Romeo and Juliet-comparative essay
The play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare in the 16th century definitely has powerful themes such as love, violence and family feuds and classic characters like Romeo and Tybalt. Although the movie Romeo and Juliet directed by Baz Luhrmann in 1996 has kept the same basic elements, the context and the audiences are part of the several differences that exist between the two mediums. The way Luhrmann uses film techniques to demonstrate Shakespeare’s original ideas to make it more suitable to modern day audiences will be explored.
Shakespeare emphasized that the Elizabethan theatre was an aural rather that visual experience. He refers to going to ‘hear’ the play rather than see it in Act 1, Prologue, lines 12-13. “Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage/ the which if your patient ears attend” On stage, the characters described the setting in their speeches. The actor’s words had to convey all necessary information about plot, characters and setting because the play took place on a bare, open-air stage, with only a few props and limited costumes. For example the scenes which take place at night make repeated references to objects associated with darkness, such as the moon, stars, and artificial light sources of light, such as lamps and torches that were used, to help create a sense of atmosphere and setting. Act 1, scene 4, lines 35 and 38 “a torch for me! Let the wantons light of heart/ ill be a candle holder and look on”. Both of these techniques suggest that the Audiences in the 16th century had more leisure time and longer attention spans compared to today’s audiences.
Luhrmann presents the theme of violence in the prologue as a news bulletin that gives the events a feeling of immediacy-the urgency of an on-the-spot news report. The news broadcaster has replaced the Shakespearean chorus for a modern audience while retaining the chorus’s function of providing commentary on events before they happen or...