Different Interpretations of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
The Beatles wrote this in the 1960’s but they certainly were not the
first to think it. Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” was based
around this sentiment. It is a story of love, passion, romance,
betrayal, life and of course, death.
In the late 1990’s Baz Luhrmann produced one of the most controversial
interpretations of a Shakespeare play. He shot it in modern costume
with modern settings, though he kept the original text. Using Verona
Beach, Los Angles as his setting and Leonardo DiCaprio as his leading
man, Luhrmann made it into a Hollywood movie and one of the biggest
blockbuster hits of the 90’s.
However 20 years earlier Franco Zephirelli had shot his classic
interpretation of the film-using period costume. This film follows the
script fairly closely and is close to how Shakespeare would have had
Even stage productions of the classic tragedy have been updated. Not
long ago the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford put on a modern
interpretation, which was apparently much like the 1970’s cult film
“Grease” centring around fast cars and leather jackets.
The RSC production that our class saw was much closer to an original
Shakespeare production: however it was of poor quality, many of our
girls feeling that they could have acted the parts more convincingly
The characters of the play are complex: they blossom and unveil
themselves throughout the play; first impressions are not always
Juliet Capulet, the only child of Lord and Lady Capulet, whose rivalry
with the Montague family has been alive as long as the families have
been, begins the play as an innocent young girl. She is very child
like, obeying her parents. Her loyalties lie with her family.
In the first scene we meet her, she is with the nurse. The nurse and
Juliet are firm friends, the nurse having had more input into Juliet’s
upbringing than her mother Lady Capulet. The nurse is very crude and
talks about an amusing incident that happened when Juliet was just two
“ ‘Yea’, quoth my husband, ‘fall’st upon thy face
Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest of age,
Wilt thou not Jule?’ it stinted, and said ‘Aye’.”
She talks far too much repeating the story three times until Lady
Capulet tells her to be quiet. Juliet is not yet fourteen but is
called by her mother to talk about marriage. When asked for her view
on it she replies in an obedient way.
“It is an honour that I dream not of.”
She regards marriage as sacred, something that she is not worthy of,
suggesting that she might not be ready for it. The nurse wants the
best for Juliet, as does Lady Capulet, they seem to decide Juliet’s
fate with Paris for her. She is barely consulted in the conversation.