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Compare and Contrast Shakespeare's original text of "Romeo and Juliet" with two film productions, focusing on Act 1 scene 5.

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Compare and Contrast Shakespeare's original text of "Romeo and Juliet" with two film productions, focusing on Act 1 scene 5. Franco Zeffirelli's version of Romeo and Juliet aims to echo Shakespeare's original format, while Baz Luhrman seeks to reintroduce the tragic tale of star-crossed lovers to a modern audience through the use of fast paced action and violence. In my assignment I will compare and contrast theses film versions with Shakespeare original text. A striking contrast between these two productions is the choice of location where the actual story unfolds. Both Shakespeare and Zeffirelli set their play in Verona, Italy. I t provides a sunny and tranquil setting unlike Baz Luhrman's adaptation, which takes place in Verona Beach, California. Lurhman creates a suburban setting where sky scrapers take the place of sand stone buildings. Luhrman, however fails to truly represent our lifestyle and society, as too much of the film's emphasis is placed upon the expensive way of life enjoyed by the rival families. This is revealed by the lavish party held by the Capulets. The costumes worn by the actors to the ball are very important. ...read more.


The genre of music utilized varies enormously. Luhrman infuses a contempory love ballad into the. Zeffirelli employs music to convey a central theme. The song is entitled: "What is a Youth?" it compares Romeo and Juliet's love and lives to a rose, beautiful but brief: "A rose will bloom, it then will fade So does a youth, and the fairest maid." All background noise is erased as Romeo sees Juliet through the fish tank in Baz Luhrman's version. The young lovers are so consumed with one another that they are oblivious to anything else around them. From the moment Romeo meets Juliet at the Capulet's ball his affected love for Rosaline vanishes: "Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night." He puts aside his sentiment and artificiality. True love takes complete possession of his mind and soul and becomes the driving force in his life. After meeting Juliet, even Romeo's language undergoes a great change. It becomes more simple, pure and eloquent. It is truly the language of the heart. ...read more.


This re-emphasizes to the audience that Romeo has been thwarted in love before and possibly fears rejection. Juliet in contrast is an amateur in this field and so has no doubts. Within Act 1 scene 5, prominent status is given to the workings of 'Fate' and its manifestations in visions, omens and forebodings. The foreshadowing, so common in all of Shakespeare's plays is uttered form Juliet's mouth near the close of the scene. Upon identification of her lover, Juliet, like Romeo, finds it cruelly ironic that "my only love sprung from my only hate." She laments that this news is an ominous indication of what lies directly before her. Both youths realize all too late the seriousness of their love and the problems it can cause. Although both versions achieve the same end through different means, my favorite interpretation of "Romeo and Juliet" was that of Franco Zeffirelli. I found it consistent and easy to follow. It enabled me to fully grasp the Shakespearean language used as it was spoken more slowly and without American accents. I also enjoyed Luhrman's modern adaptation but I thought it was a little over the top and the violence detracted from the central love story. ...read more.

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