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Look closely at the treatment of love in Shakespeare's play and in the Zeffirelli and Luhrman film versions. Explain how some of the choices made by the playwright and directors make it still popular 400 years later.

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Introduction

Look closely at the treatment of love in Shakespeare's play and in the Zeffirelli and Luhrman film versions. Explain how some of the choices made by the playwright and directors make it still popular 400 years later. 'Romeo and Juliet' is the fictional tragedy about the love- hate relationship between two families in Shakespearian times. The play by Shakespeare is often depicted in differing ways and there have been many film versions made but two of the most well known are the Zeffirelli and Luhrman versions. In the play and both of the films the love between Romeo and Juliet is always present. Love has a transforming effect upon Romeo and Juliet. Romeo appears to be in love with the idea of being in love rather than Juliet. Upon seeing Juliet, Romeo forgets about the rest of his life and regards Juliet as the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Romeo undergoes a change from a shallow affection to a binding love upon seeing Juliet. In the Zeffirelli and Luhrman film versions the play is portrayed in different ways. In the Baz Luhrman version the play is modernised and Americanised in a number of ways including the use of modernised weapons, names, clothes and settings. ...read more.

Middle

This makes it more difficult for people to relate to as they may not understand what some of the language means, this will if anything make it less popular with modern day audiences especially younger children. In the Baz Luhrman film the love hate relationship is shown only by Romeo's generation who fight in the streets with each other. When it is discovered that Montague's have made their way into the Capulet's party it is once again only Tybalt who is concerned and not his father. This is also a more modernised interpretation because modern day arguments between teenagers don't normally involve their parents. This makes it a lot easier for modern day audiences to associate with and therefore makes it more popular 400 years after it was written. Whereas in the Zeffirelli version more than one generation of the families fight and brawl in the streets with each other. This sword fighting is more difficult for our generation to relate to making it less popular. During the fighting that goes on between the families Romeo and Juliet both love and hate members of the same family, they know that they should not be seeing each other in private, but cannot help the fact that they are madly in love . ...read more.

Conclusion

The depictions in the plays make the Zeffirelli version popular with older audiences, and the Luhrman version more popular with younger modern day audiences such as teenagers of Romeo and Juliet's age. It is because of the modernisation choices made by the directors that the Luhrman version is still popular with modern day audiences. The directors in the Luhrman film version made choices that have ensured that the play can still be enjoyed by everyone; just like it would have been when it was performed 400 years ago in Shakespearian England. However I do not think that the Zeffirelli version is as popular with modern day audiences especially with children because it is more difficult to understand, as they cannot appreciate the language or reason with the more 'old fashioned' setting. Although both of the films have been made in the 20th century there is a time gap between them. During this time there have been many changes in peoples lifestyles and treatment of others. The Zeffirelli version is definitely less modernised than the Luhrman version. Children such as Romeo and Juliet would have respected their parents and would have 'only spoke when spoken to'. However since it was written peoples respect for their elders has dramatically decreased. This is definitely reflected in these two versions of the play and they have been scripted to allow for this. ...read more.

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