• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent is Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet a successful film at the expense of suppressing important elements of Shakespeare's play?

Extracts from this document...


Elizabeth Flanagan 10E Pre-1914 Drama / Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet To what extent is Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet a successful film at the expense of suppressing important elements of Shakespeare's play? If Baz Luhrmann had kept every single part of Shakespeare's original play, the film would be extremely long and it would be easy for the audience to lose interest. Therefore, Luhrmann suppressed many important parts of the play relying on visual images to put across to a modern film audience, the same message that Shakespeare used Language and little acting to put across to a theatre audience of the Victorian times. In my opinion this makes Baz Luhrmanns film and Shakespeares play more successful and more appealing to all generations. Although much of the dialogue is edited out, Luhrmann keeps the language used by Shakespeare because of course originally, Romeo and Juliet was a William Shakespeare play, not a Baz Luhrmann film. In the film when Luhrmann loses some dialogue he interprets the words of Shakespeare into modern drama so that the audience get the same, if not a better, effect and reaction by watching the film as they would hearing or reading the play. For example in shakespeares play, in the balcony scene, Juliet is on the balcony and Romeo below her and here they express their love for each other. This way Shakespeares audience would see an obvious barrier between the two people. The obvious barrier is created firstly by the fact that Romeo is a Montague, Juliet is a Capulet, and the Montagues and Capulets despise each other. However Juliet realises that 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy' and that 'Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, Retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title...' This puts hope in the characters and Shakespeares audience that maybe it is possible for the two to be together. ...read more.


However, to keep switching storylines on stage would be difficult because as well as it being confusing for the audience, it might also be time-consuming getting actors on and off the stage. In the same way, I think that modern film audiences can react differently to a theatre audience, modern or Shakespearean. A film audience can become involved in the film because of the use of different camera angles or shots. Whereas, although a theatre audience might think that they can relate to the feelings of a character, they may not be able to relate too close because they are trying to connect with the words of a character, without seeing the look on their face. In addition, it is not just about the film and the theatre, but it is also to do with the audiences expectations. Somebody going to see the film would expect more than somebody going to the theatre would. The person going to the film would expect to see different locations, atmospheres, day and night; it would be more like reality to them. On the other hand, the person going to the theatre might be expecting good, strong voices/ dialogue, good language, and good acting. So here, before even watching or hearing the play, Romeo and Juliet, we already have two very different predictions/ideas of what each person expects from the play but portrayed differently. In the film and the play, especially in the death scene, dramatic irony is played upon a lot. For example, Romeo talks to Juliet, whom he thinks is dead, he kisses her and wonders why she is not pale, and why her cheeks and lips are still warm, thus ROMEO "Thou art not conquered, beauty's ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, And deaths pale flag is not advanced there." The audience know that she is still alive and they want Romeo to see this. ...read more.


For instance in the death scene Juliet wakes up just as Romeo has taken the potion, making it very dramatic for the audience. On the other hand, Shakespeare waits until Romeo has actually died before Juliet wakes up. In addition, to make the film appeal to the modern film audience Luhrmann tends to speed up the narrative so as not to make it long-winded and boring. Because in Shakespeare's time a theatre audience would hear the play, people expected long dialogue. Relating to this, most people nowadays know the story of Romeo and Juliet and therefore Luhrmann can edit text/dialogue. Luhrmann is 'dumbing down' the play, making it something to see, consequently, he relies on music, action, and visual effects to keep the audiences attention. In contrast with this, in Shakespeare's day, there was no scenery, few props and therefore when people went to hear Shakespeare plays, it was more about the language, and something they could go home and think about. Following on from this, some of the language in Luhrmann's film, is not well spoken, the audience cannot hear it. However, this does not matter a lot because the audience can more-or-less follow the story without speech. On the other hand, when people went to hear the play, the language, speech, and diction had to be good because dialogue was the only way of telling the play, as there was nothing visual. A good example of when Luhrmann uses music, sound, and visual effects, is when Romeo has the ecstasy pill on his finger. At this time in the play, it would be silent and all about Romeo. However, Luhrmann has fireworks exploding behind Romeo, therefore creating a more spectacular scene, and making it more dramatic for the audience. Because Baz Luhrmann keeps the authentic text but updates the setting, he makes Shakespeare familiar to a whole new generation. I think this is a good thing because maybe if Luhrmann had not made the film, Shakespeare plays would not live on for as long as they will do because people might dislike it because of the difficult language. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Romeo & Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Romeo & Juliet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher


    4 star(s)

    Therefore, the audience would also take Juliet seriously when she speaks of marriage with Romeo: they would understand that this is true love - not just infatuation. What's more, Juliet uses iambic pentameter during Act 4 Scene 3, when she takes the potion from Friar Lawrence.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    An analysis of Baz luhrmann's interpretation of 'Romeo and Juliet'.

    4 star(s)

    His voice is deep, sorrowful and sad. His tone of voice is meant to be serious so everyone will be influenced by what he says about the circumstances surrounding the storyline and take him seriously. Also by making the priest read the prologue it shows that he is aware of the situation surrounding both the families and

  1. Compare Baz Luhrmann's version of the Shakespeare classic 'Romeo and Juliet' with the original ...

    When the prologue reaches the line "From forth the loins of these two fatal foes" is said the two sets of parents are seen. When the last line is said no pictures are seen but the line is printed in bold white captions on a black background.

  2. How does Shakespeare Show Juliet's Changing Emotions and State of Mind though Language and ...

    though this gives her the picture of a young girl, rather than a young women. In Act One Scene Five Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, he questions his presumed love for Rosaline and he says that "I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

  1. Discuss the various perceptions of love in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet - Then choose ...

    Love for Romeo and Juliet is very emotionally bonded, and they cannot live without each other. This however does not mean there is no physical element to their relationship. Romeo and Juliet eagerly look forward to the physical side. This can be seen in act three, scene two, lines 1-30,

  2. How does the opening scene of "Romeo and Juliet" grab the audience's attention? How ...

    - Gregory "Quarrel, sir? No sir." - Abram As the provocation warms up, and the two opposing families begin to get angrier, the pace of the play quickens. Modern audiences may not have understood the insult of biting thumbs, but we would feel the tension that was building up on

  1. How did Shakespeare create tension in act 1 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet

    He is one of the richest men in Verona. There are servants, musician, dancing, food people dress for a ball and people im mask this would look very dramatic on an Elizabethan theatre and the crowed at the bottom of the stage felt like they where in the play How did Shakespeare create tension in act 1 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet ?

  2. Show Romeo's changes throughout the play and how Shakespeare's language is used to show ...

    The are learned words- not from the heart. Romeo is not in love with Rosaline. He is in love with the idea of being in love,. This love is a sharp contrast to the love which Romeo will later feel for Juliet- that is true love.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work