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Presenting Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to a modern audience is very difficult as there are many obstacles and barriers which must be overcome.

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Introduction

Presenting Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to a modern audience is very difficult as there are many obstacles and barriers which must be overcome. The most obvious barrier is the language used by the great writer, Romeo and Juliet is written in an archaic form of English, a form which most people find very difficult to understand. The first meeting of Romeo and Juliet is very well written. We know instantaneously that they are meant for each other because their first conversation creates a sonnet. At the time the play was written the sonnet was the most romantic form of poetry. Secondly there is the fact that when the play was first written there had been no need to put in stage directions so none had been written into the play. Thus modern publishers have had to make their own judgment as to where there should be stage directions and what they should be. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet's line talks of the sin being taken in the past tense so we must presume that she'd been kissed at this point. Then we get this exchange: ROMEO: Give me my sin again JULIET: You kiss by th'book Obviously they have kissed between these two lines because Juliet comments on how Romeo kisses. When directing this play in this day and age, directors have a lot more liberty and freedom to express the love between the two characters. With men performing all the roles in the original production, love scenes had to be muted as sodomy was a capital crime. Modern mediums allow us to explore the symbolism in the play and create our own. Baz Luhrman uses water a lot during the first meeting of the lovers and the later meeting at the balcony. Water symbolises freedom, fluidity and purity; the way that their love must have felt. ...read more.

Conclusion

I felt Danes was the superior actor, she delivered her lines in an original, confident and natural manner which made it possible to believe that she really was Juliet. Luhrman fails however in casting the Nurse correctly. He should have cast someone a lot younger than Miriam Margolyes as we are told that Nurse's dead daughter, Susan, was the same age as Juliet. This would have meant that the Nurse would have been a similar age as Lady Capulet who we are told is thirteen years older than Juliet thus making her twenty-seven years old (we are told that Juliet is soon to be fourteen in Act 1 Scene 3). Zefferelli uses architecture to express the beauty concealed in the play in his 1968 film. The balcony scene is this time filmed on a balcony from a beautiful sixteenth century palace. Friar Lawrence's church is the actual San Pietro church, a national treasure in Italy. The fancy dress costume which they are meant to wear is another tough challenge. ...read more.

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