By Xu | January 16, 2013
Did you know that Shakespeare’s famous quote “wherefore art thou Romeo?” does not mean that Juliet is asking where Romeo is? I certainly didn’t. To further explain this discovery, I attempt to apply it to my life at OSU.
In asking “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” Juliet is essentially lamenting why he has to be a Montague. The phrase can be roughly translated as “why are you Romeo,” with “wherefore” referring to “why.” This is news to me, because I had always believed that Juliet was questioning where her lover was so that he could save her. I also realized that I wrongly quoted the phrase for years, saying “where art thou” instead.
After being hit with this newsflash, I started to question how these two phrases would be used in modern day if people still spoke in the style of the 16th century. Then I realized that I could apply them to my own life and to the situations I have encountered on campus. Below, I dictate some instances I have put Shakespeare’s words to use:
When I need to do laundry but am too lazy: “where art thou, mom and dad?”
When I try to study for finals, but find myself glued to my phone instead: “my concentration, where art thou?”
When I spend an entire Saturday afternoon doing physics homework: “wherefore art thou so long?”
When I run into a person I have been trying to avoid: “wherefore art thou the-person-I-don’t-want-to-see?”
My life is actually not as melodramatic as the above lamentations would have you believe. Maybe the reason we do not talk in this manner anymore is because the words are far too fancy for our ordinary lives (my life at least).
Well, this has been a random spurt of creativity on a mid-afternoon. I hope I have enlightened some, but apologize if this blog post is too educational for you. Using old language is an aftereffect of taking my first English class at OSU, apparently. I intend to put my newfound realization of the literary arts to more use in the future.