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Haltrin-Khalturina E.V. Two Wooers and their Sonnets: On Poetic Forms in Romeo and Juliet. Studia Litterarum, 2017, vol. 2, no 3, pp. 94–117. (In Russ.) DOI:10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-3-94-117

Author: E.V. Haltrin-Khalturina
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Elena V. Haltrin-Khalturina, DSc in Philology, PhD in English (USA), Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, Moscow 121069, Russia. Е-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: February 28, 2017
Published: September 25, 2017
Issue: 2017 Vol. 2, №3
Department: World Literature
Pages: 94-117

UDK: 821.111
BBK: 83.3(4Вел)51
Keywords: inset sonnets, shared sonnet, truncated sonnet, sonnet written in couplets, Shakespeare’s experiments with the sonnet form.


The article looks at the semiotics of the sonnet form used by Shakespeare in his tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Particular attention is paid to two sonnets, of Paris and of Romeo, in which different manners of courting are played out. The poetic “gift” from Romeo to Juliet, their shared sonnets, one complete and one interrupted (Act 1, Sc. 5, ls. 92–109), is a notorious and much discussed piece of Shakespeare’s dramatic poetry. However, the other wooing sonnet representing desires of Paris and mouthed by Lady Capulet (Act 1, Sc. 3, ls. 80–95), seems to lack that kind of attention. Our essay juxtaposes the two
sonnets in question, which are built around extended metaphors (conceits). Romeo’s sonneteering is endowed with dramatic power that quickens the debate and inspires accord between the title’s heroes. The semantic charge of this shared sonnet resonates in the heroes’ scenic gestures, prompting the play’s outcome. By contrast, the rather inert sonnet of Paris is like a dead letter of bookish instruction, which neither inspires amorous response, nor moves Juliet. The article also places Romeo’s and Paris’s pieces against Shakespeare’s sonnets 128 and 126 of the 1609 edition.


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