More bustling, and suddenly, it’s day: wedding time! (4.4.13-28)

CAPULET                    A jealous hood, a jealous hood!
Enter three or four [SERVINGMEN] with spits and logs and baskets

                                                                        Now, fellow,

                                    What is there?

FIRST SERVINGMANThings for the cook, sir, but I know not what.

CAPULET                    Make haste, make haste.

                                                            [Exit First Servingman]

                                                                        Sirrah, fetch drier logs.

                                    Call Peter, he will show you where they are.

SECOND SERVINGMAN         I have a head, sir, that will find out logs,

                                    And never trouble Peter for the matter.

CAPULET                    Mass, and well said, a merry whoreson, ha!

                                    Thou shalt be loggerhead.

                                    [Exeunt Second Servingman and any others]

                                                                        Good faith, ’tis day.

                                    The County will be here with music straight,

                                    For so he said he would.

                                                            (Play music [within].)

                                                                        I hear him near.

                                    Nurse! Wife! What ho! What, Nurse, I say!

                                                                                                  Enter Nurse.

                                    Go waken Juliet and trim her up,

                                    I’ll go and chat with Paris. Hie, make haste,

                                    Make haste, the bridegroom he is come already,

                                    Make haste, I say.                              [Exit] (4.4.13-28)

Bustle bustle bustle. All this seems mostly calculated to annoy stage management: a bunch of supernumeraries running around the stage carrying large, potentially dangerous items (spits?) which appear for seconds and then have to be stored backstage for the rest of the show where people will trip over them. There’s potential for some physical comedy, although the log/head/loggerhead wordplay makes Gregory and Sampson in 1.1 look like Oscar Wilde. (These servingmen presumably include Gregory and Sampson. NB here jealous hood seems to mean jealous woman, slightly disappointingly; no one is going gangsta here.) So what’s the point of the second part of this brief scene? It’s possibly there to cover the musicians assembling, or moving from a different part of the stage (the gallery)? And it allows for another, more extreme acceleration of the time, not least with all those Make hastes– a few lines earlier it was three o’clock, and now, Good faith, ’tis day. It gives Capulet another facet: he’s enjoying himself; he’s not really in control (although he thinks he is); he’s also really nervous and insecure, because Paris is much posher than he is and, now he’s brought forward this wedding, he’s got to put on a decent show. It also reinforces the power, in the household, of the Nurse, and the relative side-lining of Lady Capulet (it will be the Nurse who dominates much of the following scene). There’s a sly point being made, perhaps, about the preparation of food, the dressing of meat (and green logs, not dry enough, unready, not mature) and the instruction to trim up Juliet, to get her dressed, prepared and ready to be put on display (and consumed) at the wedding too. But more than anything, this part of the scene is there to provide a sharp contrast with the stillness and the quiet of the scene which follows: here there are scurrying servants, Capulet attempting to direct traffic, and musicians tuning up and starting to play. A sense of pleasurable anticipation, and anxiety, at the festivities to come. But it’s all about to change. (I don’t think I have ever seen the second part of this scene performed; it’s an easy cut, not least at the behest of stage-management who would rather not have to source and store any logs whatsoever.)


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