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Notes On the Notes On The Scandal

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Message Mark Sashine
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(Article changed on October 21, 2012 at 09:03)


(sideways   essay)


An overwhelming   majority of first sexual contacts between the    teenagers   are in fact rapes even if those are never reported as such.


There, I said it.   I   had just watched the movie   "Notes   On The Scandal' in which a   woman- teacher   has an affair with a teenage boy somewhere in England.   The woman is played by Kate Blanchett. Judy Dench co -- stars as an old spinster- teacher with lesbian tendencies.   The affair was discovered, the   woman went   to   jail,   life went   on. That's in a nutshell.   Before going deeper I would like to   recruit a powerful ally- Bill Shakespeare himself or rather   his   protagonists Romeo and Juliet. They will help me as always.


As   Juliet's age is defined   in a play explicitly   (her father   says that she   is not   less than 14 years old), our dear Western theatrical folks    in an attempt to avoid Romeo being charged   for a statutory rape   usually rise her age and lower his. They make those two a pair of horny teenagers with   raging hormones,   candidates either for Prozac or for a Twilight Zone. As a result   we watch an American Pie story   happening in Verona, Italy. The   spectators from the Elizabethan times would have   thrown rotten apples at such a nonsense. They knew their time and Bill S. knew that too.


Yes, Virginia , Juliette was about 13.5 years old. Her mother gave birth to her   at even   more tender age.   In those times it was quite a normal thing; people matured earlier as personalities and died earlier too. They could not afford   sex education   classes and   waiting for the prom night to lose their   virginity. A man was to   assume   the men's responsibilities at 18, the age when he could handle a sword and a woman- she should be able   to bear children. Mind you,   old Capulet,   Juliette's father   (a man of about 35- 40) was progressive- he considered that 16 would be an ideal age for his daughter to become a wife.


It is   that   very Capulet who    gives us some clues about Romeo. For some strange reason   he, the mortal enemy of   Montagues, the Romeo's family,   pays   tribute to a young man, calls him   wise and righteous,   mentions   that Romeo was respected in Verona   for   his politeness and   good deeds and adamantly   rebukes his nephew Tybalt when that one wants to expose Romeo who   covertly   joined   to the Capulet's annual    ball.   That tells us two things: that Romeo was considered a mature adult- that places him at the age   18 or more and-   that Capulet maybe would not mind deep in his   heart if somehow that obviously   honorable youngster would   become a part of his family and thus   stop the stupid feud which led to so   many deaths. Then we find out from Romeo's friends that he already had    passions and that he    (inadvertently) was considered among the young men as   an unofficial leader: they were a daring bunch   but they all respected him more than a friend; they respected him as an older and wiser person. His friend Mercutio   deliberately   and   very   respectfully   makes sure he    is   protected from possible   immediate   risks, sort of presuming that Romeo is there for something outstanding. Romeo himself, from the moment when he appears on the stage presents himself as a man of   a powerful confidence,   honorable but not violent, protective   but not   pig- headed, educated, very caring about his friends   and possessing   some kind of authority which comes only with experience and personality. Romeo is a true good man of his time and that puts him   in the age of about 21   or so. Then it all falls into place: a   young, but fully mature man   woes a   woman   of the   childbearing age to   become his wife.   That simple.


  One particular   idea    shines through the whole play: Romeo, Juliet and   ALL    personalities   are absolutely and unequivocally fearless.   They   have no fear in their hearts; their behavior is utterly natural. Juliet   appears to be   up to the challenge to fall in love and defend   the feeling. Her intentions are honorable   from    the beginning to the end: she pursues   love, marries a man she loves, then rejects the idea of deceiving God in a second marriage, joins willingly the plot    to reunite with her true husband and when finding out about    the tragic   mistake -- kills herself.   Not only that set of events   is   entirely honest and honorable- she is courageous beyond   belief.   Juliet rises in her last moments to the heights of   Biblical heroines.

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The writer is 67 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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