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How does Bas Luhrman's staging of key scenes, in "Romeo and Juliet", add to our understanding of the play?

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Introduction

Coursework Essay: How does Bas Luhrman's staging of key scenes, in "Romeo and Juliet", add to our understanding of the play? The film "Romeo and Juliet" is staged in such a way that it adds detail and imagery. This adds to our understanding of Shakespeare's play. Throughout the play, there are certain scenes where these additions are numerous and hold great amounts of symbolism and importance. The prologue is the first scene in the play. It would, originally, introduce the play to the audience. Included in the prologue is the setting and background. Luhrman has made this introduction easier to understand by setting it in a twentieth-century environment and uses modern equivalents, such as televisions, to send messages to an audience that may not understand seventeenth-century understandings. A news reporter, broadcast on television, reads the prologue. At this point the audience would realise that the language has not been modernised as the visuals have. ...read more.

Middle

The image of blood suggests passion, however, this blood only ends in death. Throughout the prologue it mentions fate, for example, "fatal loins", "star crossed lovers" and others. As the definition of fate tells us, it is an event that is unavoidable. From the beginning of the play, the audience know that Romeo and Juliet will die in the midst of their family's conflict. Romeo perceives this before entering Capulet's mansion by saying "by some vile forfeit of untimely death". Romeo and Juliet give these premonitions at other times in the future. While the prologue is repeated, so as to emphasise it, there is a montage of quick images. Among these are various religious symbols. Luhrman does this to explain that Shakespeare bases the entire play in a society where religion and its laws are held in far higher regard than today. ...read more.

Conclusion

The metal sign, "add more fuel to your fire", suggests an explosion. As a Montague attempts to escape, he runs into traffic. This traffic is both metaphorical and literal as the citizens of Verona are caught between the two families. The ballroom scene contains the greatest amount of symbolism. Luhrman has adapted the story to explain Romeo's intoxication of love. Mercutio gives Romeo L.S.D and the first half of the party is a distorted image of love as he sees Mercutio singing in women's clothing and Tybalt kissing Juliet's mother. There is a crescendo of music and light as the party continues. Romeo is then seen washing his face and removing his mask. This represents Romeo's new identity. He then finds Juliet and realises a new form of love. In conclusion, Bas Luhrman has directed Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" in such a way as to give a new generation a better understanding of a tragedy. He has fused Shakespeare's words with a twentieth-century setting of which the audience can better comprehend the workings. Jonathan Baldry ...read more.

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