Compare the presentation of Juliet in Act 1 Scene 5 in Romeo & Juliet with the presentation of the same character in Baz Lurhman’s adaptation of the play
* Romeo and Juliet tells the tale of a metaphysical vision of mutual love that drowns and perishes in its idealistic and vehement nature.Order now
* Within the play three intertwining themes come to a head in Act III Scene V, the intensity of love between the two lovers, the individual versus society and inevitability of fate.
* Each of these themes are important to how Juliet is presented by Shakespeare and Lurhman.
* Three strands of the play collide head on with one another in Act 3 Scene 5. C
* Collision manifests clearly in the character of Juliet.
* Throughout the play Juliet makes a transition from innocence to heightened responsibility==> there is a heightened sense that she has been forced to mature too quickly, ==> establishes her as a tragic heroine, ==> image becomes more apparent as the play progresses.
Paragraph 1 Individual vs Society (Full Paragraph)
Throughout the play the notion that the lover’s are outsiders from society has been present, however both Shakespeare and Lurhman make this idea prominent. Shakespeare uses the recurring theme of light and dark to extenuate this theme. In line 35 Juliet says ‘O now be gone, more light and light it grows’. Here Juliet dreads the approaching day which will mean Romeo will have to leave. However the idea of light is interesting, as Shakespeare breaks the paradigm of life and love in light and death and hate in dark, and instead draws new life and love out of darkness, here the couple are breaking society’s normalities, which show that Romeo and Juliet are outsiders, as the relationship cannot flourish in light. In line 36 Shakespeare juxtaposes repetition of the word ‘light’ and ‘dark’ to emphasise this idea that as there is more light there is more pain for them yet to come. Extending this metaphor of light and dark Juliet says in line 41 ‘Then, window let day in and let life out’, Shakespeare uses a caesura after ‘then’, to emphasise Juliet’s sorrow in having to give up society for Romeo.
In some ways the audience can sympathize with Juliet, for the decision she has had to make, to stay with her family, and follow society’s traditions, or to follow her heart and go with Romeo. Shakespeare also uses the word ‘curtain’, Shakespeare tries to show that such a comparatively unimportant household object is trying to hold the two lovers apart. Shakespeare here tells the audience that nothing can pervade pure love. Lurhman mirrors this effect, where the audience first see Romeo and Juliet intertwined in bed with white sheets; using the colour white gives the effect of purity and almost ethereal love. This sense of untainted love is reflected in the music; with a solo piano, although the music is calm and soothing, it does have a tense quality, which again echoes Juliet’s choice. In addition, the music may represent what the audience is feeling at that moment, glad to see Romeo and Juliet reunited, but worried by Juliet’s decision to defy her family and society to be with Romeo. It seems Lurhman tries to convey the message to the audience that the love between the two lovers is at highest when they are hidden from society.
Lurhman, like Shakespeare uses a seemingly petty object to convey this. Romeo wraps a sheet round himself and Juliet, this can show that the love most potent as the couple hide, he proves this as the Nurse walks in just as their heads come up from beneath the sheets. This may represent, as soon as they and try and show themselves to society, society oppresses them and forces them back into hiding. However, what should be noted is that Juliet was the one to lift the sheets of them; Lurhman here tries and show the audience that Juliet is making a last attempt to bridge the gap between society’s outlook on love and marriage and her love for Romeo, Lurhman uses a side on shot to try and signify this, and as the side shot zooms out it becomes clear that society cannot accept the love between Romeo and Juliet. Comparing this to earlier in the film, the gap was being widened between Romeo and Juliet, now the gap is being widened between her family/society and the love she bores for Romeo. CONCCCCC.
This idea of the individual versus society progresses itself through the scene, until any sort of remaining bond between the two is broken. Shakespeare creates this break, by building up the tension all through the scene from the moment her mother comes in. Lady Capulet is unawre that Juliet is saddened over Romeo’s departure and assumes that Juliet is grieving for Tybalt’s death, in response Lady Capulet tries and comfort Juliet with plots to kill Romeo. Juliet responds in a speech which is full of double entendres and dramatic irony. In a way Juliet is being deceitful to her mother, in line 100 Juliet says ‘To hear him nam’d and cannot come to him’, her mother thinks that she means that she wants to kill him and hates having to wait, whereas Juliet is being quite deceptive in her language, regretting that she can’t be with Romeo.
The use of dramatic irony is also particularly prominent in the speech. Juliet refers to ‘poison’ in line 97, here Juliet is accepting that poison will be the way Lady Capulet had suggested, but what is interesting is that Romeo does die through poisoning, but out of his own choice, yet this is driven by Lady Capulet’s vengeance. This deceiptfulness continues when interacting with her mother. As she hears the news that she is to be married to Paris, she tells her mother that inadvertently that she would rather be married to Romeo. In line 121 she says ‘ I will not marry yet, and when I do, I swear/It shall be Romeo whom you know I hate’ , here the audience notice that Juliet deceives her mother, using enjambment, to conceal her true intentions. In comparison to Shakespeare, Lurhman cuts out all the lines where Juliet deceives and tricks her mother and her mother doesn’t pretend to sympathize with Juliet as much. This shows that Juliet is less cunning, and tells her mother the truth right from the start.
This interaction in the film is conveyed by a series over overhead shots, which increases the tension, which is added to by the high strings playing in the background. In the play Juliet turns to her mother for help, after she has been scorned by her father, yet her mother rejects her, Shakespeare uses ‘me’ and ‘thee’, to show that her and Juliet are completely separated and do not belong together. Lurhman’s representation of this is much more physical when her mother walks slowly away from her, showing an actual breaking of any remaining bond between society and Juliet, to represent this Lurhman uses a point of view shot, as if the audience were looking through Juliet’s eyes to make them feel sorry for Juliet.
Paragraph 2-Male Dominated Society
* The theme of male domination is recurring throughout the play ==> audience can see this ideology being challenged as Juliet stands up to her father.
* Even before father enters ==> Juliet has shown the audience her position on this idea,
* Line 43 ‘Art thou gone so, love, lord, ay husband, friend?’. ==>==>==>
* Juliet puts ‘love’ before ‘lord’ ==> meaning she values love more than tradition, which shows that she loved Romeo as a person not because she was forced to.
* Comparing ==> to line 120 where Juliet says ‘I pray you tell my lord and father, madam’, ==> Juliet has come to the point where she has put Romeo in front of her father.
* The film however Juliet ==> gives no early clear signs that she is challenging male domination, until she challenges her father.
* Capulet refused, ==> Act I, Scene 2, to consent to his daughter’s marriage to Paris ==>unless she also was willing ==> concerned for Juliet’s welfare.
* Entering Capulet is kindly towards his daughter==>however an irresponsive Juliet makes Capulet angry and such parental concern altogether ==>evaporates into authoritarian, patriarchal ranting ==> Capulet shouts epithets, calling
* Juliet “baggage” and “carrion” for refusing his order.
* Capulet now uses Juliet’s youth to mock her reluctance to marry, ==>calling her a crying child and whining puppet. Capulet has degraded his ==> daughter to chattel – an item to be brokered for value. In his fury, ==> Capulet threatens Juliet with violence and disinheritance if she continues to disobey him,
* “hang! Beg! Starve! Die in the streets! / For by my soul I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee.”
* Capulet’s sudden transformation from seemingly concerned parent to vengeful adversary illustrates his tendency toward impulsive, cruel, and reckless behaviour==> tendencies may have contributed to the origination of the feud itself.
* He has shown such tendencies previously ==>==> he wanted to engage the Montagues in a sword fight using his long sword; ==>==>he viciously denounced Paris for wishing to duel Romeo at the ball; ==>==>turned on his only daughter with threats of disinheritance.
* Places her in a ==> “nothing to lose” position and thereby encourages the defiance he resents so mightily, hence in the play Juliet stands up to him and argues with him.
* However Elizabethan ==> see the viewpoint of Capulet, on organising a perfect suitor, and ==>Juliet just going on to reject it, this probably may have fulfilled Shakespeare’s aim==> to shock Elizabethan audiences.
* In Lurhman’s adaption ==> the audience also sympathize with Capulet due to Juliet’s selfishness, dogmatic behaviour, and ==> hence probably justifies Capulet’s rage.
* Yet to an extent Lurhman has exaggerated the anger of Capulet, ==>where he physically assaults Juliet, and the use of high angle shots and view point shots ==> audience can see that Lurhman is portraying Juliet as a victim.
* In addition again Lurhman chooses Juliet to be in white as it symbolises==> purity, and her father to be==> in red, representing passion.
* Camera angles are also very important here==> as they zoom into Capulet’s face showing his hysteria. However emotionally distraught ==>Juliet is, she has broken free==> of this patriarchal notion of male domination.
* Throughout Act 3 Scene 5, Juliet’s character is portrayed in different ways by Shakespeare and Lurhman ==> used to convey a message to the audience and society==> through Juliet’s trials and tribulations, her emotions and her reactions. ==>==>Romeo and Juliet may be viewed as a philosophical inquiry==> into what happens when supposedly perfect love==> placed into an imperfect world.
* Through exploring Shakespeare and Lurhman’s outlook ==>on the individual (or the couple) versus society and both Shakespeare’s and Luhrman’s view on the male dominating patriarchal society, we can see both the play and the film hold messages for society, ==> through two different mediums, ==> theatre and ==>film Lurhman and Shakespeare==> question the idea of ‘love’ and how society and ==>the audience perceive it, we find that over the course of the play the notion of ‘love’ in itself becomes==> paradoxical, and there is ==>no set way to define it. However Shakespeare ==>finds that any definition of ‘love’ has no substsance , lead us to the conclusion that love is ever flowing and adapting.
* And this is what Lurhman has tried to do, and ==>contextualise this subtle notion to a modern audience.
* Hence Lurhman turns Shakespeare’s warning, into a more philosophical moral argument against the failures of a society, where the ==>idea of love is not prepared to evolve and hence creates a situation where ==>human vice takes over this quest for love.