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Romeo and Juliet 'How do the respective directors adapt the play for a cinema audience?' Discuss in detail the relative adaptations and consider why they have been presented in this way.

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet 'How do the respective directors adapt the play for a cinema audience?' Discuss in detail the relative adaptations and consider why they have been presented in this way. There are many difference between showing a play in a theatre and showing it on film. The theatre is more of a writers medium and more emphasis is shown on language, you could say theatre acting is more dramatic. Film actors don't need to be quite so dramatic as the point the actor is trying to make can be conveyed in other ways on screen (such as through use of varied backgrounds). Also on stage the scenes need to be longer, this is to avoid changing the stage regularly. If a film had long scenes set in one place only, the audience would probably become quite restless and wonder what the point of such a long scene would be. In film however, the production is definitely a directors medium as he or she has total control over what parts of the texts are necessary and what parts are not. The director can lead an audience's attention in film by moving the camera to various angles and from various viewpoints whereas on stage this is limited as the only way in which to catch the audience's attention is by moving the spotlight on to someone at a certain part of the stage but even so they can still look around to other parts of the stage. In films their is a different chronology of events and intercutting is often used. This could be because a director feels that it's necessary to have the audience see what's happening in the other character's lives at the time something crucial is perhaps happening in another character's. This almost creates an air of suspense as the audience want to go back to the action but are being forced by camera to watch what is happening at another place in time. ...read more.

Middle

This plays upon the innocence of Romeo because it seems he had no choice but to kill Tybalt. Then as soon as he sees that Tybalt is dead he understands what he has done and what might happen to him as he shouts 'oh I am fortune's fool'. Even though Romeo should have been killed, because he was killing somebody for killing his friend, the Prince only banishes him rather than executing him outright. It's at this point that the film intercuts with a scene showing Juliet and the Nurse unlike in the play. This seems logical as it shows the reactions of the different character's. It also shows how Juliet adores Romeo and how he has potentially ruined their marriage through his actions. In the play text upon hearing about Tybalt's death and how it happened, Juliet weeps uncontrollably and her family think this is because Tybalt is dead but really she is weeping because her Romeo has been banished. Juliet goes to the Friar for assistance as to what she should do. He concocts a plan that would make her look as though she was dead even though she wouldn't be. All she had to do was take a potion that he gave her. When Juliet is back in her chamber, she gives a long speech expressing her fears about what she was doing, 'I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins... what if this mixture do not work at all?... what if it be poison which the friar subtly have ministered to have me dead...' The film does include most of this speech which is good as it shows her fears and more of her emotions. Without it the audience would perhaps think that Juliet would follow anybodies advice whereas with it we are shown Juliet as an young, insecure individual. Showing these fears in the text could also be showing how Juliet is sensible about her actions (as shown in the balcony scene) ...read more.

Conclusion

'So close but yet so far' is the phrase that really sprung into my mind when I saw the death scene in this film. Also there is no Friar in the death scene which there is in the play text. In the text the Friar comes in to get Juliet away when he realizes that Romeo never got the message to go to the vault. When he sees Romeo dead in vault with Juliet, he understands what has happened and tries to get Juliet out although she would not follow him. The Friar is important in the text as he is the only person, who truly knows what happens all throughout the play and he is needed in the text to explain the situation to the two families and the Prince and also the audience. The Friar's main objective throughout the play, other than being advisor to Romeo and Juliet, is to explain to the audience in his long speeches what is happening and what may happen in the future of the play. The film versions don't necessarily need the Friar as much as they can explain the play in other ways and do not need his long winded speeches. Out of the two films I personally preferred the Zeffirelli film as it is more traditional and is in-keeping with the play text and the theme. I think the film is more faithful to Shakespeare's intentions and that it portrayed the tragedy and romance of Romeo and Juliet better than the modern version did. However, I do think the Luhrman film was adapted very well to a modern society, I believe it would have been improved by using more modern speech as well to help the audience understand what was going on better. I think the Luhrman film should merely have been 'based' on the story of Romeo and Juliet, not using all the language. Both plays worked in their own different ways and both have been adapted well for a cinema audience. ...read more.

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