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Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

English Coursework Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare, one of the most famous playwrights of all time, was born in Stratford upon Avon in 1564 and died in 1616. He was one of eight children of John Shakespeare, a local town official and glove maker, and Mary Arden. In 1982 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at only eighteen. They had three children together, Susanna, and twin Judith and Hannet. Sadly Hannet tragically died at eleven. Shakespeare was known for performing at the Globe theatre with the Chamberlains Men. He wrote 37 plays in his lifetime and one of his most famous plays was Romeo and Juliet. I am going to compare lines 1-100 of Act One, Scene One from the text of the two film versions; Franco Zeffirelli's version and Baz Luhrmann's version. The text opens with the prologue, which gives a brief outline of the story, it is 14 lines long, and is therefore typical of what is known as a sonnet. It is about two families from Verona, both of similar status; both hate the other due to an ancient feud, the lovers, Romeo and Juliet both from each of the families take their own lives for their love. Their death makes their parents see sense. Shakespeare has deliberately revealed the ending in the prologue so that the audience may judge the characters and the events up to the final tragedy. Act One Scene One begins in a public place. It starts like a comedy with word-play and puns from Gregory and Sampson, both servants of the Capulet house. They boast about what they would do to the Montague's. One pun used is "We'll not carry coals." This means we'll not stand for any insults. "No, for then we should be colliers." This means if we do stand for any insults then we shall be coal sellers or coal miners which were probably regarded as dirty and poor people in their day. ...read more.

Middle

The film shows the fight with lots of chaos, colours, close ups, lots of action, aerial shots of fighting, village people trying to stop the fight, things flying through the air, explicit bits like people being killed, there is no evidence of this in the play, it is hard to see who people are, such as who is Montague and who is Capulet. At one point during the fight, Zeffirelli shows us the two households. He shows Old Capulet gathering his men and charging out into the chaotic fight. There is no conversation between Old Capulet and Lady Capulet, despite this being in the original text. Zeffirelli also shows us Old Montague gathering his men to go and join the fight, and Lady Montague attempting to stop him. At this part the conversation between Old Montague and Lady Montague is correct to the text, but it misses parts out. Zeffirelli has paraphrased it, meaning the lines have been swapped, Lady Montague says her line before Old Montague's says his line instead of after it. After about a minute of the fighting Prince Escalus and his guards enter on white horses which symbolises pureness and royal. Their horses prove that it is authentic to the time. While this is being shown his guards play trumpets, get attention towards the Prince for his speech. The Prince's speech is correct to the text, but he says the first line from the text and then misses five lines, then he says the lines after these. The speech has been made shorter. He uses the bits that are important. The film misses out over a third of the text so that the audience can concentrate more on the visuals. Zeffirelli has cut a lot of key phrases out of the film from the text, but it is still close to the text, he keeps main words accessible to the audience who watch it so that they can enjoy the film without actually having to know the text to enjoy it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tybalt drops his cigarette on to the petrol and runs after Benvolio. The gas station sets on fire, the camera shows posters burning about the two families, this and the gas station on fire represents the consequences of the two families actions we hear the dramatic music which was played during the introduction. The camera now shows the view of the city where the two families business offices are. We see police helicopters moving in resembling a Vietnam War film where soldiers are being transported by helicopter into the war. We see the reaction of old Montague when he hears the news of the fight on the TV. We see views of the city which is now in chaos people running and riot police moving in. We see the old Capulet and Lady Capulet in their car, Old Capulet says "Give me my long sword ho." This is correct to the text but it misses out the first three words from the line in the text. Lady Capulet replies with "Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe" Which is also correct but is actually said by Lady Montague in the text. In this film version she successfully prevents him from joining the fight. We now rejoin the fight between Tybalt and Benvolio who are both threatening each other with their guns and snarling at each other. But the prince, who is called 'Captain Prince' to make it more modern, is in a helicopter above them with other police aiming guns at them. He shouts through a microphone twice "Throw your mistempered weapons to the ground." Both Benvolio and Tybalt drop their weapons. The tension is high at this point we see wind blowing their shirts and hair. The scene now jumps later on, to in side the police station were the prince continues his speech in front of Old Montague and Capulet, Tybalt and Benvolio, he says "Three civil brawls..." The speech is correct to the text and we see the reactions of both heads of the houses. ...read more.

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