The Red Cap on a visit to Romeo and Juliet
Like so many millions of tourists before us, we shuffle down the streets of Verona, me bobbing on the head of my rubber-necked moron, towards the abode of the most famous lovers of all time; Romeo and Juliet (discounting of course Tristan and Isolde, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, Orpheus and Eurydice, Pyramus and Thisbe and thousands of other unknown young lovers who have, out of stupidity, died for love or lust.)
We enter the famous courtyard from whence young Romeo supposedly wooed his young love, standing starry eyed on the balcony above. And there she is, the beauty in all her splendour. Pure, innocent youth of a girl cast in bronze, not on the balcony but in the garden where she can be admired, looked at and touched by all. And touch they do, the morons. Especially the right breast seems to be irresistible for the brainless retards. It shines like polished armour from all the enamoured pawing. Fortunately my moron has no inclination to touch said breast. If he dared do it, I would have strangled the bastard. But is seems my good, superior moral influence is slowly starting to seep through his thick scull. I will yet make a decent man out of him. He did however, push through the throng of exited tourists and plonked me down on the lovely head of the beautiful Juliet. Again I did not mind, to the contrary, I loved it because I was immediately the centre of attention as cameras started flashing to eternalise me, the famous Red Cap’s epic visit to this lovely lady. I silently recited Shakespeare:
“See, my lord, Would you not deem it breathed? And that those veins did verily bear blood? … The very life seems warm upon her lip … The fixture of her eye has motion in’t … There is an air comes from her: What fine chisel could ever yet cut breath? … The ruddiness upon her lips is wet …”
Yes, yes I know it is the description of Hermione coming back to life in “A Winter’s Tale”, but it is so appropriate, so fitting. I almost started to cry.
Strange though, there is no statue to honour Romeo, the hapless, murderous hero of the tragic, soppy story.
But, to my expert eye there is something seriously amiss here. The statue is that of a beautiful, mature lady with soft and tender breasts (thus the pawing?), long hair and full sensuous lips. A proud and perfect specimen of the female form so admired by men of all ages.
What then, is the problem you ask? This is a very moving, romantic story about true and eternal love betwixt two young people, you say? Not so, say I. It is not. It is a sordid story of love between a murderer and a child. And it gets even worse.
Consider this: Juliet’s father Capulet gave his consent for his daughter to be married to Paris, but ask him to postpone the wedding because Juliet is not yet fourteen years old! For heavens’ sake, she is a mere child of thirteen, not the mature lady as depicted by the statue. The statue is a lie to embezzle you to believe in the purity and sacredness of this scandalous union. And to make a bad story even worse, a priest dramatically enters the stage and secretly marries the couple, knowing that Juliet is a mere child of thirteen. And just when you believe it could not get any worse, this same priest goes off and arrange for Romeo to secretly spend a night of passion (read sex) with this innocent, love besotted child.
What sort of priest does a horrific thing like that, I ask you. But then again, priests through all the ages have been doing pretty horrendous things to other people as part of their sacred duty to their gods. So I believe that this misguided, meddling fool was not so rare a specimen of that creed of men you fools so erroneously insist on calling holy. And as usual this holy meddling results in bloody disaster, the violent deaths of four young fools. And for what? Hatred? Love? More likely lust, considering the brute animals the human race, after all these millions of years of evolution, still seems to be. Unrefined and driven by their bestial appetites, and forever in the grip of the asinine stupidity of the human condition. I am not impressed.
But we must remember, this is a story, pure fiction told by a master story maker. One of the best. And this brings another twist to the story. According to my information, William Shakespeare was strongly influenced by Sufism (“Taming of the Shrew”, I believe, is based on a Sufi parable), and it is speculated that he might have been a member of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. If this is so, it means that there is more to the story than it seems. It is possible that the inclusion of the child bride was deliberate, mocking his audiences’ vulgar, unconscious attitudes towards life in general, and sex in particular. But instead of waking up to their stupidity, and realising that he was making a fool of them, they showered him with praise and glory. How I love the man. I think I will join the Brotherhood myself, and someday have seven red roses on my tomb, just like my hero, William Shakespeare.
We reluctantly leave the scene of the crime, we leave beautiful Verona and retreat to our hotel in Peschiera to regroup, recuperate and prepare for our trek to Venice, the other Italian city of romance and love eternal.