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Compare and Contrast the two Film Versions of Act 3 Scene 1 in Romeo and Juliet and Consider How they Reflect 17th and 20th Century Contexts

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Compare and Contrast the two Film Versions of Act 3 Scene 1 in Romeo and Juliet and Consider How they Reflect 17th and 20th Century Contexts 3.1 is a scene in which Mercutio, Romeo's friend and the main source of humour in the play, is murdered by Tybalt, a Capulet. In anger and vengeance for his dear friend he seeks revenge and consequently kills Tybalt. Baz Luhrmann and Zeffirelli have adapted this play and portrayed it in contrasting 20th century and 17th century contexts. Both have their similarities and differences but effectively illustrate a similar story which is adapted to suit their era. Both films provide different perspectives of the text due to their diverse settings; Luhrmann's is based in modern day America whereas Zeffirelli's is based in traditional Italy. In this essay I will analyse the scene in more detail and compare and contrast the two film versions of Act 3 scene to see how they reflect 17th and 20th century contexts. ...read more.


However, Zeffirelli does use the idea of costume to show some ideas in play. For example in this fight scene both Tybalt and Romeo are wearing hats. Tybalt wears a red hat with slits signifying the devil or maybe even an ominous prefiguration of what was to come, Romeo wears a yellow hat showing a sign of peace. "Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo", Tybalt insults Mercutio and from this point onwards the two adaptations take different advances. In Luhrmann's version Mercutio is offended by this remark and advances on Tybalt, incidentally starting the fight himself. However, in Zeffirelli's version he is quick-witted, realises what Tybalt was trying to say and makes a double meaning out of it, comparing themselves to minstrels who were fooling around. This reflects 17th and 20th century contexts because it shows people are more sensitive to homosexuals in the 20th century but it was considered normal to be close male friends in the 17th century. ...read more.


shouts Mercutio either on the stage or on top of the steps, just before his death. This is a pivotal point in the play in which the tragedy is made inevitable and smashes all hope of a happy ending. Romeo is faced with a dilemma of whether to kill Tybalt or not. Eventually he does, and delivers another fierce fight to the audience's enjoyment, but this time it was a fight to the death. Overall, it is clear that in both versions the story has been adapted and at some points changed to represent the 2 different contexts and also to appeal to the general audience and public at the time of release. Both films share ideas like the theme of water but are also strikingly different at times like in the idea of costume often to relate to their contexts'. It is apparent that Lurhmann has used ideas from Zeffirelli's version and tailored them to fit into a 20th century context. Luhrmann's adaptation of Act 3 Scene 1 seems to be more serious and takes a sharper tone whereas Zeffirelli's is lengthier and more comical giving the audience something to enjoy rather than to mourn over. ...read more.

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