Appropriation of 'Romeo and Juliet' by Shakespeare and 'Romeo+Juliet' by Baz Luhrmann

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Discuss the appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare and ‘Romeo+Juliet’ by Baz Luhrmann Texts and ideas from texts are appropriated and transformed into other text forms and other compositions in a different context. An appropriation is a text that is appropriated or taken over by another composer and presented in a new way. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a well-known high culture text that is a tragedy about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. In the 1997 film, Baz Luhrmann has taken what is valued about the original play of ‘Romeo and Juliet’; the themes, evocative language and poetry, the timeless storyline and humour, and has placed it in a context which is accessible and…show more content…
An example is Mercutio’s speech at Sycamore grove, the dialogue is very similar, “Her wagoner [Queen Mab], a small grey-coated gnat… And in this state she gallops night by night” and this has been reiterated by close up shots of Mercutio’s face, showing his emotions. Also the famous line; “O Romeo, Romeo! – wherefore art thou Romeo?” is from the original play and has been reinforced by an offer gaze from Juliet, showing her love for Romeo. This shows contemporary audiences Luhrmanns’ ability to capture the core of the tragedy through traditional Shakespearean text, and that even though the context has changed over the years, the language of Shakespeare is highly valued and pondered by the majority of people. In addition, a difference in the film by Baz Luhrmann, compared to the play by Shakespeare is the prologue and chorus. In Shakespeare’s original production, the chorus would have entered the Globe Theatre, and to gain the audiences’ attention, would yell “Two households, both alike in dignity” and the rest of his part. In Luhrmanns’ portrayal of the chorus, he instead uses close up shots of a television with an African American woman delivering a news report. Whereas Shakespeare’s audience were aurally dependent, modern audiences rely immensely on visual aspects of Luhrmanns’ ‘Romeo+Juliet’. The use of the television ‘caught’ the contemporary audiences’ eye and the African American woman represents the historically important

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