Comparing Romeo and Juliet Movies
This essay compares two scenes, from two film products. The directors
have very differently modernised and restored the famously tragic love
story written by William Shakespeare. In this essay I will be writing
about the fight scenes in ‘Romeo & Juliet’, compare the different
setting and language, and interpret the characters between the Baz
Luhrmann-1996, and Franco Zefferelli-1968 versions of this William
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote thirty-four plays altogether.
They can be separated into five different groups according to the
subject matter and theme:
· The Histories, e.g. Henry V
· The Tragedies e.g. Macbeth
· The Comedies e.g. Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Nights Dream
· The Romances e.g. The Tempest
· The problem plays e.g. the Mechant of Venice, and Romeo & Juliet
(interestingly both set in venice...)
Shakespeare wrote at a time of considerable political unrest.
Elizabeth-I was on her throne and Britain was under constant threat
from Roman Catholic enemies who wanted to restore the links with Rome
that Henry VIII had severed.
He depended on royal approval to survive, so it is hardly surprising
that he is pro-monarchy, as in Henry V and Macbeth, and anti civil
war, as in Romeo & Juliet. Shakespeare wrote for a company of actors
that he knew so he was able to tailor the parts to suit them. Women,
however, were not allowed to perform on stage – acting was regarded as
a lowly profession unsuitable for women – so all female roles had to
be played by boys.
This is a story of a love at first sight, a love so powerful it
results in tragedy beyond prophecy. This love is between Romeo and
Juliet, who belong to rival families in the city of Verona, and how
the hatred between their familes brings about their deaths. These
families go by the names of the Montague and the Capulet Houses. In
the first scenes of conflict, up for comparison I will summarise the
basic sequences of events; the original first script to Act 1, Scene
1 involves both Houses, quarrelling and bearing weapons, and wreaking
havoc, then emerging with only minor injuries. Later on, in Act 3,
Scene 1, both Houses have reached a climax of such vengeance that this
scene results in the death of Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend. Romeo,
bent on revenge, then kills Tybalt. The characters that are central
in these scenes are;
Of House capulet: Samspon, Gregory, Mercutio and Benvolio, and then
Romeo in Act 3, Scene 3, and those of House Montague, Abraham,
Balthasar and Tybalt.
I was confused at first when I watched Luhrman’s version, as he has
swapped the Capulet and Montague roles; originally in the first fight
scene Sampson and Gregory begin the scene and the script enters them
as Capulets and Zefferelli...