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Compare and Contrast how Mercutio is Portrayed in the Baz Luhrman and the Franco Zefferelli Productions of Romeo and Juliet Focusing on Act 3 Scene 1

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast how Mercutio is Portrayed in the Baz Luhrman and the Franco Zefferelli Productions of Romeo and Juliet Focusing on Act 3 Scene 1 Baz Luhrman and Franco Zefferelli explore and interpret Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and present them both in very different ways, mainly due to the fact that Shakespeare didn't write too many stage directions on his plays. Besides the language he used, there was few stage directions for them to base there work upon, allowing them free to interpret into completely separate ways. But, the one thing they kept the same was the language Shakespeare wrote in. Making it still obviously a Shakespearian film, even though it was set in different times. This essay will explain how Mercutio is portrayed in both adaptations of the film. It will also be looking at the settings, music, expressions and the actions of the other characters around and with Mercutio. Luhrman set his film in the present day (1996), which best captures the essence of Shakespeare for the present-day viewer and although the language is still in Shakespeare's style, it still seems easier to understand when put into present day context. The movie begins with the prologue but instead of it being in the usual form of a chorus talking it is set into a television broadcast, which would has been modernized into present-day environment. ...read more.

Middle

In Luhrman's film, the first time we catch a glimpse to the other side of Mercutio is when they are at the party and Mercutio goes into a kind of trance mode. Talking nonsense and shouting and screaming. This is when he offers Romeo a pill which has a heart inside it; this could make us see that Mercutio isn't all innocent as he was made out to be. We now see he likes to have a good time, but he takes risks... In the beginning of Act 3 scene 1 in Franco Zefferelli's film, Mercutio is the first character we see; he is kinsman to the Prince and best friend to Romeo; at this moment in the film he is fooling around and making a joke; which is a common trait with this character. He is with Benvolio; whose name (in Latin) means "good wisher." This could imply that Benvolio is here to help out. He starts of with warning Mercutio about the Capulet's; "The Capel's are abroad, and if we meet we shall not 'scape a brawl," which means that the Capulet's are about and if they meet them they shall end up in a fight. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, on the other hand in Luhrman's film, it is the Capulet's, which wear the plain colours, and the Montague's that wear the bright and "exciting" coloured clothing. But the Capulet's are always wearing the more serious smart look they want to show off how fierce they are. And the Montague's scruffier. In the Luhrman's version, Mercutio wears clothes that reflect his personality and nature, they are bright and outgoing, at the Ball party he dresses up as a woman in a diminutive silver costume. He could be gay but it was left for the viewers' own opinion. You can see at the dance, the way he flaunts himself around parades around, he is the centre of attention at one point. He isn't ashamed to expose himself in front of anybody. He actually enjoys the attention. This is what you would expect of him, and what the other characters expected of him. In conclusion I think that the Luhrman version and the Zefferelli version are very different. They have the same dialogue but show Mercutio, the Capulets and the Montagues in very different depths. Although Luhrmans film may be more appealing to the younger viewers, due to its modern day actors and easy plot, Zefferelli's was once popular to its own audience of it's time. They have explored different ways in which you can interpret Shakespeare's work and have both been successful in doing so. ...read more.

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