Sunday, May 1, 2011

Promus - 17 Romeo and Juliet - Art of forgetting

Part 2 - Parallels between Bacon's Promus and Romeo and Juliet
(with special emphasis on Promus Folio 112)

Part 2k

R&J  Act 2.3.27-42

 (As Romeo walks home from his balcony scene with Juliet, he comes across Friar Lawrence).    

Referring now to the line [34] by Friar Lawrence:

"Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign."

From Bacon's Promus entry 1207 (Folio 112):

"Albada; golden sleep"

Comment: "Golden sleep" echoes the same expression in above line by the Friar. "Albada" becomes relevant later, which will be explained.

And from Promus entry 1227 (Folio 112):

"Well to forget"

Comment:  We have already discussed this entry in connection with Romeo and Juliet lingering after saying goodnight. We have seen also two entries about the "Art of forgetting". Earlier in the play, 1.1.223-4 & 235, this exchange had occurred

Benevolio:  Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her [Rosaline]
Romeo:      O teach me how I should forget to think.
                 Farewell, thou cans't not teach me to forget.

This looks like another attempt to apply the Art of forgetting. It was unsuccessful then, but Romeo had evidently succeeded by 2.3.42 where he tells the Friar: "I have forgot that name [Rosaline] and that name's woe".

To summarize this point, Promus entries 114 and 1227 are "Well to forget"; entry 403 is "The Art of forgetting"; and entry 1168 is "Art of forgetting". The wisdom sometimes of forgetting things is a Shake-Speare theme. It appears not only in Romeo And Juliet, but also in As You Like It 1.2.3-6: "Unless you teach me to forget a banished father, you must not learn me to remember any extraordinary pleasure". So it seems that both Bacon and Shake-Speare regarded forgetting as an art which could be taught. See also The Winter's Tale 5.1. There Leontes is tortured by the belief that he has killed Hermione. Cleomenes advises him: "Do as the Heavens have done, forget you evil; / With them, forgive yourself".

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