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date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

How are art, love, and politics related to each other in Romeo and Juliet? Building on Adorno’s cautious linking of the lyric poem to society, and on Badiou’s inclusion of love (along with politics, art and science) among his truth procedures, this chapter explores the play’s association of love with art, paying special attention to the pilgrim sonnet. It then goes on to discuss the Friar as a (failed) political mediator between the individual ‘event’ of Romeo and Juliet’s love and the broader transformation of society. The chapter then argues that the anonymous, illiterate serving-man (from whom Romeo learns about the Capulet feast) points us towards the many accidents of birth that demand political redress in Verona. There is more waste of life, love, and talent than is represented simply by the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Only when we recognize this general waste, and our own responsibility to redress it, can we do justice to the play’s imbrication of love, politics and art.

Keywords: Romeo and Juliet, art, love, event, politics, accidents of birth

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