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How does Baz Luhrman make Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet more accessible to a modern teenage audience?

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Introduction

How does Baz Luhrman make Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet more accessible to a modern teenage audience? Romeo and Juliet was written during the fifteenth century and the language and style is Elizabethan. Today the language is seen as incomprehensible to a young audience. This can cause many problems because Shakespearean texts are compulsory for students to study during their education. Usual responses to Romeo and Juliet are very negative as teenagers find the story inaccessible. However the essential storyline could be aimed at a young audience with themes of forbidden love, violence and family feuds. Therefore the main problem facing Luhrmann's film was not the plot but the language. Luhrmann's film interpretation of Romeo and Juliet compensates for the setbacks produced through language because Luhrmann has enclosed modern day scenes, clothing and music to create a more exciting and enthralling film, whilst still using the original Shakespearean language from the text. This makes Luhrmann's adaptation of the play very different from other versions on the market. It shifts away from interpretations such as Zefferelli's, which does not meet teenage desires. ...read more.

Middle

Tybalt gets ready to aim at them while they leave, dropping his cigar in the process, this then lights the petrol making the whole gas station go up in flames. Benvolio then gets up and runs across the bonnets of cars across the highway to escape. This is where the scene ends. One of the ways that Luhrmann introduces the characters is through their clothing and style. The Capulet and Montague families are easily recognised and separable by their own familiar appearance. The Montague's are shown as pranksters, wearing open Hawaiian shirts and having a relaxed attitude. Their image makes them appear as not fighting characters, whilst the Capulet's come across as the more violent due to their dark clothing and cowboy style. This makes us think of the Capulet's as scary and intimidating whilst the Montague's come across as nervy and more amusing. This means that the audience automatically constructs opinions of the two families, helping to make the film more easily understandable and to reinforce the plot. The music also has a similar effect by changing the mood of the film. ...read more.

Conclusion

Younger people in particular are very cautious at approaching his work because they find it hard to understand and are consequently not interested in studying his texts. Luhrmann's version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is very unlike other interpretations. He uses an upbeat pace in modern day times, whilst still using a Shakespearean text. The style of Luhrmann's film includes connections to western films and current issues in order to challenge traditional responses to Shakespeare. Elements such as these help a younger audience to relate to the film and the themes within the plot. This means that the audience is more likely to enjoy the film. I think that the way Luhrmann's has introduced a mixture of modern day scenes with Shakespearean language works very well together and successfully interests teenagers to the story of Romeo and Juliet. However in some parts, I felt that the way in which Luhrmann distinguished between the Capulet's and the Montague's was too extreme, as their styles were very different and I thought that the music was not necessary when they were already easily identified. I felt that the first scene was very appealing towards teenagers, especially boys, due to the fast cars and violence, which are two things commonly known to interest them. ...read more.

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