A Translator's Coming of Age Essay

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A Translator’s Coming of Age by Omaya Ibrahim Khalifa

Through studying the three translations of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet done by Mohammed Enani in 1965, 1986 and 1993 respectively, this study adopts a diachronic approach. In addition to examining the historical dimension, this study attempts to address itself to crucial questions related to the process of translating a literary text. A few of these are: how a translator can approach a given text in three different ways and how each translation changes according to the approach and the methods chosen by the translator. More importantly, the study proposes to discuss the pragmatic conditions governing the act of translation and how far these result in prominent modifications
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F. E. Halliday suggests that the play “reverberate(s) with the sonnet poetry” expressing the same themes and employing the same imagery (76). Thus he emphasizes the dramatic as well as the poetic aspects of the play and regards them inseparable: “a form of drama, half play, half poem..” (88).The play, as Frye affirms, is not simply an archetypal story of youth, love, and death, and hence the subtlety of the language which in turns reflects the complexity of the plot. The audience, for example, gets an unconventional opening following the prologue: the brawl and the bawdy jokes of the servants. However, Frye regards this as an appropriate way to introduce the theme that dominates this play: “the theme of love bound up with, and part of, violent death” (16). “All was not well in Verona”; confusion borders on absurdity (15). Thus Frye suggests that

… love in Romeo and Juliet covers three different forms of a convention. First, the orthodox Petrarchan convention in Romeo’s professed love for Rosaline at the beginning of the play. Second, the less sublimated love for which the only honourable resolution was marriage, represented by the main theme of the play. Third, the more cynical and ribald perspective that we get in Mercutio’s comment, and perhaps those of the nurse as well (20-21).

Accordingly, there are three main styles involving different tones which

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