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Romeo & Juliet Essay

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Introduction William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was baptised there on 26th April 1564. John Shakespeare, William Shakespeare’s father seems to have been reasonably wealthy at the time of William Shakespeare’s birth. It seems likely from his father’s high and respectable position that William Shakespeare was educated at the Stratford grammar school. He did not, however, go to university and so did not have the kind of education which many playwrights experienced.

In 1582, when William Shakespeare was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway.

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The couple had three children, Susanna born shortly after their marriage, and the twins Judith and Hamnet born in 1585. We cannot be sure of the time that Shakespeare moved to London, it is thought that he moved in 1585 when a group of playwrights visited Stratford and performed their play there, this may have been the time of when he moved. We do know that he was living in London in 1592, by this time he was already known as a dramatist and actor.

Even at this early stage he had become popular because, in 1592 Shakespeare was criticised in a pamphlet by a less successful writer Robert Greene, who wrote that a new and largely uneducated dramatist (Shakespeare) was taking over the position, which rightly belonged to university men. In 1596 Shakespeare’s son Hamnet died, apart from this grief there was also achievement, John and William Shakespeare (father and son) were granted a coat of arms which means their status as ‘gentlemen’ was recognised by the college of Heralds. In 1597 Shakespeare bought a New place, one of the largest houses in Stratford.

In 1599 he bought shares in the Globe Theatre and in 1609 he became part owner of the newly built Black friars theatre. In this year also he published a collection of sonnets. William Shakespeare retired to New place in 1611. It is thought that he did not break all his business contacts with London. He died in Stratford on 23rd April 1616 at the age of fifty-two. THE ELIZABETHAN THEATRE Drama became increasingly secularised during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and plays ceased to be performed in or near a church. Instead, they were often staged in the courtyard of an inn.

A performance in a courtyard such as this had many advantages. There were many doors that could be used for exits and entrances, balconies that could represent battlements or towers and, best of all, perhaps, there were usually guests in the inns who appreciated the entertainment. In 1576 the first theatre was built in London, it was built accordingly to the design of Elizabethan courtyards. Galleries and boxes around the walls of the theatre were where the rich people sat and, like the courtyard of an inn, it had no roof and so performances had to be cancelled if the weather was bad.

The 1576 theatre and those built subsequently differed from the courtyard. They contained a large stage – often called an ‘apron’ because of it’s shape- which jutted out from one wall into the auditorium. The poorer members of the audience were called ‘groundlings’ and stood around the stage throughout the performance. The large apron stage was not curtained from the audience and there was no scenery on it. Indications of where the scene occurred were built into the words of the play. Very rich costumes and music also compensated for the lack of scenery.

It seems likely that plays went on from beginning to end without interval, thought the end of a serious scene was often indicated by the use of rhyming couplets. Examples of this can be found in plays such as ‘Twelfth night’, for instance, scenes 1,2,4, and 5 are all end rhymed. This is also found in the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for example, the end of act two scene two, ‘Romeo. Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy thy breast. Would I were sleep and peace so sweet to rest. The grey – ey’d morn smiles on the frowning night,

Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light; And darkness fleckled like a drunkard reels. From forth day’s pathway, made by titans wheels. Hence will I to my ghostly sires close cell, His help to crave and my dear hap to hell. ‘ In Shakespeare’s time women were not allowed to perform on the stage, and so female roles were played by boys. This fact helps to explain why so many of Shakespeare’s heroines disguise themselves as young men. It was easier for a boy to act like a young man than to act like a young woman. ELIZABETHAN ENGLISH Every language changes.

Differences in pronunciation and in linguistic preferences are often apparent even in the speech of a father and his son, so it is not surprising that the language of Shakespeare’s plays should be markedly different from the English we use today. In the sixteenth century the English language was only beginning to be used by creative writers, previously Latin and French had been considered. This is because the English language had not been fully developed and was harder to use. Adjectives, nouns and verbs were less rigidly confined to their specific classes in Shakespeare’s day. Adjectives were often used as adverbs.

Nouns were often used as verbs. And verbs were often on occasions used as noun. Words changed their meanings as time passes, and so many words used by Shakespeare have different values today. This explains the language used in the plays during the 18th periods. Directing Act II scene II Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The play is a tragedy set in the fictional city of Verona. The Principality of Verona is ruled by Escalus. The story is based around two feuding families of Montague and Capulet. The leading characters are Romeo, a Montague and Juliet, a Capulet.

At the beginning of the play Romeo is persuaded by his friends Benvolio and Mercutio to attend (uninvited) a feast held by the Capulet’s. Here Romeo hopes to see his beloved Rosaline, who we do not hear any more about. While at the feast Romeo catches a glimpse of Juliet. Their eyes meet and instantly they fall in love (Romeo completely forgets the reason why he attended, Rosaline). The balcony scene occurs early on in the play in act two. Romeo soon leaves the feast but his mind is still full of thoughts of Juliet, Romeo climbs over the wall and into her garden. Juliet cannot sleep and appears at the balcony .

At this point they both declare their love for each other and exchange vows. They decide there and then that they will get married in secret the next day. The balcony scene is a crucial part of the play; it is the pivot point of the storyline and the interactions of the individual characters. In this scene Romeo and Juliet profess their love for each other and their intention to get married secretly, even though their two families would strongly disapprove. The leading character’s attitude towards each other is completely changed as they disregard their families on going feud.

Juliet says that it is Romeo she is in love with and he is the same Romeo even though he is a Montague. I will be directing act II, scene II, of Romeo and Juliet, I have made the choice of directing the scene as a film. The reason for me choosing this scene is because it is the pivotal point of the play and also the most interesting and recognised scene from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The actor that I think would best fit the role of Romeo would be ‘Freddie prince junior’. The reason for me choosing him is due to him recently acting in allot of romantic films and also due to him being admired by all his female viewers.

Michelle Pfeiffer has been picked by me to play the role of Juliet. I have made this choice because she has also played the part of a romantic young teenager in many films. She is also recognised as one of the most famous and attractive actors in the Hollywood film industry. The pivotal point of the play comes in act II, scene II, when Romeo and Juliet declare their love for each other on the balcony. It is the most recognised scene of the playas it is here that that the two characters decide that they shall marry, despite the knowledge of their parent’s disapproval.

Although some readers may believe that Romeo and Juliet rush into their marriage, it proves that their love is intense. It also helps with the overall understanding of the characters as the play is set in the hot Italian city of Verona, taking the stereotypical view of Italian men and women; as romantic impulsive lovers. The play also demonstrates this trait by Romeo’s infatuation with Rosaline, which appears to disappear once he spots Juliet. This impulsive behaviour is a stereotype of Italian men.

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