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In Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet, the commencement of the Capulet Ball is marked with an impressive fireworks display. There is a great sense of excitement and a sense that something special is imminent. Both

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet - The Balcony Scene Act 2 Scene 2 "To be or not to be" was not a question asked when Shakespeare released his first play. People knew that his plays would last the test of time and their popularity today is testament to his success. Shakespeare's work was popular from day one with everyone, from the young to the old, the rich to the poor, the commoner to royalty, with Queen Elizabeth I being an avid enthusiast of his work. There were few forms of entertainment in Shakespeare's era, but the theatre was by far most popular. Visiting the theatre was affordable to people of all classes as the price of tickets ranged from just a penny, to much higher prices for those who could afford it and who wanted the luxury of a seat with a good view. Although Shakespeare did not have stage props, elaborate costumes or the use of music or cinematic devices such as we have today, he used what he had to gain effect. If a canon sound or gunshot were needed, often a team outside the theatre would create the sound using methods of their time. And in battle scenes, animal innards would have been strewn upon the stage. Stage setting and wardrobe were rudimentary by today's standards but nonetheless did not deflect from the stage performances. Shakespeare used his gift of language to enthral his audiences and his plays continue to do so today. Audiences would have to wait another three hundred years before they could see Shakespeare's work on film, and the love affair between the world's greatest writer and the world's most popular art form hasn't stopped since. Movies about Shakespeare are numerous - some two hundred and fifty movies have been produced, and have been shown in cinemas and homes throughout the world. In this essay, I will be writing about one such film, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet is amused by his antics and tries helplessly to contain her laughter, while Paris mistakenly thinks that he is impressing Juliet. Later, an oblivious Paris is filmed talking to Juliet's mother while Juliet and Romeo converse secretly in the background. Juliet is standing at a pillar looking mildly bemused by the experience of dancing with Paris, when suddenly someone grabs her hand. To her delight she finds it to be Romeo who hides behind the side of the pillar so as not to arouse rumour with her family. It is at this point that Romeo and Juliet speak for the very first time, and throughout this dialogue Romeo persuades Juliet into allowing him to give her a kiss. After some flirtatious teasing, Juliet gives in and Romeo and her slip into a lift where they kiss. As the lift doors open, Romeo and Juliet step out on to another floor where Juliet spies her mother and Paris coming up some stairs. She promptly drags Romeo back into the lift with her where they indulge in yet another kiss. As the lift doors open again, a less than amused Nurse pulls a reluctant Juliet away. Regardless of the trouble that she may be in for being caught with another young man, Juliet cannot take her eyes off Romeo who again is seen running after her. Luhrmann uses the Kissing You instrumental in the movie until the scene where Romeo sees Juliet with her mother, Lady Capulet. Nurse mutters to Juliet that Romeo is a Montague, an enemy of her family. As both Romeo and Juliet realise that they are of families who hate each other, the music changes to a dramatic and sad instrumental. Shakespeare now moves the scene from within the Capulet mansion to outside in its grounds. Romeo after departing the ball longs to be with Juliet and is quick to leave his friends and search for his love Juliet, who he can't endure to be away from. ...read more.

Conclusion

As there is little dialogue involving Capulet and Lady Capulet, Luhrmann felt it was particularly important for their costumes to be accurate to their personalities. Capulet is portrayed as the invincible Augustus and Lady Capulet as the divine yet materialistic Cleopatra. Capulet is depicted as Augustus to show him as an omnipotent, stubborn, egocentric man who is also very ostentatious in his manner. Lady Capulet is equally matched to her costume character. When dressed as Cleopatra, Lady Capulet is in her element as a vain, manipulative woman, who like her husband enjoys being centre of attention. Lady Capulet also relished the idea of men falling at her feet, just as Cleopatra had enjoyed this attention too. At the Masque Ball, Tybalt and his cronies are aptly dressed in rather sinister outfits in satanic colours of red and black. Tybalt wears a head adornment similar to devil horns or cat ears, which adds to his connection with evil and his reputation as Prince of Cats. His hellish costume also illustrates his fiery temperament and his ability to combust at any time. Tybalt's companions are also dressed in rather sinister, satanic, skeleton guises to resemble their fiery temperament, and their obsession with killing and death. Luhrmann's use of costumes in the movie is highly effective. His conversion of Shakespeare's characters into modern archetypes makes it easy for viewers to empathise with the individual personalities of each character. One key difference between Shakespeare's original play and Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet is the dialogue. In Shakespearian times, the theatre was predominantly an aural rather than a visual experience. Audiences loved Shakespeare's long, romantic and poetic speeches. Characters described the settings through their speeches instead of through backgrounds and props. Actors had to convey all necessary information regarding plot, characters and settings, as the plays would have been performed on a bare stage with few props and limited costumes. Shakespearian playhouses didn't have the benefit of lighting, background music or special effects to add to the drama within the play, they relied solely on the ability of the actors. ...read more.

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