BENVOLIO      Part, fools!
Put up your swords, you know not what you do.

[Beats down their swords.] (1.1.55-6SD)

With Benvolio’s intervention, the increasingly rhythmic prose of the servingmen’s exchange – perhaps via the clash of swords – solidifies into blank verse, the first in the play. The pulse of the iamb, the beat of weapons: these are the play’s heartbeat, the slippage between language and bodies, action and utterance. This is the traffic of the stage, a busy commerce of words and blows. Benvolio is, of course, right; no one knows what they’re doing, or the far-reaching consequences of their actions, or words.

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