William Shakespeare is undisputedly, the world’s greatest playwright. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. The subject of my essay is on his most famous play, ‘Romeo & Juliet’.
The play is about two families in a huge dispute, the Montague’s and Capulets. The main themes of the play are love and hate. Shakespeare makes this clear in Act 1 scene 5 of the play, the section I am writing about.
In the play, the families start a public brawl and are then told that any more violence will result in banishment. Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, then kills Romeos best friend, Mercutio, so Romeo kills Tybalt and is then banished. During the violence, a romance develops between Romeo and Juliet. They are then married in secret. At the end of the play, they kill themselves. This play was later made into a Hollywood film.
In the play, the two main themes of violence and romance are pushed to the forefront. The director, Baz Luhrman, has done this by altering the dialogue. Text has been added, removed and the order of lines has been changed. I will prove this by describing what costume has been worn and the dialogue that has been changed.
In the film version of the play, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Baz Luhman pushes two main themes to the forefront. Violence has been changed to modern day; meaning that guns have been used instead of swords. Special effects have been added to enhance the affects of the shootouts and blood. Also, in the scene I am studying, costumes have been added.
The romantic dialogue being unaltered has enhanced Romance. During the romantic scenes, romantic music has been played in the background, and again, costumes have added to increase the emotional power.
Each of the important characters wears a costume that represents or signifies something about the character and what happens in the play. Romeo, for example, is dressed as a knight. His costume is of chrome armour, signifying that he is Juliets ‘knight in shining armour’. He’s also wearing dark chain mail, perhaps to avoid being identified. The fact that he is a knight also suggests that there is to be some fighting later on in the story. Being a knight also suggests that he is protective and will be involved in some sort of fight.
Tybalt is wearing a business suit underneath a devils costume, therefore suggesting that he is going to take care of some business and reflecting how evil he really is. The devil is associated with death and gives you the impression that someone will die. Another point is that his costume. Red is a colour associated with danger, supporting my theory of a later death.
Mr and Mrs Capulet are both dressed similar. They are both dressed as very rich and powerful figureheads of authority; Julius Cesar and Cleopatra. These people were very rich, powerful people who are very well known to people worldwide. This tells me that they are very popular, rich, powerful important people.
Juliet is dressed as an angel. Angels are pure and innocent. Purity is usually represented by the colour white, which is also the colour of an angel costume. However, angels are related with the subject of death. It gives an omnibus feeling that she will die. Another point to be noted is that she wears no make-up; symbolizing the purity and beauty that she possesses.
Another part of the original play has been edited and that is the dialogue. Words, phrases and complete sections have been rearranged and removed to push the main themes to the forefront.
To enhance the romantic side of the play, section 1 has been extracted. The same for section 2. this is because they are not important to the two themes, they are just excessive lines.