William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet's Appeal to Audiences in Modern Time

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William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet's Appeal to Audiences in Modern Time

Four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare wrote what is perhaps the

world's best-loved play: 'Romeo and Juliet'. It still plays to packed

theatres, all over the world, and has been adapted and rewritten for

thousands of operas, musicals, films and plays. However, a close look

at the structure and content of "Romeo and Juliet" can explain the

play's timeless appeal.

The play is constructed with an astonishing complexity. A large number

of related impressions, ideas and emotions are woven together

throughout the play; this ensures an audience's interest is maintained

throughout. The play changes from violence to beauty (1.5, lines

91-94), and from abundant love to malicious hate (III.5, lines 52-55).

There is music and dancing (I.5), fantasy and nonsense (I.4, lines

54-97). There is lively festivity and peaceful moonlight (II.1-II.2),

the unhappy dawn in the bedroom and the desperate suicides in the tomb

(III.5/V.3); all of these combine to form an emotionally and

dramatically charged play.

The complexity of the plot in Act 3, Scene 5 is worthy of note. In

this scene we learn that Juliet is to marry Paris against her will.

The whole atmosphere of the play is changed in the course of this

scene; eventually leaving Juliet isolated and alone. This rapid

movement of the plot is quite breathtaking and keeps the audiences'

interest; this is true of an audience of any era.

For many people the characters of a play hold the most importance in

creating enjoyment and interest in a play. The characters in "Romeo

and Juliet" are interesting and believable; Shak...

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...with merchants, wares-men and performers. The theatre was

expected to provide music, dance, song and poetry, all of which added

dramatic appeal. "Romeo and Juliet" provided all these things to its

16th century audiences and yet today it is still popular because

although the audiences needs have changed, the play can still provide

for the 21st century. Consequently, the play has survived the 400

years since it was written and is still popular today.

The essential factors for any play to ensure the audience is

enthralled are very much the same today as in the 16th century. Human

beings may appear more sophisticated but the basic themes of

Characters, Complexity, Language skills, Powerful emotions and

Relevant issues which are discussed above, are as evident in today's

modern films as in a 16th century Romantic Tragedy.
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