Elizabeth Mansfield/Revising Shakespeare

Elizabeth Mansfield's Matched Pairs

In Elizabeth Mansfield's Matched Pairs, the not-so-star-crossed pair of Juliet and Tristan try to oppose their mothers' plans to force them into the betrothal made when they were babies. They are as at odds as lovers as thei mixed names suggest. Moreover, Mansfield calls attention to that mismatch when Juliet exclaims to Tristan, "'Juliet is bad enough. What would you have done if your Mama had named you Romeo?'" Tris responds immediately, "Romeo! I'd have been laughed out of school!" (3). Mansfield invokes Romeo and Juliet but always to turn it on its head. The one of the mothers who have arranged the match laments to the other that she "should have played Capulet to your Montague" in order in insure the match (24). Juliet herself moves well away from the romance of Romeo and Juliet into the role of Macbeth when she finally steels herself to tell her mother she cannot go through the betrothal to Tris: If it were done when 'tis done, 'twere best It were done quickly. Juliet quoted those lines of Shakespeare to herself as she walked home. She would take Mr. Shakespeare's advice and do the deed quickly" (159). As definitive as her decision is her shift of play in freeing her from the alliance neither Tris nor she wants.


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