awful dreams about your death, maybe stay at home just this once. Julius Caesar had to learn this the hard way.

Trust is a huge part of relationships, and it’s good to know that your significant other will never stab you in the back (especially if you can’t say the same about your friends). So, take time to get to know one another, and trust that they have your best interests at heart.

4. Love means death to self, but don’t take that literally

Die to yourself by sacrificing your own desire and choosing what’s best for the other person, even if what’s best isn’t you! Don’t actually die over a three-day-old relationship. Memento mori, by all means, but there’s no need to be so dramatic.

She might be the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen, and his words might be sweeter than a rose by any other name, but it’s good to take things slow. Romeo and Juliet had a lot going on in their lives even before they met each other, and sometimes you have to take a step back from the relationship to get your personal issues figured out.

And there you have it. Learn from their mistakes. Go and find success in love. Or just stay single — you have a far better chance of surviving the play!

I would still like to do a column of book suggestions — with your help, dear reader. What books or stories have rocked your world, challenged the way you think? If you could suggest one book or work of literature (movie, play, poem, song, etc.) to anyone, what would it be and why? Send your reply in a few sentences to troub@franciscan.edu and see if you make it to print in a future column!

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