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How effective do you find Zeffirelli's interpretation of the death scene in "Romeo and Juliet"?

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Introduction

How effective do you find Zeffirelli's interpretation of the death scene in "Romeo and Juliet"? I think Zeffirelli's interpretation of "Romeo and Juliet" is quite successful at expressing how he feels the play should be shown. He uses lots of techniques to make the play enjoyable, appealing and imaginative. To do this he uses different camera angles, realistic scenery, costumes, sounds and music. He cut some scenes that he didn't think were particularly relevant to the storyline, and added some lines for effect. He has a love theme playing throughout the film that is played in minor and major keys depending how he wants the audience to feel. It is played in minor key when something bad is about to happen, for example when Romeo takes the poison, and in minor key when something good happens, like when Juliet wakes up from her "death". He uses variations of this theme depending on whether he wants the audience to feel happy or sad. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo appears much more unprepared in the film than he does in the play because you do not see him buying the poison and he doesn't bring a crowbar to open the tomb with, so he ends up using a stone to open the door. As well as cutting various scenes he adds some lines for effect, Friar Laurence repeats "I dare no longer stay" which makes him panicky and adds tension to the scene. Juliet adds a "No" when the guards are coming to add urgency. In the play, Lady Montague dies but Zeffirelli has cut her death so that when the families join together at the end they can go in in pairs. Friar Laurence's speech is also cut. Romeo wears velvet in soft colours, which makes him look soft and romantic. Juliet wears gold, which makes her appear golden against the darkness of the tomb so she looks radiantly alive despite being "dead" beforehand. ...read more.

Conclusion

The tomb is dark and made of stone, this makes it feel like a sinister place, which it is, considering all the dead bodies lying in it. The funeral scene is set in the doorway of the church, which looks out onto a courtyard. It is very good scenery as it is very sombre and the largeness of the courtyard causes the bells to echo, which makes the scene much more sinister. The lighting adds a lot to each scene. The tomb is lit by torchlight, which reflects on the main characters and makes them look almost heavenly, as the light is golden and flickers across their faces. In the funeral scene there are clouds in the sky, which make it look dark and depressing. The bodies are carried into a dark church, which symbolises the terrible end to two peoples lives, due to petty arguments. At the end, when the families are joining together and walking into the church they are framed by the light behind them and you can't see their faces as they are walking into darkness. ...read more.

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