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What dramatic interest is achieved through the character of Juliet and how do the film directors, Zeffirelli and Luhrmann portray her?

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet What dramatic interest is achieved through the character of Juliet and how do the film directors, Zeffirelli and Luhrmann portray her? Juliet is an interesting character due to her changing character during the course of the play. At the beginning of the play, Shakespeare tries to portray Juliet as an innocent young girl, who is obedient and respectful to her parents. As she falls in love with Romeo and becomes more disobedient, she fakes her own death to her parents - something she never would have done earlier in the play. There have been many different interpretations of Romeo and Juliet since it was written by William Shakespeare in the 17th century. The classic love story still remains popular to this day. Franco Zeffirelli directed a film version of Romeo and Juliet in 1968 and Baz Luhrmann directed a film of the play in 1996. I think that the story of Romeo and Juliet has remained so popular throughout the centuries because it shows how powerful love can be, as it brings the two feuding families together. Despite being a main character, Juliet does not make an appearance in the play until Act 1 Scene 3. Shakespeare uses this scene to introduce Juliet's character, to give the audience a very good idea of what her character is like before she meets Romeo. We discover that Juliet is very obedient towards her parents as soon as she comes into the play; as soon as she is called, she arrives. Her first words of the play tell us a lot about her character. ...read more.

Middle

for killing Tybalt. Juliet faces another problem in Act 3 Scene 5 when her parents tell her that they want her to marry Paris. Capulet, Juliet's father, who has not noticed the change in his daughter since his party, is infuriated by this, telling her that if she does not marry Paris in two days time, he will disown her. As she turns to the Nurse for comfort, the Nurse betrays her, and says that she should marry Paris, at her parents' will. The dramatic interest gained here is through the fact that Juliet is becoming more and more isolated and alone; the only person she can talk to is Friar Lawrence, as Romeo has been banished. Juliet goes to see Friar Lawrence (the only other person who knows about Romeo and Juliet's marriage) in Act 4 Scene 1. When the Friar suggests a plan to Juliet, involving her dangerously faking her own death, she jumps at the chance; she feels that she has nothing left to lose. Juliet faking her own death adds to the drama and tension of this scene; and also shows how much she has changed since the start of the play, when she was so obedient to her parents. Juliet's language in this scene is very desperate; she comments that she would rather jump 'from off the battlements of any tower' than marry Paris; and goes on to list many other unimaginable things that she would rather do than marry Paris. ...read more.

Conclusion

Luhrmann's, unlike Zeffirelli's, was set in the late 20th century, so Juliet wore modern clothes; for example jeans and t-shirts. The party scene in this film was a fancy dress party, and Juliet is symbolically dressed as a heavenly angel, suggesting innocence, hope and purity, along with the idea, once more, of Juliet wearing white. In the balcony scene, she falls into the swimming pool below her window with Romeo, possibly suggesting baptism or new life. As she is getting married, she wears white again, and also has her hair up, to suggest independence and maturity. Juliet wears black when she goes to see the Friar, after the argument with her parents, as she is upset and mourning. When she takes the potion in this film, she wears pink, silk pyjamas, looking sophisticated. She also takes the potion without hesitation, showing that she is in control, and showing no signs of looking back. There are many differences between Luhrmann's and Zeffirelli's films. In Luhrmann's version, Juliet looks much older (about the same age as Romeo) than in the Zeffirelli film. Zeffirelli's Juliet acts childishly, and giggles a lot, whereas the Juliet in Luhrmann's film acts less like a child, although the change in character is still noticeable, if not as much as in Zeffirelli's version. Zeffirelli chooses music to reflect the mood in each scene, whereas Luhrmann opts for popular hits, but the music is still powerful and intense. Of the two films, my personal favourite is Zeffirelli's film. I think that Luhrmann tries to modernise the story too much, and ruins the film. ...read more.

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