Essay Example on William Shakespeare's story of Romeo and Juliet








William Shakespeare's story of Romeo and Juliet essentially set the definition of true love and has been a constant theme for love stories ever since it has been duplicated many times by lovers of romance and students all around the world It is a story of two star crossed lovers who want to be together but cannot due to a longtime feud between their families West Side story is a prime example of Shakespeare's influence within our society Although it has been told numerous times before with the basic storyline usually being the same storytellers have made it uniquely different based on their own personal interpretations such is the case with two directors Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann Their film versions were made during different time periods and though they both basically maintain the original storyline each version is very different yet audiences were captivated and remain so today Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film seems genuine to what Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote the story It became the movie to compare all other Romeo and Juliet films too In 1996 Baz Luhrmann set out to create a new spin on the classic film He did his best to modernize it and make it more appealing to a younger present day audience

There are many similarities and differences between these two films Zeffirelli's film took place in Verona Italy whereas Luhrmann s took place in Verona Beach California Both locations were fitting in that they supported the type of story and overall atmosphere the two directors wanted to tell Verona Italy was an appropriate location because it was where the original Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was set in While Verona Beach was a popular hip city it was a perfect way to modernize the film The major similarity between the two films is that they both use Elizabethan language In the Zeffirelli film the language is effective it works with the setting of the movie and the costumes that they wear It seems natural that they use Shakespearean dialogue it doesn t stand out as being odd Although in Luhrmann's film it is interesting to see the characters dressed in modern clothes t shirts and jeans riding in cars not on horses and using guns instead of swords all while speaking the Elizabethan language Even though the dialogue seemed out of place a little bit it wouldn't have felt like Shakespeare's play without it Incorporating Shakespearean Dialogue was also a good way to keep it relevant to Shakespeare's original intent and to expose and interest a younger audience In any movie the opening scene sets the tone for the rest of it it needs to grab the audience Both Zeffirelli and Luhrmann did a superb job of of this In Zeffirelli's film the famous opening prologue Two households both alike in dignity is spoken by a narrator

We are then shown scenery of an Italian City You immediately get a Shakespearean feel from the first few moments The costumes are traditional of the time period the boys wearing tights and ruffled shirts along with their family symbol sewn on their sleeves They have old fashioned scabbards and swords belted at their wastes The terminology that is used is appropriate for the time period The opening fight scene in Zeffirelli's film takes place within the village square and marketplace in Verona It's not immediately apparent to the audience who is who Zeffirelli seems to allow time to establish the individual characters within each of the families The clothing of each family is uniquely distinguishable the Capulets wearing brighter colors and the Montagues wearing more subdued colors A significant difference between Zeffirelli and Luhrmann's fight scene is the fact that in Zeffirelli's film the Capulets start the fight whereas in Luhrmann's film the Montagues start it In Luhrmann's version the famous opening prologue Two households both alike in dignity is spoken by a news anchor It then shows footage of two tall buildings right next to each other the Montagues and Capulets It goes on to show violence in the streets newspapers that say Montague VS Capulet as the headline policemen and police helicopters trying to break up fights and keep the peace It is an excellent way to grab the audience and quickly establishes the animosity between the two families

The opening fight scene in Luhrmann's film takes place at a gas station with the difference between the two families being immediately evident the Montagues rolling up in a yellow convertible with light haired guys wearing colorful printed button up shirts the Capulets in a blue car showing dark haired guys wearing dark clothing and leather Luhrmann continues to establish the characters identities by showing guns modern day swords each with their family names embedded on the butt of the guns One of the Montagues makes a disrespectful gesture of biting his thumb toward the Capulets this is the same action that initiated the fight scene in Zeffirelli's 1968 film One could write a million words comparing these two films From costume choices to music from violence to romance they both tell the same story just portrayed in two completely different ways Both movies are great in their own way More conventional people will be compelled to watch Zeffirelli's 1968 film while Luhrmann's 1996 modernized film will peak the interest of a younger more present day audience They both did an excellent job putting their own spin on the classic true love story of star crossed lovers who make the ultimate sacrifice to be together

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