Two Film Versions of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

1320 Words Jun 18th, 2018 6 Pages
Romeo and Juliet is a timeless, classic love story written by the incomparable William Shakespeare. Many of Shakespeare’s works are considered literary classics, but none are more loved than Romeo and Juliet. This play masterfully tells the love story of two teenagers in Elizabethan England. The title characters Romeo and Juliet are members of two feuding families, Romeo is a Montague and Juliet is a Capulet. There are different stylistic ways of portraying Romeo and Juliet, and the two most popular film versions portray two very different styles of this one play. Zeferelli's Romeo and Juliet was made in the 1970s, and is the film version most commonly shown in high school classrooms. The newest film version of this play is Baz Luhrmanns …show more content…
One such scene was the infamous balcony scene. Zeferelli stuck to the classical interpretation, while Luhrmann did not. In Zeferelli’s version Juliet was on the balcony outside her bedroom calling rhetorically, "Romeo, Romeo where fore art thou Romeo?" Romeo appears and climbs up the balcony, and they share a couple of small kisses before he departs. However, in Luhrmanns version of the play, events occurred slightly differently. Juliet is walking by the pool, when Romeo startles her and they both fall in the pool. Their conversation then takes place in the pool. In between getting interrupted by a nosy security guard they share several passionate kisses.

 

Another significant scene that was portrayed differently in the two versions was the suicide scene. Zeferelli’s version is once again almost exact to what we read in the book. Romeo sees what he perceives to be a dead Juliet lying in her family’s tomb, and distraught by the sight he drinks poison. When Juliet awakens from her sleep she finds Romeo dead, and stabs herself with his knife. In Luhrmanns version Romeo goes to the church where Juliet is laid out for her funeral. He also sees what he perceives to be a dead Juliet and drinks poison. When Juliet awakens from her sleep she finds out Romeo has swallowed poison and is dying. The main difference lies in the fact that we are led to believe that maybe he will see her awake
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