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In this piece of coursework I will be comparing two different films based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the original text.

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Introduction

Romeo & Juliet In this piece of coursework I will be comparing two different films based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the original text. I will first introduce the two different films: 1. Baz Luhrman version - this version is set in modern times, in a large city, Verona. The language is Shakespearian but everything else has been converted to modern style. 2. Franco Zefferreli - This is set in medieval times. Most things are as the original text. It seems like a Greek or Italian city, however it is still Verona. At the start of the films, there are prologues that attempt to tell you what is happening. In the modern, Luhrman version, a news reporter on a television against a black background does this, however in the Zefferelli version, the prologue is told as the credits and title is shown. The speaker is not seen, and the voice is coming from the background, the speech is in an old style. In addition, the Luhrman version has a series of scenes that explain and show to the viewers who the different characters in the film are, also in these scenes it repeats a section of the prologue in text and speech accompanied by fast paced, classical music. In the original text, there are 14 lines of text in the prologue, however, in the films prologue, the Luhrman version cuts down the lines to only 12 when the TV reporter is speaking it, and then cuts it down to 9 during the action scenes in the civil brawls, so it ends at "A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life". The Zefferelli version, during its prologue stops at line 8 which is, "doth with their death bury parents' strife", therefore it ...read more.

Middle

In the Zefferelli version Benvolio is again the same, as in the Luhrman version, and tries to separate the two sides. But he will fight if he has to. Tybalt again is like the Luhrman version. He is a very snug character and thinks he is the best there is. Both films seem to emphasise that Tybalt is a very dark, tough and evil type of character. The text also seems to want to show this. The same is true with Benvolio. They both follow the text at this point. In the text he also seems confident when he is trying to break the fight up, but when Tybalt appears he seems to loose this confidence. Also the prologue is cut slightly, to keep viewer interest. And the text and voice prologue during the introduction is cut when it says, "take their life". I think this is so interest is kept and the audience know something is going to happen. The conversation between Romeo and Benvolio is cut in the Luhrman version. They seem to walk into a hall then skip to the beginning of Act 1 scene 2, but then it goes back to the rest of the conversation from Act 1 scene 1. This may be so that the audience knows what's going to happen, because they mention the Capulet feast and also this could have been because the lines missed out are not of any use to the viewer. Also, this version changes the beginning so that the Montagues are shown first instead of the Capulets. This may be so the producers could introduce the Capulets later in the petrol station, because they are the ones who cause the trouble. ...read more.

Conclusion

He has a very calm and noble personality. He seems to like being alone and is the kind of person that everyone is a friend with. His relationship with Benvolio is quite strong as they are cousins. You can clearly see that Romeo is not happy with all the Fights Benvolio gets involved in, this can be shown when he says "o me! What fray was here?" after he sees his cousin on TV with his weapon raised. In the Zefferelli version Romeo is again quite an innocent character. He is wearing different clothes to the other Montagues; his clothes are less classy in comparison to theirs. He is also holding a flower, which shows his good nature and intentions. The way in which he enters the film gives the viewer the impression that he is feeling depressed. His demeanour is that he is a person with little on his mind. His relationship with Benvolio is not as strong as it is in the Luhrman version. This is possibly because he doesn't like violence and therefore tries to limit his time with Benvolio, who seems to be a slightly more violent character. We can see how upset he gets when he sees the injured citizen. I think that the Zefferelli version is the best at representing Romeo as a character. This is because he makes him much more innocent and seem more affected by his life so far, than in the Luhrman version. I think that overall, the Zefferelli version has followed the text more closely during Act 1 Scene 1, and in doing so has emphasized the points that Shakespeare wanted emphasized. However, the Luhrman version is aimed at the modern young teenager, and is set to suit their tastes. It has been completely re-structured in regards to setting and costumes. ...read more.

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