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Author Topic: Romeo and Juliet homwork hel--I mean, contest. . .
Black Mage
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Let's see your thinking caps! Who can find ways Romeo changes in the play beyond the basic fickle love to stable love and masculine to feminine?

No, really, I've done a lot of research and I would like some help, if you would give it. Our teacher said we could discuss the topic with friends and so forth if we wanted. . .

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Book
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I think your report would be a lot more interesting if you did it on "Romeo Must Die" instead of "Romeo and Juliet." Yeah, any teacher would love that.
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imogen
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Well I always thought the gender reassignment in Act III was a pretty significant change.
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rivka
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quote:
masculine to feminine
[Eek!] [Confused] [Angst] I think I missed a scene.
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Black Mage
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See, he starts out all guy-ie and turns woman-y, apparentley. Or starts out somewhat womanly and turns more womanly.

quote:
Dry your womanish tears.
Plus, he kills himself with poison, considered a womanly way to die in Shakespeare's time. Look--in most of his plays, those who kill themselves through poison are women.
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Bob_Scopatz
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He's alive through most of the play. Then he's dead.
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Black Mage
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I'm going to use that.
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imogen
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[ROFL]
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rivka
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Because he cries and uses the poison sitting at hand, he has become feminine?

Are you going to claim that Juliet becomes masculine, because she killed herself with a dagger?

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Shan
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ooohhhh - I like that. Feminine to masculine - .

Juliet certainly did the sex change thing there, didn't she? And it really does take a lot of strength to get a single thrust placed just right . . . .hmmm . . .

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fugu13
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No, there's a lot of other things to suggest it as well. A quick perusal shows a number of things:

Juliet's use of violent imagery to describe what she'd do rather than be married to Paris.
quote:
O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
From off the battlements of yonder tower,
Or walk in thievish ways, or bid me lurk
Where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears,
Or shut me nightly in a charnel house,
O'ercover'd quite with dead men's rattling bones,
With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls;
Or bid me go into a new-made grave
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud

In the exchange about the heralding of the day, Juliet's imagery is strong, while Romeo's is elegant:
quote:
Rom. It was the lark, the herald of the morn;
No nightingale. Look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder East.
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.
Jul. Yond light is not daylight; I know it, I.
It is some meteor that the sun exhales
To be to thee this night a torchbearer
And light thee on the way to Mantua.

However, earlier in the play, Romeo was using similarly strong imagery, though with definite foreshadowing of his later imagery (see second quote).

quote:
Rom. Is love a tender thing? It is too rough,
Too rude, too boist'rous, and it pricks like thorn.

quote:
Rom. A torch for me! Let wantons light of heart
Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels;
For I am proverb'd with a grandsire phrase,
I'll be a candle-holder and look on;
The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done.

Likewise Juliet uses softer language initially.
quote:
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.

quote:
Jul. Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face;
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek

So its not ridiculous at all. Remember that Shakespeare used gender confusion quite regularly.
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Ralphie
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This thread title made me laff.
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Black Mage
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quote:
Because he cries and uses the poison sitting at hand, he has become feminine?

Are you going to claim that Juliet becomes masculine, because she killed herself with a dagger?

Actually, yes. A lot of scholars, from the research I've done, agree to that. It's the standards of the time. Juliet becomes bolder and stronger-willed. Romeo, gets, well, wimpy.

And yeah, the dagger/poison thing is farily big too.

Thanks Fugu. Very helpful.

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fugu13
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Don't thank me, thank Project Gutenberg [Wink] .
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MEC
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How about this?

At the end Romeo and Mercutio realize they're gay and come out of the closet. Then Romeo marries Mercutio and they live happily ever after.

Maybe that didn't happen, ah to hell with it, Hamlet was better anyway.

[ December 07, 2003, 10:34 PM: Message edited by: MEC ]

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ana kata
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Well, it's sort of obvious but he went from sorrow to joyful confidence, to concern, to anger and thence to deep despair. I guess Romeo was sort of flamey. He had strong feelings that drove his moods, I mean.

Does anyone besides me think that Romeo acted reasonably and well? I mean, to believe in true love and stake everything on it? To expect it to transform the whole map of reality as he knew it? (i.e. reconcile the Montagues and Capulets) It might have worked, I mean, and what a magnicifent thing if it had. Isn't that worth the risk?

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Raia
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
masculine to feminine
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Eek!] [Confused] [Angst] I think I missed a scene.

[ROFL] rivka, that made me laugh out loud, I almost fell out of my chair!
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Zotto!
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I'm with ya, Ana Kata, but I'm a hopelessly hopeless romantic, so take it for what it's worth. [Smile]

[ December 08, 2003, 01:34 AM: Message edited by: Zotto! ]

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Ryuko
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I can't agree with you, AK... Not because I don't think you should follow your love, but because I think that Romeo was foolish and didn't think things through. He was going in off a rebound and all of the sudden fell madly in love again? He's just flighty, and I don't think that's romantic at all. Lord knows when he'd have run off with another woman...
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Zotto!
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Well, I think the kids were a little stupid to KILL themselves, but still... [Smile]

*is truly hopeless*

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Ophelia
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I'm with Ryuko on this one. He doesn't even really know Juliet, and he kills himself because he thinks she's dead? That's not romantic, that's idiotic.
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Mrs.M
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I have always hated this play.

quote:
Does anyone besides me think that Romeo acted reasonably and well?
No. He killed himself. That is never reasonable (except in very rare circumstances, which his were definitely not).

quote:
I mean, to believe in true love and stake everything on it?
That is a lovely sentiment, but even true love is not worth dying for.

quote:
To expect it to transform the whole map of reality as he knew it? (i.e. reconcile the Montagues and Capulets) It might have worked, I mean, and what a magnicifent thing if it had.
I don't think it would have worked and I don't think he much cared in the first place. I think that they were both selfish and silly teenagers who let lust overwhelm whatever sense they might have had. Especially Romeo.

quote:
Isn't that worth the risk?
No, it isn't. They both died needlessly. It was selfish of them. Now there are two sets of parents who have lost their only children. What about Tybalt, Mercutio, and Paris? Were their lives worth the true love of others?

I never really got why romantics dig this play so much. I believe in true love, but I believe that a big part of true love is wanting the best for your love more than you want what's best for yourself. Let me give you an example. Andrew and I were talking about what would happen if one of us died. I told him that I would never remarry. He said, "I wish you would." I asked him why and he told me that he couldn't stand the thought of me being alone for the rest of my life. That's true love - wanting your wife to live a happy life with someone else after your death because her happiness is more important to you than your ego. True love is not wanting her to follow you into the grave.

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fugu13
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I don't think Shakespeare meant it to be an example of exemplary love. Romeo and Juliet is tragic, not romantic, and Shakespeare's proposition is not that their actions were reasonable, but that they were horrific. Notice how he allows their actions to resolve the struggle between the two houses, which places the tragic circumstance required by the tragic form strictly with the lovers' death.

Shakespeare thought it was needless too.

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AvidReader
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If I remember my history correctly, R&J is actually based on a true story. It had been told many times before Shakespeare. (Most of Shakespeare's plays are retellings of familiar stories.) While it's a good story, I've never thought having it as part of the mandatory coursework for high school freshman english was a good idea. Let's get a bunch of impressionable kids whose hormones are going crazy and tell them love is so overpowering it's worth dying for. Florida may want to rethink that one.
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ana kata
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That's funny that you all think that! I always thought the lesson involved was for the two families, that their hatred of one another was so blind and so unreasonable that they caused the most promising youths of both their houses to die rather than put it aside.

And I do think Romeo acted well. If I were Juliet, I probably would have just told my father I was already married to Romeo rather than go through the pretense of death, but perhaps he would have then imprisoned her and beaten her. He seemed like a person who gave very little weight to a female's thoughts or choices.

There's something to be said for the idea that after her parents really believed her to be dead, their joy at her being alive might reconcile them to her marrige to Romeo. It might have worked.

Actually the right thing to do, I think, would have been to run away from home and live in exile with Romeo. It would have been very hard, when she knew nothing of life or the world, but I think that's what I would have done in her place.

I'm really amazed that you guys think so poorly of Romeo and Juliet. I think they were really in love, and they acted well.

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fugu13
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I think Shakespeare doesn't think they acted well.
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Mrs.M
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quote:
I'm really amazed that you guys think so poorly of Romeo and Juliet. I think they were really in love, and they acted well.
ak, can you elaborate a bit more? Why do you think that they were really in love? What about Rosaline, who Romeo is in love with when the play opens?

In what ways do you think that they acted well? Five young people are dead at the end of this play, because of their actions.

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ana kata
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Because of their actions??? I think you can't attribute all those deaths to them. What about the parents? The feud between the houses came from the very top of both houses. Had the heads of the houses made peace, as they should have done, long before, there would have been none of the fighting and none of the deaths. Romeo and Juliet could have married happily without offending their families, and all would have been well. It's the heads of the households who were at fault for all of that, not the young lovers.

I feel Romeo and Juliet were truly in love because they were willing to stake their entire futures on one another, and see no obstacles to their marriage. If it was just a passing infatuation, then when they found out who one another were, and that there would be real hardships involved in loving each other, they'd have given it up. They were adult because they chose to make their own choices and live with the consequences.

That things turned out badly is not really their fault. They took their chances and did their best, and things didn't work out. Romeo's suicide was rash, yet he was a person of very strong feelings, who had staked his whole life on his love for Juliet, and now she was dead. In that context it was certainly understandable, I think. Likewise Juliet's. With Romeo dead she could choose to join him or else to live in shame as a prisoner in her father's house. I think her choice was also understandable.

Their tragedy served to reconcile at long last the two houses, and prevented future deaths from continuation of the feud. In a way their lives and the beauty and purity of their love were a blood sacrifice to the dark forces of hatred between the two houses. Until something so young and lovely had been destroyed, the darkness would never have been slaked. They weren't the evil ones in that story, they were its the victims.

[ December 08, 2003, 03:22 PM: Message edited by: ana kata ]

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Dan_raven
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1) They acted wrong. They were all passion and no love. They lived for instant gratification, and when that was denied, assumed the worst. Face it, they were both bi-polar.

2) Teaching it in high school is great, as long as the negative aspects of their relationship are stressed. Love does not always wins, and Lust often looses.

3) Here is another thought, the Priest. Is he a force for good or evil. It is his plot that gets them both killed. He marries them when he knows there will trouble. He aquires the poison. Basically, he is the behind the scenes instigator. In a protestant country, in the midst of it religious wars, with a very Protestant Queen, wouldn't makeing a Catholic Friar a good guy be dangerous?

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Wussy Actor
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The question is not whether their actions were wrong. Of course they were wrong. The whole situation was wrong. Isnít that kind of the point of the play? Teenagers committing suicide over love or what they think of as love is not exactly an uncommon occurrence. I donít think anyone here would seriously argue that two teenagers offing themselves because they canít be together is a good thing. The point of the play is to examine the situations, actions, and feelings that might lead to such an end. Theater as I see it is not a reflection of life. It is a refraction of life. Emotions are emphasized and exaggerated. Reality is tweaked to be interesting enough to watch.
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ana kata
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I dunno. I guess I'm not like you guys. It seems perfectly reasonable to me. Don't you people feel anything???
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Mrs.M
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quote:
Don't you people feel anything???
Yes. I feel that Romeo is a fickle jerk. He was in love with Rosaline until he saw Juliet, who was prettier.

There are just so many better examples of true love in literature that I cannot understand why so many people fixate on this one. Try Gloria Naylor's Mama Day if you want a tragic love story in which people act well.

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Ophelia
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City of Angels=beautiful romantic movie that had me sobbing buckets
Moulin Rouge=beautiful romantic movie that had me sobbing buckets
Dangerous Beauty=beautiful romantic movie that had me sobbing buckets *spoiler* even though it had a happy ending.

Romeo and Juliet don't do anything for me, though.

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ana kata
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You don't kill yourself for pretty, though. Mrs. M, my mother knew she was going to marry my father after their first date. I have been in love 3 times in my life, and two of them, I fell in love almost immediately, in the first few hours we spent talking. I was in denial for a month afterwards, on both of them, but looking back there were unmistakeable symptoms the very first time we talked, and I can't honestly date it to any later than that.

Why, other than the rapidity with which they became attached, are you so certain they weren't really in love? It seems like they both sacrificed everything to that love. You don't do that for passing fancies. Surely your belief that it was just lust must come from some strong opinion that real love can't happen that quickly? Are you really sure of this?

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rivka
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Ophelia, since I totally agree with the first two movies, I'm going to have to see the third as soon as can be managed!

ak, I do believe in love at first sight, sort of. However, I believe that it takes a while to confirm it.

And regardless, I don't feel that suicide is a reasonable reaction to losing love. If they were adult enough to make the choice to be together, they ought to have been adult enough to live with the unexpected consequences of that choice.

That's why I think the ending of West Side Story worked better than that of R&J.

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Mrs.M
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quote:
Why, other than the rapidity with which they became attached, are you so certain they weren't really in love?
ROSALINE!

Romeo has been pining away from love for Rosaline, who has vowed to remain chaste, then forgets her the second he lays eyes on Juliet.

BTW, I knew that I was going to marry Dr.M after our second date.

When we were engaged, we found out that I might not be able to have children. I offered to give Dr.M his ring back. I would rather have lived without him so he could have a chance to have biological children because I truly love him. But he truly loves me, too, so being with me is more important to him than having biological children.

Love doesn't have to be rash and destructive to be beautful and true.

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ana kata
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I wonder if this is another of those Marianne/Elinor splits. I've had long discussions of this with my Elinor friends. We should make a quiz, "Are you a Marianne or an Elinor?"

Do you love Dostoyevsky and think he's the greatest writer ever? (Marianne) Do you think his characters are all nuts and anyway it's all way too intense for your taste? (Elinor)

Then there would be the Romeo and Juliet question in there and what other good distinguishing features? [Smile] Lissa, help me out.

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ana kata
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Oh, but Rosaline WAS just an infatuation, witness how quickly he forgot her.
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rivka
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Yeah, that or she wasn't enough of a challenge.
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Mrs.M
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quote:
I wonder if this is another of those Marianne/Elinor splits.
That is exactly what this is! Obviously, I am an Elinor.

quote:
Oh, but Rosaline WAS just an infatuation, witness how quickly he forgot her.
So Rosaline is an infatuation because he forgets her quickly? How quickly would he have forgotten her if she hadn't vowed to remain chaste?
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Trisha the Severe Hottie
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While I don't think Romeo and Juliet's actions were the best ever, I think the fact that they could love each other despite emnity and that their deaths brought about the reconciliation is slightly redeeming.

As to the root myth, there is a tale form Greek Mythology that I set to verse when I was like 16. I don't know if I'm remembering the whole thing, and the rhyme seems rather loose but here goes:

Pyramus and Thisbe

In Babylon two households fought,
And yet they shared a wall,
Where through a crack a young girl peeps,
And to her sweetheart calls:

"Oh Pyramus, where are you love?
Why do you hide in shame?"
"No I am here, my Thisbe dear,
I hearken to my name."

"Speak softly, love our families quarrel
Their passions full of strife."
"But I love Thee, will you meet me
By mulberry tree white?"

So late that night fair Thisbe waits
For Pyramus to come
But then a Lioness attacks
And for her life she runs

When Pyramus at last arrives
He meets an awful sight
A bloodied veil, the lion print,
He turns upon his knife.

Fair Thisbe flees back to the tree,
She hastens to his side.
"Without you love, I wish to die!
And with that, takes her life."

The red mullberry shows the blood
Of those who saw past hate,
And even to this very day,
They witness their sad fate.

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ana kata
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Oh, Mrs. M! I have lots of elinor friends. I think they are just great. It's not at all true that they have no hearts. They just show them differently. They are tempermentally different from us mariannes, and I firmly believe the world needs both.
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Mrs.M
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Me too, ak!

We have to stick together against all the Fannys of the world.

I realize how that sounds, but that's what Jane Austen named her.

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ana kata
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Oh, those Fannys! I don't know ANY of them, thank goodness!
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