This Essay Describes How The Story Romeo And Juliet Is Altered When Transferred From Stage To The Film Starring Leonardo Di Caprio And Claire Danes.

3456 words - 14 pages

Romeo and Juliet - From Stage to FilmRomeo and Juliet is, arguably, one of the most popular plays of all time. Since the first performance in the 16th century, audiences have been captivated by the story of two amorous adolescents fighting against the odds to consummate their dream of lifelong love as dissension between their families and inhospitable circumstances threaten to rend their hopes to pieces and divest them of their lives. It is interesting that the play was first produced in The Globe Theatre, for the themes such as violence, love, sex, death, adolescent angst, (just to name a few) are natural curiosities, and for some even obsessions, for the world writ large, which is, ostensibly, the reason the play has enjoyed success among such a heterogeneous group of people for over four-hundred years. However, the reason that the play has been eulogized, lionized, and canonized is not merely the result of the foregoing themes, its ability to appeal to myriad generations, but for its aestheticism and complexity. It has been used as a didactic tool to co-opt students into the world of academic language while improving reading skills and critical thinking abilities. Unfortunately, for many modern readers, (or people watching a traditional theatrical performance) the language is archaic and recondite, precluding them from enjoying the play in all of its manifestations, relying instead on bits and pieces that they can understand to piece together meaning, their ignorance of linguistic and syntactical constructions vitiating their enjoyment of the play. Despite its pervasive presence in the high-schools, many teenagers feel isolated when reading it or seeing a traditional theatrical performance, and when acting themselves, young Romeo's and Juliet's need to have many lines explained to them in detail, the director acting as an exegete, just so that the performance can be half-believable. In many regards, Romeo and Juliet has become something that only the literati can truly appreciate, everyone else nodding and smiling, affecting that they are indeed in-the-know.Director Baz Luhrmann was certainly aware of this dichotomy when he produced Romeo and Juliet in 1996: On one hand, overwhelming majorities of people have at least heard of Romeo and Juliet and understand the basic storyline. On the other hand, their inability to understand it in its entirety leaves them begging for more, searching for clarity and meaning that always elude them. It is exactly this "missing link" that Luhrmann plays upon in his movie as he uses clever strategies to connect the movie to their lives in a way that reading the play and seeing it on stage can never give them.It is overtly apparent, from the beginning of the movie, that this is not the Romeo and Juliet of the 16'Th century, but apparently Romeo and Juliet reincarnated and transplanted in late 20'Th century Verona Beach. After a newscaster reports the prologue on television, making the anachronism overtly palpable,...

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