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Romeo Juliet Film Comparison to Text

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Romeo Juliet Film Comparison to Text

Comment on how three different incidents are presented in the films, saying whether you consider it to be helpful to your understanding of the text.

The Zeffereli and Luhrman “Romeo and Juliet” videos greatly enhance the basic Romeo and Juliet text. The text is written to William Shakespeare’s time period, the late sixteenth century and a lot of the words, phrases and comparisons are difficult to understand. In the video imagery is used to aid the understanding of the text.

The first scene I have chosen is from the 1968 film version of “Romeo and Juliet” and is from the opening scene of the video, until everyone leaves on line one hundred and two. The first image that you see during the prologue is an overview of the town, Verona. When the text says, “In fair Verona where we lay our scene,” the reader has no idea of where Verona is or the size or atmosphere of the town. The video gives us an idea of what this unidentified town is like. It shows the viewer that Verona is a small and romantic town. You can tell Verona is in a country such as Italy where the weather is warm and sunny. It seems like a sleepy town, about to wake and discover the tragedy unfolding.

After the aerial view of Verona, we zoom in on the small town square, where there is a bustling market. It is as if we can walk down the winding streets with the camera and see the stalls, and smell the dirt and aromas coming from the animals and people. You can understand the full essence of Verona.

At the beginning of the text in the book, there is a lot of seemingly pointless chatter between Samson and Gregory, which is not very relevant or important to the story of “Romeo and Juliet” and confused me. This text is cut out of the 1968 video and makes the dialogue more understandable.

Another thing which is made clearer in the film is why the normally calm and peaceful Abraham would say, “Draw if you be men.” In the film, it shows the Capulet servants kicking an old Montague man, which sparks the aggressive reaction of Abraham.

In the text, the Prince’s speech is long and uses some words that are difficult to comprehend,

“And made Verona’s ancient citizens

Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,

To wield old partisans, in hands as old

Cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate.”

Much of the Prince’s speech is cut out of the video, which aided my understanding of his speech because the film emphasised the rivalry between the two families has been going on for a while, because there has already been “three civil brawls bred of an airy word,” and warning the families more than once that “your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.”

Another detail which makes the rivalry between the families clear from the beginning of the story, is some insignificant background lines added into the text, such as when Tybalt enters the market square, one of the stalls men says “a Capulet’s kinsmen.” Also when Tybalt and Benvolio start to fight, “Capulet” is shouted from the Capulet family supporters, and “Montague” is shouted from the Montague family supporters. This not only clarifies which family is which, but emphasises the split of supporters of the two families across the town. The text only mentions a few names present at the market square when the fight broke out but the film shows the crowds and makes the play more believable and interesting.

Another example of dialogue, which is in the video, but not in the actual text in the book, is when the Prince is riding into the town square. Some one shouts, “The Prince has expressly forbid this banding in Verona Streets.” This expresses the authority and respect the townsmen give the Prince.

The next incident I have chosen is from the 1997 video. It is in Act two, Scene two and is when Romeo sneaks into the garden of the Capulet’s house to see Juliet.

In the text I found it hard to understand how Romeo and Juliet could fall in love so quickly, “it is my lady, O it is my love.” after their first meeting after the party, especially since they are so young. In the 1997 version you can see Romeo’s youthful and innocent face with passion in his eyes along with Juliet’s innocent and naпve appearance as she is moving toward becoming a young woman and the whole story becomes more believable.

The audio on the film enhances the text by creating an atmosphere. In the text it simply says “Capulet’s orchard” but in the film, for example, when Romeo first approaches Juliet’s balcony there is a peaceful silence with only the cricket breaking the silence. This highlights the next shot where Romeo shows himself to be a clumsy youth knocking over

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