• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

With particular reference to Mercutio how far do you think that Zefferelli and Luhrmann have realised Shakespeare's intentions in Act Three, Scene One of Romeo and Juliet?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

With particular reference to Mercutio how far do you think that Zefferelli and Luhrmann have realisedShakespeare's intentions in Act Three, Scene One of Romeo and Juliet? Set against a background of conflict, revenge, loyalty and hatred, 'Romeo and Juliet', in my opinion is, as one eminent critic stated, "a tragedy of youth as youth sees it1." In this play Shakespeare portrays love as a violently ecstatic, and overpowering force which inevitably and inexorably leads the lovers to their doom. Intricately interwoven into the plot of Romeo and Juliet are the timeless themes of death, violence, tragedy and passion as we race along the "misadventured" path of the "star-crossed lovers." In Act Three, Scene One we witness the turning point of the play; Mercutio's needless but predestined death drives Romeo to seek revenge for his beloved friend and pushes him further towards his doom. Once Mercutio and Tybalt are removed from the action, the audience's attention is no longer distracted and our full focus is upon the eponymous "star-crossed lovers." Franco Zefferelli and Baz Luhrmann have each approached Romeo and Juliet in different ways and it is interesting to see how these Twentieth Century directors have interpreted the 1595 play. By using Act Three, Scene One, I intend to show how, over four hundred years after it was written and first acted, Romeo and Juliet retains its timeless appeal for young people. It is quite extraordinary that a play which was written so long ago, should still excite and affect people, especially in a society where traditions and values have changed so dramatically for the younger generation. Although, traditions have changed and technology has become a dominant force, society will always be affected by the emotions of love and hate which Shakespeare cleverly captured in Romeo and Juliet. These emotions will always cause conflict and will always appeal to all audiences, especially younger audiences. ...read more.

Middle

Luhrmann, in contrast to Zefferelli, made his production livelier and adapted this classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy for the screen, by updating the setting to a post-modern, fictional city named Verona Beach. He also used modern images and powerful futuristic and exciting effects, with a modern rock soundtrack. The difference between the two families is shown through their opposite religious icons and business connections. The youths of the two clans, riding in jazzy cars with rap music blaring, carry handguns openly, which they brandish in frequent showdowns that rarely lead to bloodshed. Zefferelli cast youthful, good-looking, relatively unknown actors in his version of Romeo and Juliet, but Luhrmann chose the young teen icons, Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes, already established box-office draws. This had the added advantage of taking Romeo and Juliet to an audience that would normally think of Shakespeare as a chore to be studied in school. However, in my opinion, in both the Zefferelli and the Luhrmann productions, it is the charismatic, three-dimensional character of Mercutio who maintains the young audience's interest; he is a rebel of his time, whether it is the sixties or the nineties, and young people always identify with a rebel. Act III Scene I opens with a crash of thunder followed by many aimless gun shots from Mercutio into the sea. This fits with Benvolio's godlike warning (delivered from the top of a lifeguard's chair) to Mercutio as he says "...these hot days, is the mad blood stirring."10 This is a very clever way of contrasting the heart-warming matrimonial union of Romeo and Juliet, in the preceding Act II Scene IV scene, with a scene that starts so intensely with guns and thunder. Luhrmann uses ominous weather signs such as the imminent thunderstorm, as a dramatic device, to give a warning of what is to come. The gun, the lifeguard's chair and the stark archway (a Proscenium Arch?) ...read more.

Conclusion

A purist might question the cuts in some speeches and scenes, the changes in plot (why is Paris alive at the end of the play in both Zefferelli's and Luhrmann's productions?) and the lack of clarity in diction, especially in Luhrmann's film. However, I firmly believe that Shakespeare intended his Romeo and Juliet to be accessible to all, but to young people in particular; Juliet is thirteen years old and Romeo is not much older and their deaths are indeed " a tragedy of youth as youth sees it."21 Zefferelli and Luhrmann, in my view, most definitely realised Shakespeare's intentions by bringing this four-hundred years old play to a modern-age society without sacrificing its integrity. 1 Eminent critic 2 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in his 1811 critical essay of 'Romeo and Juliet in Full View' 3 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act II Scene IV 4 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act I Scene IV 5 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act I Scene IV 6 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act I Scene IV 7 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in his 1811 critical essay of 'Romeo and Juliet in Full View' 8 Susan Snyder in her critical essay 'The comic Matrix of Romeo and Juliet' 9 In his critical book, 'Shakespeare in Short,' W. Grierson 10 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 11 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 12 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 13 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 14 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 15 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 16 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 17 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 18 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 19 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 20 William Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' Act III Scene I 21 Eminent critic Frehiwot Dereje ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast the images of love in: Act I Scene V, Act II ...

    5 star(s)

    Here Romeo is saying that if her eyes were in the night sky, they would shine so brightly that birds would sing, thinking it was daylight. This is a long and complex image. However, it does its job as it successfully communicates across Romeo's thoughts and feelings on Juliet.

  2. Violence and conflict are central to Romeo and Juliet. Discuss this theme with reference ...

    However, Lady Capulet concludes the opposite; Juliet will make the poison even more poisonous. Shakespeare depicts a dramatic device, whilst Juliet continues to speak with ambiguity: "O how my heart abhors/ To hear him named and cannot come to him, / To wreak the love I bore my cousin/ Upon his body that hath slaughtered him!"

  1. Compare and Contrast how Mercutio is Portrayed in the Baz Luhrman and the Franco ...

    Short lived but remembered as when he does die the rest of the play changes from bad to worse. It is not in Mercutio's character to get mad or angry; he likes to be laid back.

  2. Compare and contrast the two 'Romeo and Juliet' films,by Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann. ...

    It is interesting how it is presented in the Franco Zeffirelli production as it is made out like everyone else is an audience to Mercutio and he is the joker of the group. Also he is leading the group around the place, therefore he likes power.

  1. Using camera angles, soundtrack, costume, props and setting describe the world Baz Lurhman has ...

    For example another effective use of prop was at the start of the film with the T.V and the newsreader. A lot of us associate bad news with the News. It seems to be the only news they do show.

  2. How does Shakespeare use language, structure and dramatic devices in Act 3 Scene 1 ...

    Romeo must not live." Here Lady Capulet mentions the law that the Prince set at the beginning of the play. The mention of this gets the audience to remember it as well and helps them stay on track with what is happening.

  1. HOW DOES SHAKESPEARE ADD INTEREST AND EXCITEMENT FOR THE AUDIENCE IN ACT 3 SCENE ...

    This sudden change of behaviour has great impact on the audience, as this is something totally unexpected. In addition to this, there is a sudden and unexpected change in the behaviour of the nurse. In this scene, Juliet seeks comfort and help from the nurse as she is certain that

  2. Explore the ways in which Romeo and Mercutio are presented in Act 2 ...

    love seriously, as foreshadowed by Shakespeare?s use of an aptonym ?Mercutio?, meaning downfall and uncontrollable. In Act 2 scene 4, Shakespeare demonstrates Mercutio?s antipathy towards Tybalt, as revealed when he says ?The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting phantasimes.? The venom in Mercutio?s insults foreshadows his subsequent fatal battle with

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work