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Film Retellings of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essays

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In this essay I will compare and contrast “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous works. I will compare and contrast the 1968 film by Franco Zefferilli and 1996 Baz Luhrman’s film. It has been adapted into screenplays, and remade countless times. Baz Luhrman’s and William Shakespeare’s versions of Romeo and Juliet are similar in theme, but are different in setting, mood, and character personalities.
The character of Romeo is a lovesick man who keeps changing his mind about the lady he fancies. To compare both text and film, Romeo doesn’t care about the feud between the Capulet’s and Montague’s until he meets Juliet. When Romeo sets eyes on Juliet he fall in love instantly which means that he doesn’t love Rosaline anymore. In the text of “Romeo and Juliet”, Juliet falls in love with Romeo while wearing a mask and they do not see each other’s faces and fall in love whereas, in the film by Luhrman, Romeo is wearing an armour and Juliet is dressed as a fairy which gives the impression that Romeo is Juliet’s knight and has come to rescue her. Furthermore, Romeos fight with Tybalt. In the text Romeo uses a sword to fight Tybalt in act 2 scene 1 alternatively, in Luhrman’s film; Romeo shoots Tybalt with a gun into a lake.
The character of Juliet is a young 13 year old who is soon to be pulled into a forced marriage. In both text and film, Juliet is told by her parents that she has to marry a man named Paris. You could also compare how Juliet doesn’t like Paris and lies to her parents about whom she really likes. When there is the Capulet’s ball, Paris and Juliet are supposed to get to know each other. In the text, Juliet spots Romeo behind a pillar whereas; in Luhrman f...


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...n Luhrman’s film. The second main contrast is the Capulet and Montague meeting. This is because the meeting tells us how they died and who is involved in the incident but in the Luhrman’s movie the meeting is cut out. This means only Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio and Tybalt died.
To conclude, the characters in “Romeo and Juliet” are all different in the text and film. Also the setting is different and there a main and minor points in both text and film. In my opinion, I prefer the Luhrman’s film as it is modern and simple to understand. This is because Luhrman’s film is modern which makes it more interesting because there are guns and cars which shows us the technology in the 21st century whereas in the text there are traditional settings, props etc. This doesn’t appeal to a wide range of audience in the 21st century because no one uses a sword and a horse for transport.


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