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Analyse Baz Luhrmann's Interpretation of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' Particularly focusing on Act 1 Scene 5.

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Introduction

Analyse Baz Luhrmann's Interpretation of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' Particularly focusing on Act1 Scene5 Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' was first performed on stage at the Globe Theatre, South London, in 1597. More recently the modern film interpretations, by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968, and Baz Luhrmann in 1997, have been viewed by thousands. 'Romeo and Juliet' is truly one of the greatest tales of all time, for it can still entertain an audience of all ages and stun them into silence, with its clever script and gripping plot. Admittedly the romantic tragedy of 'two star crossed lovers' has been used to such an extent in a variety of stories such as West Side Story, that it is now considered a clich´┐Ż. Yet despite this, the story of 'Romeo and Juliet' is still incredibly popular and easily grips a modern audiences. Set in the 13th century, Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' is a story of two lovers, who, because of the hatred between their families, which goes back generations, can never be together. Their 'only love sprung from their only hate' leads to the tragic deaths of the two teenagers, and, ironically, the reconciliation of their families, the Montagues, and the Capulets. When Shakespeare wrote this play, it was to be performed on an 'Apron stage', and by the nature of such an Elizabethan stage, this caused several problems . ...read more.

Middle

This was not the case when Shakespeare's plays were originally performed because many members of the audience were far away from the stage, and could not see, and interpret facial expressions. Although some of the script has been missed out, the language has still, essentially, been kept the same. In the same way that sounds scenery and movement have been used to replace some of the script, they have also been used to enhance and explain it. Two of the main themes that run throughout the play are religion and love vs. hate. Religion is apparent from the first scene, of Act1, in the film interpretation, which is set at the petrol garage, when Tybalt and Benvolio start a brawl. In the original script both families are catholic, and attend the same church, however Luhrmann changed this to show an even greater divide, by the Capulet family being Catholic, and the Montague's, being an Anglican family. The youngsters use guns to fight, which are decorated with the family name, and pictures. Tybalt and the other Catholics involved in the brawl, have highly ornate guns, with elaborate decoration over most of the body. This shows the nature of the Catholics, with many detailed idols, and statues to worship. The Montague guns, however, are more simplistic, with a longer and sleeker body and little decoration other than the family crest and name. ...read more.

Conclusion

As some of the script has been cut, another way was needed to show the attitude and characteristics of certain characters. Juliet, for example, is dressed as an angel for the costume party; this shows her purity and innocence. This also links in with her saintly appearance to Romeo, which is mentioned during their sonnet. In my opinion, the film uses very string and effective imagery which, like the language of all Shakespeare plays, is based on drastic, exciting, and clear-cut contrasts. One of these contrasts is between wet and dry. The tears, blood, and water of the sea, pool and fish tank contrast greatly with the baron, dry land of Mantua and the heat of the city. The liquids represent freedom that seems real yet is contained by solid boundries, and the feelings and emotions that are running high in all the turmoil. Dryness, the opposite of this, gives the feeling of being restricted and starved of an important substance. Luhrmann does not appear to have fashioned this film with the elitist Shakespeare 'Purist' in mind. Instead by using lively modern imagery, mixed with a rock sound track, Lurmann has made 'Romeo and Juliet' come alive again, except this time with an appeal to a much wider audience than would have been expected. I believe that Luhrmann has achieved what he set out to do, which is re-create the classic story in the way he thinks that Shakespeare might, was he alive today. ...read more.

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