Throughout “Romeo and Juliet”, the audience sees the universality of Shakespeare’s work represented through a play. He refers to themes and creates an emotional response which transcends time and place. Luhrmann’s appropriation alters the setting of the play however maintains the use of Shakespeare’s textual script. The themes “The Inevitability of Fate” and “Love as a cause of Violence” are represented through the beliefs and actions of the characters which are enhanced through language techniques and filmic techniques.
The scene of Romeo and Juliet’s death and the meeting of Tybalt and Romeo at the ball are two prime events which encapsulate these themes and character in depth. The themes “The Inevitability of Fate” and “Love as a cause of Violence” both are revealed through the characters actions and language. Both Romeo and Juliet were known to be a “pair of star-crossed lovers. ” The symbolic “stars” are representative of fate and how it brings two different beings together. However, Romeo’s defiance cast a tangible scar on his relationship with Juliet.
Romeo’s thoughtless actions resulted in both Juliet’s and his death. After hearing of Juliet’s apparent death, Romeo states, “then I defy you stars! ” This meaning, Romeo defies the stars which symbolise the fate which brought the couple together. Romeo uses the linguistic technique of apostrophe to address the dead. Through his emotional language he creates an indelible connection with death. “Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide! ” Romeo makes an everlasting contract with death, who finally takes possession of everything.
Shakespeare’s text also explores the theme of “Love as a cause of Violence” through Romeo and Juliet’s continuous plea for everlasting love for each other. The scene of Romeo and Juliet’s death is a reflection on the theme as Romeo and Juliet’s plea to be together forever was not conceded. “Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight. ” This quote by Romeo expresses the true will to be with Juliet forever. The use of emotive language in this quote reconciles Romeo’s emotions to the thought of death. Shakespeare’s universal work has embraced the themes in a creative manner appealing to all audiences.
In comparison, Baz Luhrmann’s film has adapted a modern view on the play. He has targeted the universal theme of fate in this scene to show his perception of Romeo and Juliet’s love. The use of music conveys religious iconography and emphasizes the powerful consequence of death. Luhrmann reduced Romeo’s soliloquy to keep the audience engrossed still sending out the similar message. Similarly, Luhrmann has also responded to a romantic connection between Romeo and Juliet. Both Shakespeare’s text and Luhrmanns appropriation express to the audience the importance of Romeo and Juliet’s final connection.
Luhrmanns interpretation of the theme Love as a cause of Violence creates an emotion to express the feelings portrayed within Romeo and Juliet’s love. Romeo’s thoughts are backed up with camera angles, music and recurring motifs. Luhrmann incorporates the recurring motif of light and dark imagery. He depicts Juliet in white clothing, Romeo wearing dark clothing and finally the dark background lit by candles to show the contrast between light and dark imagery. Similarly with Shakespeare’s text, this scene releases the true feelings and beliefs of both Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” also reveals the themes of The Inevitability of Fate and Love as a cause of Violence throughout Act 1, Scene 5. Both families, the Capulets and the Montagues have a hate for each other and this has been present for many years. Tybalt notices that Romeo has crashed the feast and determines to kill him just as Romeo catches sight of Juliet and falls instantly in love with her. It is Fate that Romeo sees Juliet and falls instantly in love. ”O she doth teach the torches to burn bright! ” This quote represents Romeo’s instantaneous love for Juliet.
The use of religious imagery throughout this quote shows the audience the presence of light Juliet brings. This once again shows the use of the recurring motif of light and dark imagery. On the other hand, the theme Love as a cause of Violence is shown through Tybalts quotes. “Uncle this is a Montague, our foe…To scorn at our solemnity this night. ” This quote shows the violence Tybalt brings to the idealistic love between Romeo and Juliet. The use of hate in his words shows the audience the evil determination and anguish of Tybalt.
In comparison, Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of this scene uses different camera angles and music to highlight key moments in the scene. Luhrmann’s interpretation of this scene uses strong music to vividly highlight the intensity of the scene. He also uses different camera angles to show the connections between Tybalt and Romeo and Romeo and Juliet. Similarly Luhrmann uses most of the lines from the original play as this scene introduces love and feudalism in both the movie and Shakespeare’s text. Luhrmann invites the audience to witness the key themes through the acial expressions of the characters and the music used.
The use of the recurring motif of light and dark imagery was used to show Romeo as a Knight in shining Armor and Juliet to be seen as an Angel bringing light and peace to the scene. To conclude, Luhrmann’s film has successfully expressed Shakespeare’s play through the use of character, themes and emotional quality which allows these different elements to still remain alive to the modern audience. Luhrmann’s film has been able to adapt attention from the modern audience and therefore allowing them to become engaged in Shakespeare’s work.
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