Romeo and Juliet Comparative Essay

780 Words Jul 11th, 2018 4 Pages
Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, is a tragic love story about two young lovers who are forced to be estranged as a result of their feuding families. The play is about their struggle to contravene fate and create a future together. As such, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood would try and emulate Shakespeare’s masterpiece. This had been done before in many films. Prominent among them were, Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 “Romeo and Juliet” and Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.” Both films stay true to the themes of Shakespeare’s original play. However, the modernised Luhrmann film not only maintains the essence of Shakespeare’s writings, Luhrmann makes it relevant to a teenage audience. This is …show more content…
Luhrmann further modernised his film adaption by altering the play’s original prologue. The movie begins with a prologue made as a television broadcast. In doing this it informs the audience of the violence taking place between the two families, the Montagues and the Capulets. The prologue differs dramatically from Zeffirelli’s interpretation. The 1968 version of the prologue is retold by a monotonous narrator, who simply tells the tale of the feuding families set over a milieu of an Italian city. In restructuring the prologue Luhrmann has made his interpretation of Romeo and Juliet more appealing to a teenage audience. Adolescent viewers can identify more with a modern television broadcast in comparison to a tedious monologue recital.
Luhrmann’s variation of the film is more suited to a teenage audience than Zeffirelli’s due to the vibrant settings and modern sets utilised throughout the film. Several of these sets include the beach, high rise buildings and petrol stations. These factors are used to tempt a younger audience. Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, however takes place in a medieval Italian city. Although the original play was based and performed in this location, teenage viewers cannot relate to the surroundings, hence making it difficult to understand or appreciate the plot.
The battle located at the petrol station was a more convincing setting. Teenagers would relate more to the location as various mob wars in modern times

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