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William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is one of the world's greatest love stories. There have been many different interpretations of the play; one of the most famous interpretations of the play is the modern version produced by Baz Luhrmann (1996). The Baz Luhrmann's production captures the intensity and emotional hardship of the characters. It's surprising how much pain and sorrow this interpretation can inflict on the audience. Every aspect of the film adds something extra, such as; the sweeping orchestral music, action, violence and above all the atmospheric weather, which changes like a symbolic mood that passes through you. Although traditional and somewhat clich´┐Ż, Zeffirelli's version made in 1968, sticks very much to the original text compared to Luhrmann's. Zeffirelli's interpretation has less violence and does not use music to set an emotion or atmosphere as much as Baz Luhrmann's. I am focusing on Act 3 Scene 1 from the Luhrmann's version of the play. This scene is the deaths of Mercutio, Romeo's best friend and Tybalt, Juliet's cousin. This is a pivotal scene in the play as it leads directly to Romeo's exile and ultimately to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo's anger towards Tybalt for murdering Mercutio, leads him to kill Tybalt. From this point in the scene Romeo realises that he has ruined his life forever. "O, I am fortune's fool." ...read more.

Middle

The weather changes in this scene from a hot summer's day, to a storm. The heat of the afternoon represents the emotions and violence, which are building up from the characters and the storm represents the burst of violence and angry emotions from Romeo. The light, from clear sunny sky quickly changes to a stormy atmosphere; Baz Luhrmann also uses music to set the mood and emotions of the characters. Romeo, with such outrage and anger chases Tybalt. Baz Luhrmann uses a car chase and dark lighting with flashes of bright lights and close ups of Romeo's anger and Tybalt's scared facial expressions. He also uses loud dramatic orchestral music to add to the atmosphere. Romeo's and Tybalt's cars collide into each other. Baz Luhrmann adds an extra scene of Juliet happily waiting for Romeo on their wedding night, while Romeo is out fighting with her cousin. Tybalt's gun slides across the tarmac and Romeo reaches for it and points it directly towards Tybalt, while shouting, threatening to kill either one of them. "For Mercutio's soul is but a little way above our heads. Staying for thine to keep him company. Either tho or I, or both must go with him." With outrage Romeo shoots Tybalt in the chest. Tybalt's body falls into the river, at the feet of a religious statue. Baz Luhramm adds the statue to show how religious the play is. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Zeffirelli's version is extremely traditional. As Zeffirelli sticks to the original text, Zeffirelli uses traditional costumes, does not use music much, to set the atmosphere, in act 3 scene 1,it is more humours compared to Baz Luhrmann's version, Zeffirelli also does not use cars, weather or lighting changes to set a mood/ atmosphere but Zeffirelli uses sword fights unlike Baz Luhrmann's, Zeffirelli set it in the period when it was set in the play originally. In the Baz Luhrmann version, we, the audience, know more of what is happening before the characters do. Example; when Romeo and Juliet first meet, the audience know that their families are enemies before they find out. Also we, as the audience, know about Romeo murdering Tybalt before Juliet finds out. The Baz Luhrmann interpretation is very different to all the other interpretations of "Romeo and Juliet" that have been made since the original because he has made the film modern. The audience of today in my opinion, would react positively to this version because the film covers, most genres of films, as it has action, drama, romance, comedy and I also think that the audience of today would react positively to it because they could all relate to the story line in one way or another. I think if the audience of 1968 saw the Baz Luhrmann version then they would act differently compared to the audience of today because today's culture are more prepared for tragedy and deserters as today's culture has suffered more than the culture of 1968. Chloe DeBanks - Hirst 11JF ...read more.

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