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I was confused at first when I watched Luhrman's version, as he has swapped the Capulet

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Introduction

Shakespeare A Comparative Essay <INTRODUCTION> This essay compares two scenes, from two film products. The directors have very differently modernised and restored the famously tragic love story written by William Shakespeare. In this essay I will be writing about the fight scenes in 'Romeo & Juliet', compare the different setting and language, and interpret the characters between the Baz Luhrmann-1996, and Franco Zefferelli-1968 versions of this William Shakespeare play. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote thirty-four plays altogether. They can be separated into five different groups according to the subject matter and theme: * The Histories, e.g. Henry V * The Tragedies e.g. Macbeth * The Comedies e.g. Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Nights Dream * The Romances e.g. The Tempest * The problem plays e.g. the Mechant of Venice, and Romeo & Juliet (interestingly both set in venice...) Shakespeare wrote at a time of considerable political unrest. Elizabeth-I was on her throne and Britain was under constant threat from Roman Catholic enemies who wanted to restore the links with Rome that Henry VIII had severed. He depended on royal approval to survive, so it is hardly surprising that he is pro-monarchy, as in Henry V and Macbeth, and anti civil war, as in Romeo & Juliet. Shakespeare wrote for a company of actors that he knew so he was able to tailor the parts to suit them. Women, however, were not allowed to perform on stage - acting was regarded as a lowly profession unsuitable for women - so all female roles had to be played by boys. Summary This is a story of a love at first sight, a love so powerful it results in tragedy beyond prophecy. This love is between Romeo and Juliet, who belong to rival families in the city of Verona, and how the hatred between their familes brings about their deaths. These families go by the names of the Montague and the Capulet Houses. ...read more.

Middle

Having a bawdy banter (the houses have swapped, maybe Luhrman noticed the houses suited the script better that way..?) the Montague Boys express their hatred of Capulets. In Zefferellis version, this scene is set in a dusty village, and the many villagers are the surrounding environment in the busy market place. One: A dog of the House of Montague moves me. Two: to move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand, therefore if thou art moved, thou runn'st away. One: a dog of that house shall move me to stand. I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montagues.> protesting against accusation to being effeminate. Luhramann's version has an expensive Montague car approach, and park beside them. The capulets discuss how best to provoke a fight without breaking the law One: My naked weapon is out. Quarrel, I will back thee.- start a fight I'll back you up. Two: How, turn thy back and run?-you promise you won't flee? One : Fear me not.-Trust me One: Let us take the law of our sides, let them begin.-so we don't get into trouble, let them start the fight instead. Two: I will frown as they walk by, and let them take it as they list.-I'll pull a face when they walk past, and let them assume what they want. One: nay as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them, which is a disgrace to them if they bear it.-no that might not work out, i will bite my thumb at them, if they don't retaliate it is a disgrace to their people, their choice.> One bites his own thumb - considered to be a highly insulting gesture - at Capulet, verbal confrontatation rapidly escalates into a fight. Sampson: (growls and bears his steely teeth! Slamming the door and steps up) do you bite your thumb at us sir?-'' '' One: I do bite my thumb sir-'' ''slighty worried. ...read more.

Conclusion

How the actors/characters interpretted the script and interacted amongst eachother was helpful when learning about them and adapting to the different styles in each version. Both directors aimed for/enabled the characters to have a natural and realistic look, again this helped interpret the significance of characters within the story. As a result, each film seemed to tell a different story, as the overall individual exaggerated film contrasts were different. Both versions seemed appropriate and were successfull in each era. Zefferelli enabled each scene to appear natural by setting the film in a sunny, humid, dusty old village; the scenes involved a dull roar of villagers in a crowded market place-(the audience feel part of the village), and without the advantage of modern camera tricks, or musical influence/emotion. In the fight scenes the town all get involved and are entertained by the hatred and violence, making jokes and treating the feud like its a joke itself. This doesn't allow the audience treat the feud seriously, and almost loses the audience as the fights are fast and rather untidy. However Luhrman has an advantage of camera tricks and musical emotion, which the film occasionally relys on, to grab attention and storytell alone. The conflicts in this version are personal between the main house characters, every character has their own dramatic, individual introduction, in fact the film has a dramatic introduction hinting what is in store, opera music, flashing images, bright colours, snap shots of characters. Consequently capturing the minds of a young audience. Zefferelli has made his version comparable to Shakespearean times, being naturally traditional. Despite both versions having different intents, in both versions the actors are fluent with the language, expression in the words makes it easier to adjust with a Shakespearean world, and follow the complex plot. The intent of Luhrmann's version was for the film to appeal to, and be accessible to a modern day audience. He hoped that the power of this play would be enjoyed, especially by a young audience, this version has compromised a Shakespearean language with a modern world. By Lauren Rickard 10B ...read more.

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