A reencounter, brought about by a class, with Walton and make-believe in aesthetics leads me to wonder if one of the primary reasons I find such talk so frustrating is strictly terminological. A bit from a handout:
So when he says to himself "What light through yonder window breaks?" he isn't really asking himself what light this is. To be sure, he goes through the motions of asking that question … He makes as if to ask. But he isn't really asking. He is only pretending to ask.
But surely (surely!) our only options aren't "is really asking" and "is pretending to ask". I'm ready to be persuaded that he's not really asking the question, not even of himself in wonderment or surprise, but not that he's pretending to do so. To whom would the pretense be directed, how do his actions constitute pretense?—Austin on pretending was assigned for the next meeting; presumably the professor finds his analysis wanting in some way.
If, however, instead of saying that Romeo is pretending to ask, it were said that Romeo plays at asking, or is posing to himself in the question the task in a strictly imaginative game, one of verbal ingenuity, then, though I would be inclined to doubt Romeo's sincerity, I would be far more inclined to accept the analysis. (Though then it looks similar to sustained bullshitting (such as, though that's really not the best example) or the process by which one is supposed (they say) to answer interview questions along the lines of "how many piano tuners are there in Boca Raton?".)
Unfortunately I can't remember if some fleshed-out concept of what pretending is at hand in Mimesis as Make-Believe. Possibly "pretend that" is just shorthand for "participate in a game of make-believe in which" (though that would leave deceptive pretense out in the cold, so I hope not).
This is all happening in the context of metaphor and the application of make-believery thereto, so y'all get to read some incredibly inchoate ramblings on that subject.
Basically, I'm just not sure where it's is supposed to come from here. What stimulates Romeo to pretend, if he's pretending, to make believe, and why in those terms? There's a bit in this handout (for whatever reason, I'm reluctant to quote it, or even name people, not just the professor (whose identity probably anyone could determine) but the other people we've read)—though honestly I think I'm just misunderstanding it—that seems to suggest that, first, Romeo has noticed or has on his mind a bunch of things about Juliet and from this (pretends that she is? plays at her being? imagines her as? makes believe she is?) the sun (perhaps he's been prompted so to organize those thoughts because he sees the light in her window—perhaps this sight also leads those thoughts suddenly to occur to him in that particular shape in the first place). Something like the paraphrase comes first, organized (but how?) in such a thematic way that the metaphorical likening suggests itself (or something like that). But in that case, or something like that, isn't the prompting by the light to play this game in this way the really interesting part? All the rest could be done by anyone, once that identification is in place, and that identification, since it grounds the make-believe, couldn't itself be prompted by it.
Of course this moves the consideration from the audience's reception of a made metaphor to the maker's mind in making it, but that move seems already to have been at least partly undertaken.—I just had a terrible premonition of reading up on aspect perception, and it's all John Crowley's fault:
"It's easy, really," Rose said, her hand at a stoplight resting lightly on the little trembling herm.
I'm also not certain, it just occurred to me, why one would resort to metaphor on this sort of account. If it has to do with getting an audience to see the object as the speaker sees it (play the same game; it might amount to the same thing), then it could have weird interactions with Walton on emotions.
*I have always liked the definition of "inchoate" as "half-unformed", which doesn't really admit of intensification, but.