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Consider how the dramatist's work is developed, modified and enhanced by the Zeffirelli and Luhrmann cinematic adaptations.

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Introduction

Task: What is important to Shakespeare in his construction of selected scenes from 'Romeo and Juliet"? How and why is this conveyed? Consider how the dramatist's work is developed, modified and enhanced by the Zeffirelli and Luhrmann cinematic adaptations. Fast and heavy romance courses through the veins of innocence, skating through a story brimming with entranced emotion. Fate, haste and conflict stew until finally exploding and causing the death of two na�ve hearts. Depicted through many dramatic devices are the elements of destiny, beliefs and prejudice in human character at the hand and mind of Shakespeare. He writes how innocence, in the form of the two lovers can be corrupted itself by the prejudice between their families, the irony and ignorance of two families so comparable they are conjoined in mutual hatred. Conveyed are the timeless aspects of human emotion, moral and philosophical issues that can be transferred throughout time; they are still relevant today as 'Universal Truths'. The original story has been present, in various versions, before and after Shakespeare written by many playwrights as it holds in peoples' minds, but his scriptures have proved to be the most famous and effective version of the tale due to his dramatisation and effective use of literature techniques. Two film versions have been placed upon Shakespeare's text, both very different but both portraying Shakespeare's intended themes and issues successfully, altering elements to ensue modern audiences. The play is begun with a rhyming prologue similar to the form of a sonnet, a style correlated with love, and often the pain of love, which corresponds entirely considering the story set to unfurl. This dramatic device relays the story and themes of the play to the audience, in effort to focus attention on the core of the play. Shakespeare wanted to not capture the audience in what happens, but why, how and the ways in with people react to each other. ...read more.

Middle

In this film they are set as rival businesses. Luhrmann's version continues its modern cinematic adaptation and sets the first scene upon the Montague boys, here portrayed as rowdy, yelling, juvenile punks. They are riding in an open top car, dressed in bright, Hawaiian prints with vibrantly dyed hair with shaved crosses on their heads, again showing the dominance of religion. This fast action scene captivates the modern day audience, who requires and thrives on action, special effects and haste in movies. The Capulets are dressed entirely different to the Montagues; they are stylish, slick and very dark compared to them. This is also shown in the vehicle they are driving, a sleek black convertible. Religion is dominant in this scene, with Tybalt shown with a biblical image upon his vest and various other idols. The guns which both houses yield are named 'swords', thus making the speech relevant still to the setting. Again, the sexual wordplay in the original text is dropped in order to concentrate on the violence and hatred between the families which the present audience craves. Both families meet up at a Gas Station instead of a Market Place where they are both filling up their cars, again a modernisation of the script. The immaturity of the boys is more simplistic, and one liners which have potential to be understood are slotted in. The similarities between the two households are highlighted the whole time, even the license plates of their cars, 'MON 005' and 'CAP 005' stress them being parallel. They are so alike that it can never work, which is exactly what happens between Romeo and Juliet. The Montague boys are seen taunting Nuns whom are getting into a car, singing 'I am a pretty piece of flesh', thus stimulating the sexual banter as written in the play. The way it is performed is clearer to the audience the way in which it is offensive in a sexual nature, as the innocent Nuns flee the scene in horror at the boys when one of the Capulet boys licks his own nipple, directing the gesture at the Nuns. ...read more.

Conclusion

Seconds after, Juliet awakes from her slumber and finds him, killing herself with his dagger at the thought of living without her love. The wedding bed and death bed are continually twinned throughout the play, with both characters relating them at various stages. Evidentially we see that their vows of marriage are their sale into death. The Luhrmann version of this scene I think portrays so much more successfully the desperation and need between the couple than Zeffirelli's. The emotion from Romeo is processed on a much larger scale and the occurrences scene to happen distinctly faster. It seems only seconds before Romeo is looking down on his apparently dead wife before he his holding the poison to his lips, at which instant Juliet's eyes open and she is so happy to see him, not knowing that she has just witnessed him commit suicide. The instant between them both realising what has happened, that there is no turning back creates such a highly unbearable sorrow which an audience would be stunned by. The ending is rather bleak and stark to such an emotional build up; Romeo and Juliet's haste almost certifies this travesty. I feel that if they had not been so quick to promise themselves to each other things would have turned out differently, even if it did take a fair time to work out. Nonetheless, their love proved too much to handle and they both believed that a concrete step was needed to rectify their love in the eyes of the rival families, but this did not turn out to be the case. Their love, seemingly so pure, could not withstand the hatred between the households and brought about their deaths which is everything but what they had intended, amidst a desperate air and travesty. Both film versions adapted, modified and enhanced the original texts in order to convey Shakespeare's intentions and suit it to audience wants, producing two different versions both portraying the timeless tale of love destroyed by hate. ?? ?? ?? ?? Robyn Cordall Shakespeare Essay ...read more.

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