Film Adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
'Romeo & Juliet', was written by poet and playwright, William
Shakespeare. The romantic play, 'Romeo & Juliet' involves many
recognisable emotions and themes including passion, love, hate, agony,
This essay will examine how Baz Luhrmann reproduces Shakespeare's
classic love story into a contemporary modern world so audiences today
can access and understand the universal themes of the play in a
One way Baz Luhrmann modernises the original text by Shakespeare is by
replacing Elizabethan swords with the modern day guns.
At the 'gas station' scene, Capulet men say: "draw if you be men".
Lord Capulet states: "Hand me my long sword" and Benvolio shouts: "put
down your swords for you know not what you do".
The guns not only adds to the tension in the scene but also gives
information about the owner. Guns can tell what owner is like by the
gun's appearance. Every gun has some kind of difference in them. The
owner might be religious and his gun probably would have some kind of
symbol to represent his religion. Also the colour might represent his
By using guns instead of swords Luhrmann explores the idea of gang
culture, relating to our society that we live today.
The guns are effective because they help to emphasise the danger and
hatred between the two rival families.
Another way Baz Luhrmann brings the classic play, Romeo & Juliet, into
modern context is by introducing the prologue through the media of
T.V. and having it read by a newsreader.
When the movie starts, the newsreader announces: "In fair Verona â€¦"
Some words from the prologue are flashed in big bold letters. It is
easier for audiences to remember the words clearly.
The prologue gives the audience important information that audiences
need to know to understand the rest part of the play, "â€¦where we lay
Luhrmann does not change the language so audiences can still
appreciate Shakespeare's poetry, through its sonnet form and this is
not lost in the news broadcast.
Baz Luhrmann modernises the play by setting the play in the modern
city, Verona, Miami, where big buildings and skyscrapers have been
At the beginning of the play, in the prologue the newsreader says: "In
fair Verona, where we lay our scene".
The modern background that Luhrmann decides to set the film against
makes it recognisable for the audiences today. It also makes them
understand the environment and conditions of the text, rather than
showing a religious, rural town like Verona, Italywhere Shakespeare
set the play.
Luhrmann, the director of the film, decides to dress the actors in his
movie in modern clothes rather than to dress them in the Elizabethan
costumes that are unfamiliar to...