Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Miss Kitty, Miss Kitty, wherefore art thou Miss Kitty?

I first learned Juliet's query of Romeo (from Shakespeare's play, Romeo & Juliet) when I was in junior high school:

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

At the time, I thought she was peering out off her balcony, couldn't see Romeo in the dark, and wanted to know where he was. It wasn't until I took a graduate course in Shakespeare in college that I discovered that she was actually asking, for what purpose are you Romeo? Because Romeo was a Montague, Juliet a Capulet, and the Montagues and Capulets feuded unto death, so Juliet was agonizing over her bad luck at loving a Montague. Should she hate him just because he was a Montague, or beg him to "deny his name" so she could love him and be with him?

Something similar is going on at our house these days. Jinx spends hours at the window waiting for Miss Kitty to appear, Unlike the other dogs (who seem to think she's their next snack), he doesn't growl at her. He whines piteously, as if lovesick. But Miss Kitty is a Capulet (or should I say Catulet?), and Jinx a Montague. Is it only her name that is the enemy? What's in a name, anyway? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet...
(Note: in the upper lefthand corner of this photo, you can see the batik picture of three dogs howling that I bought in Malaysia years ago, which could be considered the Original Howling Dogs of 9 Dogs Howling.)

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