Here is a little-known fact about a famous Shakespearean tragedy: Romeo snored. Of course, most of us snore at least sometimes, but the entire Montague family was known for their loud, incessant, obnoxious snoring. When the whole family slept in the same castle, their snorkeling, snorting, gasping, grating, grinding, endless nighttime symphonies would have rattled the windowpanes, if they would have had glass windowpanes in the 16th century (I looked this up after I wrote that: glass window panes became common in the 17th century) (Phew!).
In fact, according to one source (OK, it’s me), that snoring was the original cause of the whole Montague/Capulet fracas. The families used to be great friends, spending Sunday afternoons together. One Sunday when Capulet was in the middle of a long, boring story (don’t judge; you’ve told them yourself, we all have), Montague fell asleep. Capulet could never be brought to believe that the warm weather and heavy Sunday dinner were to blame, or that the ensuing noise was quite natural. He always held to it that Montague was only pretending to sleep and made all that racket just to poke fun at Capulet. Nothing could convince him otherwise, because all the Montagues were afraid to fall asleep in front of him after that. Just imagine all the years of hostility that could have been avoided with a simple sleepover.
Romeo, naturally, inherited the tendency. It is a pretty safe bet that Romeo and Juliet did not waste any time sleeping during the one night they had together. This is unfortunate, as things turned out, because if Juliet had gotten a load of that honk, she may have been more amenable to taking Paris as a substitute. I understand his family was rather gentle in their nighttime sounds, although Juliet would naturally have had no chance of finding that out beforehand. I know, some of you are going, “Bu-bu-bu–” in your anxiety to get out a defense of True Love, and you know, they were married. Yes, well, let’s leave the philosophical discussion for another day (perhaps Lame Post Friday, my traditional space for half-baked philosophy, and don’t try to tell me yours is fully cooked, I won’t believe you).
Incidentally, you may remember that Romeo’s mother died offstage before the end of the play. Some have hypothesized that since theatrical companies at that time had only three boys who could play female roles, you could only have three women onstage at a time. Well, that could be, but the fact of the matter is, she died from lack of sleep. Being a Montague only by marriage, she just couldn’t handle the buzz saw.