Comparing the Original Script of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with Baz Luhmann's Film Version
In this essay I aim to discuss, analyse and compare the original
script of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Act One, scene five
with Baz Luhrmann's 1997 film version of the same scene.
'Romeo and Juliet' is set in Verona, Italy, and is believed to have
been written around the late sixteenth century. The timing and setting
of the play would therefore suggest that costume, music and setting
traditional to the time would be used.
On the other hand, Baz Luhrmann has taken a very different approach to
the interpretation of the play. This version is made to appeal to the
modern audience and so has adopted all the elements of any other high
budget, Hollywood blockbuster. The film is set in the created world of
Verona Beach, taking on a typical American, Hollywood feel with
skyscrapers and other modern buildings lining the streets of the city.
The fast pace, good-looking actors, and many twits to the story also
add to that modern day, blockbuster feel.
'Romeo and Juliet' is one of Shakespeare's most famous plays telling
the tale of two teenagers from rival families (the Capulets and the
Montagues) who fall in love. As the story unfolds, tragedy is all that
awaits the couple, eventually leading to their own suicides.
Act one, scene five of the play sees a ball taking place in the
Capulet residence, to which Romeo, along with other Montagues,
attends. It is here that he meets Juliet and they fall in love. I have
divided the scene into seven sections making it easier and more
manageable to analyse and compare the two versions of the scene in
The first scene begins with a conversation held between four servants
of the Capulet family clearing away from the feast that has just taken
place, and making preparations for the ball ahead. The conversation
held consists of two servants complaining about how little the others
are doing to help them, Potpan in particular.
" SAMSPON : Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away?
He shifts a trencher? He scrapes a trencher? "
Once the characters have established Potpan's whereabouts, Sampson,
who is clearly in charge of the servants, gives them instructions as
to what to do next, and sternly asks them why they are not helping
where they are needed.
" SAMSPON: You are looked for, and called for, asked for and
sought for in the great chamber. "
Potpan's response to this is a jovial one. Showing perhaps his
disregard for authority, and lack of respect for his job and those in
a position above him.
" SAMSPON : We cannot be here and there too. Cheerly boys, be
brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all. "
Here Potpan is telling Sampson and Gregory (the other servants) to
cheer up, and that he can...