Sonja Rnic, Senior Creative Copywriter at LEC, celebrates Valentine's Day by examining lust, love and loss in the world's most famous tragedy 'Romeo and Juliet'. She presents her findings here:
To evaluate the narrative arc of a love affair.
A case study.
1 meta-analysis including 1 Shakespearian dramatic publication.
We compared estimated benefits and risks of romance between 2 small cohorts (1 patient per arm), assessing efficacy of communication, intensity of side-effects and reader engagement. Participants (n=2) were selected for being star-crossed +ve, within the geographical area of fair Verona, with a family history of feuding.
On average, romance effects were more injurious than beneficial for participants (95% confidence interval −0.34 to −0.08, P=0.001). Depending on criteria used, 1 to 2 sub-plots indicated small positive effects. The overall pooled estimate suggested a clinically relevant, significant mortality associated with romance, whereas analyses restricted to large population trials and predicted effects in large populations yielded, overall, more beneficial estimates.
Never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo
We examined two households, comparable in dignity, bearing ancient grudges, where C=Capulet and M=Montague. Procreation within the mutually exclusive C/M dynamic had produced two (2) lovers. Animosity between the houses had reached epidemiological proportions, with the younger males (age approx. 14-20 years) engaging in a systematic program of biting their thumbs at one another. This signalled intentions for violence, in a sequence of thug-thug interactions. The respective patriarchal figures engaged in similarly aggressive tropes, citing swords, blades, neighbour-stained steel and rebellious subjects.
Participant R, where R=Romeo, randomised to house M (male study arm) exhibited baseline characteristics of melancholy, self-diagnosing as being out of favour [with female participant excluded from this study] where he is in love.
Participant J, where J=Juliet, randomised to house C (female study arm) exhibited baseline characteristics of youth, with an estimated age of 14 years minus “a fortnight and odd days”. This was deemed, “A pretty age”. Familial expectations predict a high probability of marriage, and at Lammas moon (an unspecified number of days thence, estimated in the region of 16-18).
We explored the presence and extent of dramatic effects in a meta-analysis of the Shakespeare W (1597) seminary paper on the effects of combining R with J and applying heat, pressure and a balcony. We employed three (3) different approaches: analyses according to sample activity, inspection of subplots, and prediction of effects based on the standard error of not talking to each other properly. We then determined whether sensitivity analyses based on a restriction of meta-analyses to large appropriately powered trials or based on a prediction of romance effects in large trials influenced conclusions of meta-poets, the romantic poets and post-Elizabethan bards.
Selection of participants
In our analysis of the population included in the main study, we identified 20 potential participants representing a cross-section of the C/M households, plus diverse extras, foils and people included solely for the purpose of moving things along. Of this initial cohort, we focused primarily on the eponymous characters, because whilst evidence for “romantic love” as a theme exists (c.f. the long marriages of the Montague patriarch and matriarch, and their Capulet counterparts) it was felt that the titular agents exemplified most clearly and at length the notion of romance and its effects.
The original 1597 paper is categorised as a Tragedy, according to the classic definition of the term as a sequence of events in which the principal, or study subject, is the chief instrument of his or her own undoing, or severe adverse event. In the present case, both participants contributed to the ultimate adverse event, resulting in mortality (100%). Prevailing literary opinion in the intervening 421 years has classified this and other papers by the same author as works of genius and uncommon insight. We can therefore be confident (with an interval of 421 years, as cited above) that the quality of the raw data and published paper are unassailable. Moreover, the narrative construction and execution fulfil a number of more esoteric criteria, including being a bloody good read, standing the test of time, and appealing to the romantic in all of us.
Mode of action
Figure 1 (below) depicts a common representation of participant R. NB: Health and safety officials, martial arts instructors, men’s healthcare professionals, manufacturers of men’s tights and armoury specialists have almost unanimously observed that this is an inadequate and ineffective method of scaring your enemies. Unless your enemies are terrified of silly hats.