I write so I can breathe. I am constantly evolving, mindless at times, frustrating even perhaps but heck, I wouldn't change the smell of freedom that comes with writing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Of Dreams and Destiny

Sometimes, there is an attempt to twist the tale around. This was an attempt to twist the end of Romeo and Juliet into A Midsummer Night's Dream. With no offence or attempt to be a step ahead of Shakespeare or Charles Lamb, here is a take on what could have happened...

Bad news, which always travels faster than good, now brought the story of his Juliet's death to Romeo, at Mantua, before the messenger could arrive, who was sent from Friar Laurence to apprise him that these were mock funerals only, nothing but the shadow and representation of death, and that his dear lady lay in the tomb but for a short while, expecting when Romeo would come to release her from that dreary mansion. Just before, Romeo had been unusually joyful and light-hearted. He had dreamed in the night that he was dead (a strange dream that gave a dead man leave to think), and that his lady came and found him dead, and breathed such life with kisses in his lips, that he revived, and was an emperor! - Charles Lamb

The funeral was over, and all of Verona had paid homage to the departed souls of the two star-crossed lovers who had died, and left behind the two reconciled families, the Capulets and the Montagues.

Juliet rose from her grave and walked to where they had laid Romeo to rest. She showered the sweetest of kisses on his lips and he awoke to find himself alive and with his beloved.

"Arise Romeo, my sweet love, there is no time to spare. We must rush forth from the gloom of this grave to better climes before we are discovered."

Juliet held her husband's hands and led him to a corner to meet the two kindly souls who had helped them find their happiness. Titania and Oberon stood with their attendants and the spry Puck.

Romeo and Juliet were led from an opening in the wall into a forest where chirping birds made sweet music. Tiny wings fluttered and the fairies were spirited in merry chase of each other in reception to the couple.

"Come my children," said Oberon, leading Romeo to the centre of the forest, "there is a gift for thee and thy charming bride."

He waved his hand over the clearing in the forest and there appeared a castle bedecked in finery.

"O fond Romeo," declared Oberon, "thou are to be the emperor, ruling the forest that I ruled for aeons. O sweet lady, adoring as thou art in the eyes of Titania, and of whose eyes doth Romeo say hath the peril of twenty swords, will be empress, as befitting thy praiseworthy carriage in life."

Romeo fell to his knees and bowed to Oberon, "Thou art too kind sire!" He turned to Titania, where she stood with Juliet, and gallantly kissed her elfin hands, too overcome by gratitude to gaze up to the kind fairies. Juliet stood silent, much too prevailed upon by emotion to speak, tears sparkling unshed in her dark eyes.

Then, Puck leapt and made merry music, received his new king, not revealing that he preferred the old, laid a banquet, surpassing all bountiful spread, while in a twinkle, Titania and Oberon disappeared.

Romeo and Juliet ate the sumptuous meal and decided to explore their domain. Halfway through the leisurely walk, gentle draughts played lullabies and bit by bit drifted the two to the land of slumber. Puck, awaiting his moment to bring his much-loved Oberon and gentle Titania to the forest, was unable to control his urge to play a trick...

In a trice, a fairy was transformed into Rosaline... Puck directed her to wake the two lovers while he poured onto Romeo's sleeping lids Love in Idleness, the juice invoking passion, he had kept with him.

"Romeo, my treasured love, speak to me, I beg thee. Do not lie there in the arms of Juliet and scorn my love so..."

Romeo and Juliet were roused by Rosaline's utterances thus. Romeo opened his eyes to find Rosaline in front of him. Her loveliness inebriated him and filled him with longing for her affections. Juliet watched in dismay, and Puck remained aside watching Juliet's face, as she saw her husband's love snatched by a damsel she had seen at the banquet in her father's house and now recognized as Rosaline.

Blinded by the magic potion, Romeo bent down and took Rosaline's hands to his lips, pledging his fidelity to none but her. He swore his love and allegiance and stood to ask her if he could drink from her lips the sweet wine they promised. Rosaline did not refuse him. Romeo showered kisses on Rosaline's fair face while Juliet fought hard to keep from falling, thinking in desperation of the betrayal of her affections. She found her love for Romeo being obscured by her rising ire.

"Why dost thou hurt me thus?" cried Juliet desperately, " thou doth pierce my soul with thy cruel actions."

Romeo turned to Juliet as if he had seen her for the first time.

"'Twas a mistake to love thee," he said. "Rosaline stole my heart and I love her more than my life." He then turned to face Rosaline.

"I do profess my desire to thee. No prettier flower hast bloomed in this bower than thee, O fair Rosaline." He took her arms. "O Rosaline! Sweeter than honey, purer than the lilies that grow in this forest, I love thee so!"

Juliet sat down and buried her face in her hands...the tears began to flow like a torrent unleashed. She could not accept as truth that her love would wound her thus. She lamented over her lost love, seeming all the more endearing for it. She cried out, "O Oberon and dear Titania, why didst thou leave me thus! My love forsakes me for another and I know naught what I should do!"

In an instant appeared Oberon and Titania, heeding her lament.

"Fair maiden, why dost thou appear heart-broken?" asked Titania. Juliet was relieved to see them and her gaze went across from them to where Romeo made a fool of himself with Rosaline.

"My lord!" Titania addressed her beloved. "Should thee not chase this maiden's sorrows away? I do summon up the potion that had made me love an ass so."

Oberon realized that Puck had been up to mischief. Sure enough, the sprite appeared by his side. He bowed low and addressed his king, "My lord! Joyful am I to find myself in thy presence once again. Bid me to serve thee, for I am your most humble slave and thou my master."

Titania and Oberon soothed a distraught Juliet to no avail. She felt that nothing could ever console or comfort her of his love again. Oberon rebuked Puck, telling him to explain to Juliet what he had done. While admitting his role in the enfolding drama, Puck showed no repentance for his action. After a great deal of dithering, he confessed to Juliet the reason for his deed.

Oberon assured Juliet that he would bring Romeo to his senses, and chased away Rosaline, who flitted away and disappeared. A lost Romeo wonders whither Rosaline has gone. Oberon asked him to close his eyes and poured the antidote on his heavy lids...

Romeo rose, as if from a dream. Seeing Juliet crying in Titania's arms shattered him. Ashamed, he berated himself for his lack of sensibilities. Kneeling before his distressed wife, looking beseechingly into her dark pools, he lamented, "It would be better for me to die than be the cause of thy distress. Never can I forgive this treacherous spirit that didst sorrow thy heart so!"

Juliet looked at Romeo with regret. "Romeo! Thou didst pierce my heart with a thousand arrows. There lies a stone that wearies my mind and sinks my heart into the deepest of oceans. Why didst thou, even in your dream, think of Rosaline when thou hast sworn thy life to me! Such is my sorrow, such is the pain thou bestow on me that it shall torment my heart for all my life. Whereof was born such thoughts I am to know. Such a fool it makes of me to be pained so!"

She then proclaimed: "My life had been lived finer when I died piercing my heart with thy knife, knowing that thou were mine everlastingly in death."

A rush of wind swirled them together, speeding them to their graves in Verona.

Oberon and Titania looked at each other, speechless for a moment.

Titania wiped away a stray tear and broke the silence. "They were bestowed life so they could live and love each other eternally. O king! Why did they bring this upon themselves so?"

Oberon mused.

"Perhaps life bestows opportunities on lovers
To make or mar their lives.
Bountiful did we make their world but
Thus was planned their end
Destiny decreed it
Whence methinks they would have made a fine husband and wife!"



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