lovers take their life

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joham

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In this sentence of Shakespeare "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life", I'm puzzled why 'life', rather than 'lives', is used.

Could you help me out? Thank you very much.
 

beascarpetta

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In this sentence of Shakespeare "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life", I'm puzzled why 'life', rather than 'lives', is used.

Could you help me out? Thank you very much.

I think you would have to see this singular as connected to the rhyme two lines below

[FONT=verdana, geneva, helvetica] A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.

You might go there for further literary analysis
[/FONT]
 
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David L.

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I think he uses the singular because they didn't purposefully plan to die together, as in some suicide pact, nor even die at the same time. First Romeo kills himself because he thinks Juliet is dead; and then Juiiet kills herself because Romeo is dead. It emphasizes that they each 'took their life' separately, each took his/her own life.
Also, poetically, 'life' has more impact because it suggests more the spark of life that is snuffed out, whereas 'lives' carries with it the idea of all their life circumstances, all the manner in which they had been living and what they left behind.
 
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