Romeo and Juliet Essay
Romeo and Juliet
” Romeo and Juliet ” was written slightly earlier than “Macbeth ” for an Elizabethan audience . It is a well known love tragedy . The materials Shakespeare had to work with were essentially the same , and you can draw many parallels between the two plays in the way words are used to effect the audience in particular ways . Although the love tragedy is very different to the tragedy of political ambition , both plays explore our existence and the workings of our minds . The balcony scene in “Romeo and Juliet ” is prominent in the play for creating a sense of the characters in the audiences minds .
The balcony in the garden is used as a symbol to represent the separation between them and the barrier of their names. This showed well the struggle they had to endure to be together . In the “Baz Lhurman ” interpretation they changed this scene dramatically , the balcony hardly featured in the scene , instead they were together and this showed no visible separation . They had the two actors in the swimming pool together, kissing and showing affection freely . For me this did not demonstrate well the idea of the barrier between the couple but instead made me think that they had no problems.
I think this was not a good idea , but was done for the contemporary audience . Especially because the actor who played Romeo is a cult figure to young girls and the director felt that this would grab their attention and heighten their enjoyment of the film . This is because they knew many people would only be watching to see Leonardo di Caprio . “Soft what light from yonder window breaks “, this is the first few words said by Romeo when he enters the garden . These words were used for the Elizabethan theatre to introduce the audience to the time of day and the situation , because the performances were during the day .
These words can be said in an inquisitive way to show Romeo’s interest and childish nosiness . “Arise,fair sun , and kill the envious moon ” , the moon here is every other woman who sees the beauty of Juliet , Romeo is willing Juliet to come out and see him . Using the sun he compares Juliet to the object that gives all life to the earth . This shows that he feels that Juliet is the light of his life and keeps him going . When Romeo sees Juliet he is filled with compassion and says “It is my lady , O it is my love ” , this illustrates the bond that Romeo feels between himself and Juliet , and how this has grown in such a short space of time .
In this section where Romeo pours out his thoughts about Juliet , the words that are used would have been the most important in creating the images in the audiences minds . In his theatre the beauty could not be shown through an actress because young boys played the female . Although in the modern film interpretations we had the advantage of an attractive female Juliet I found that the words were not lost behind her beauty but were used to increase the effect her beauty had on the audience . “She speaks and yet she says nothing ” , Romeo describes how she does not need to speak , but just to look at her speaks chapters in his love for her .
These are very passionate words in this speech and I would have the actor using body actions to heighten the sense of infatuation. Shakespeare relates Juliet to a planet that enamours people and again in the speech he compares Juliet’s eyes to “stars in all the heavens heavens ” . This implies that Juliet’s eyes stand out from her heavenly face and sparkle brightly . This is a show of Romeo’s pure desire and infatuation to be with Juliet . By using these tricks Shakespeare allowed the audience to realise how much passion there was and also created the drama because this was the fight between their love and their names.
Undisputedly the most famous words in all of Shakespeare’s works are the words spoken by Juliet after Romeo’s speech . These have been immortalised in the minds of all and live on as a legacy of Shakespeare’s great works with words . The trick behind these words creating the atmosphere and fervour is the simplicity of the words and how they work together in a rhythm to create an ardent feeling . “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo ? “, in the theatre and even on the film , when these words are spoken they raise the hairs on the back of your neck because of the love and compassion trapped inside the words .
This is the desperation of Juliet , wanting to know why Romeo had to be called that . This shows her underlying love for Romeo . The audience have now had illustrated to them that they both love each other , this creates in turn the sadness that their names bring to them . “What’s ” Montague” ? It is not hand nor foot , Nor arm , nor face , nor any other part belonging to a man ” . Juliet asks herslef a very clever question , she wants to know why a name can affect a relationship . To her it means nothing because it has no physical presence like a part of the body .
She wants the name to mean nothing and believes it doesn’t but she also has realised it does to her family . In the modern ‘Baz Lhurman ‘ version this part shows the cheeky character of Juliet in the way that she says the words . “Nor any other part belonging to a man ” She says that in such away that the audience believe she is talking about a private part of a mans anatomy and that she has other things on her mind . This would have pleased the modern audience who enjoy the love scenes . “What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet .
” Juliet is relating her situation to real life and drawing a parallel which would make the audience really think what a name means and if it does have any relevance. The alliteration of “smell” and “sweet” lightens this idea , and helps you to be able to visualise it. In this you can see that Juliet is far the more grown up of the two , by the way they speak . “Shall I hear more , or shall I speak at this ” . Romeo is immature and unsure of what to do in the presence of a woman . “I have nights cloak to hide me from their eyes “.
This really shows how young Romeo is and also how immature he is , thinking that he is safe and protected in the darkness . Romeo also shows that he has the need to show off to Juliet about his masculinity , . “With loves light wings did I o’erperch these walls . Romeo wants to show Juliet how he can do anything and not even the high walls of the garden can stop him from getting to his love . In the two films I would say that in the ‘Zeferelli ‘ film the two seemed much younger and nai?? ve this was shown in their rushed and anxious actions .
Whereas I found that it the ‘Baz Lhurman ‘film they were much calmer and grown up , this was helped by the lack of separation between them . This allowed them to be less cautious and also showed them to be much older in their actions . Romeo reveals sexual innuendo in his question to Juliet , this can be acted in many ways and this can change its meaning dramatically . “O wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied ? ” , the tone of voice and the emphasis on which you put on the words completely changes how the audience perceive what it means . In one voice it can be very innocent and can be thought of only as a minor proposition .
But when said with the emphasis on so then it gives the words a new meaning . I thought that in both of the films this technique was not used and the words seemed transparent to me and had no hidden meaning . Juliet’s reply is “What satisfaction canst thou have tonight ? ” , these words when left up to the human imagination stir up thoughts of explicit behaviour , and in this way it is a show of their not so subtle flirting . And on that note they part , in the ‘Zeferelli’ version they show their hands slip from each other as they leave , this is a good usage of film and close -up to illustrate their parting and the love they have .
It makes the scene much more meaningful and ends it on a passionate note . In conlcusion I think that the cinematic techniques do affect the way in which and audience experiences Shakespeare’s works , in some cases it has degraded his works , but most of the time I have found that it really has grasped the theme and used the modern equipment to enhance the experience . The images did eclipse the words in parts of the films , but most of the time the images created the same thoughts for the audience as the words do by themselves .
I thought that the best acted scene was in the film version of ‘Macbeth ‘, when Macbeth conducts his speech after Lady Macbeth dies . The words written by Shalespeare are full with hidden meanings and the way in which it was acted really did extract those meanings to their full potential . I thought this was the closest any of the films came to a live performance . Unfortunately in that same film I thought the good acting was ruined by the superimposed dagger on the screen during Macbeth’s hallucinations . This really did spoil the atmosphere created by the words .
In ‘Macbeth on the Estate ‘ I thought the director used some modern twists on the story line , but he still kept the theme of the play and it was in line with what Shakespeare would have wanted . In both ‘Romeo and Juliet ‘ films I thought they did not do justice to the words written , especially the ‘ Baz Lhurman ‘ film , it was just acted to impress teenage girls . The ‘Zeferelli film was much more in keeping with the ideas . In the end I decided that the text and probably a live enactment would have been much better than the words for creating the emotion and drama without the motion pictures .
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 September 2017
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