The Interpretation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli

The Interpretation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli

Length: 1512 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Interpretation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli


In this essay I am going to discuss the different interpretations of
Shakespeare's tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet and how fate works
against them. It is such a tragedy as they knew their love would never
be accepted and end up taking their lives. During the play fate works
against them from the beginning and begins to get worse. "Whose
misadventured piteous overthrows", this shows us that once things had
started to go wrong pity and sadness takes over their life.
======================================================================



In the 1600's a lot was blamed on fate, as the technology wasn't as
advanced as it is today, many disasters such as unexpected deaths were
said to be because of fate. Many Elizabethan's were largely interested
in the stars and astrology and put lots of their faith into fate.
Another thing that happened in Elizabethan time was that many people
did not marry for love. They married for money, respect, social status
and children. Even though four hundred years is a lot, much of the
social context is the same today such as teenage suicide, family
grudges and money. I am going to be examining Shakespeare's language
and text, especially in the prologue and when the lovers first meet in
Act 1 Scene 5.
======================================================================

I will start by discussing how the prologue is written and why it is
there. Shakespeare has started many of his plays with a prologue. A
prologue is written as a sonnet, which is a type of poem with fourteen
lines and ten syllables in each line. The prologue is an introduction
to the play, hinting at what is going to happen. "From forth the fatal
loins of these two foes, a pair of star crossed lovers take their
life", this conveys that something bad is going to happen to the two
lovers and how it is written in the stars, also that it will end
tragically in death. As it comes to the end of the prologue it

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Interpretation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli." 123HelpMe.com. 28 Mar 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=137641>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Comparing the Openings of the Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet by Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann

- Comparing the Openings of the Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet by Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann Both openings of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann show similarities and contrasts. Although both versions are faithful to the text as the words spoken by the voiceover in the Prologue are the same, the methods of presentation are clearly different. Zeffirelli places the film in the 17th century and takes a more traditional approach. By using a white middle aged male for the voiceover, Zeffirelli is just giving the audience exactly what they expect, the first opportunity to see Romeo and Juliet on the screen is when as the film was made in 1...   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
785 words (2.2 pages)

Comparing The Opening Shots in Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli's Versions of Romeo and Juliet

- Comparing The Opening Shots in Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli's Versions of Romeo and Juliet This essay will compare two versions of 'Romeo and Juliet' directed by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli. In order for me to comment on both versions of 'Romeo and Juliet' I will compare the opening shots, the way the main characters are introduced and the types of music and costumes used in each version. Baz Luhrmann's film takes place in contemporary America. The latest version of Romeo and Juliet was filmed in 1997 at Verona Beach, California....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1555 words (4.4 pages)

The Opening fight scenes of Franco Zeffirelli’s, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

- Romeo and Juliet is known through out the world for its heartrending story of two young star-crossed lovers, who had the inability of being united due to the feud between their families. Many films and books, all over the world, have used this famous playwright as an inspiration. As they were inspired, the story of Romeo and Juliet had kept spreading worldwide. Franco Zeffirelli had directed the first version of Romeo and Juliet in 1968. He had casted the vital roles of Romeo and Juliet to Leonard Whiting and Olivia hussy, who were both unrecognised actors before the releasing of the movie....   [tags: compare, contrast, comparison]

Research Papers
1209 words (3.5 pages)

Interpretation of the Balcony Scene by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli of William Shakespreare's Romeo and Juliet

- Interpretation of the Balcony Scene by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli of William Shakespreare's Romeo and Juliet “Romeo and Juliet” is a famous love story written by William Shakespeare. Two interpretations were made of this text into a film by the two directors, Baz Luhrmann (1996) and Franco Zeffirelli (1968). The films use different types of media to portray the characters and the overall context of Shakespeare’s play. I will be focusing on Act two Scene ii (the balcony scene) where I will compare how the two directors use media in the films....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1047 words (3 pages)

Comparing the Opening Scene of the Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet

- Comparing the Opening Scene of the Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet Both directors present their interpretation of the epic tale of love, reflecting their attitudes towards play and playwright. Luhrmann tackled the task of bringing the play up to date in 1997 and getting young people interested. Zeffirelli’s love for Shakespeare’s works shines through and so he has done little tampering. In fact Zeffirelli gives the film an air of nobility – like the youths’ death was sad, but a fitting end....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1422 words (4.1 pages)

Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli's Interpretation of Act I Scene VI When Romeo and Juliet Meet

- Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli have both made productions of Romeo and Juliet. Baz Luhrmann's version is very modern but still uses the old text. This film was made in 1997. Franco Zeffirelli sets his film with old looking sets and uses the old text. This film was made in the 1970's. Both films are set in Verona but the sets are very different. Franco Zeffirelli's seems to be set in Italy, with small stone roads. Baz Luhrmann's version however has large open spaces, hot weather and large beaches, this give the impression of it being set in the USA....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2945 words (8.4 pages)

Essay on Franco Zeffirelli's Film Romeo and Juliet

- The classic tale of Romeo and Juliet is a play from a famous writer and poet that died long a ago, Willaim Shakespear. He wrote lots of famous plays and poems that we still use at this time. But the popular one is romeo and juliet, it's been directed by two different directors. The first one was directed by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968 this film is set in the 1800 they use the same costume and dialogue as in the 1500. On the other hand the Baz luhrmann production is a 1996 american urban film, it's a modern and violent but at same it's a romantic and tragedy....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, shakespeare, movies, Franco Zeff]

Research Papers
1726 words (4.9 pages)

Comparing Zeffirelli and Luhrmann's Versions of Romeo and Juliet Essay

- "For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 5.3 ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a tragic play about two star crossed lovers written by Shakespeare in 1595. The play is a timeless teenage tradgedy. “The play champions the 16th Century belief that true love always strikes at first sight,” (Lamb 1993: Introduction) and even in modern times an audience still want to believe in such a thing as love at first sight. Act II Scene II the balcony scene displays that romantic notion perfectly....   [tags: compare, contrast, comparison]

Research Papers
916 words (2.6 pages)

Romeo and Juliet Comparative Essay

- ‘The difference between Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet (1968) and Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo & Juliet (1996) is simply a modernisation created by Luhrmann to attract a teenage audience.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement. 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 to emulate Shakespeare’s masterpiece....   [tags: Zeffirelli, Luhrmann, compare, contrast]

Research Papers
905 words (2.6 pages)

Comparing the Opening Scenes of the Zeffirelli and Luhrmann Versions of Romeo and Juliet

- Comparing the Opening Scenes of the Zeffirelli and Luhrmann Versions of Romeo and Juliet This essay will focus on how Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann portray the opening scenes of Romeo and Juliet. The traditional version of Romeo and Juliet was directed by Franco Zeffirelli in which Leonard Whiting played Romeo and Olivia Hussey played Juliet. This version was made in 1968 and aimed at the older audience. It was made in a way that was more accessible to the way Shakespeare wrote it....   [tags: Free Romeo and Juliet Essays]

Free Essays
1159 words (3.3 pages)

concludes by saying " The which if you with patient ears attend, what
here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend", which is saying that
you should wait and listen carefully, and if you miss anything they
will try to help. As you can see the prologue ends with a rhyming
couplet. I think that the prologue is really good and cleverly thought
out. I also think it is an important part of Shakespeare's play and
both film versions of Romeo and Juliet.

I am going to discuss two film interpretations of Shakespeare's Romeo
and Juliet. The first was made in 1968, directed by a man called
Franco Zeffirelli. The second was made in 1997 directed by Baz
Luhrmann. They are both very different as Zeffirelli has kept it very
traditional. As it is set in Verona, Italy in Elizabethan times just
as Shakespeare had wanted it. Many people were in poverty in this time
period and there were many diseases with little medical treatment.
Whereas Luhrmann set his interpretation in America on the fictional
Verona beach, in the late 1990's. Luhrmann's version is very modern,
where most people are very wealthy. I think Baz Luhrmann's target
audience is adults and teenagers, we see this in the prologue as it is
very fast and modern there is also visual images of people fighting. I
think the target audience for Franco zeffirelli's version is adults.
This is again shown in the prologue as it is very calm, soft and slow
which I think appeals to adults the most.

I will now discuss more differences and similarities between the two
versions of the prologue. In Luhrmann's interpretation the prologue is
told once as a news report then again with appropriate scenes. "In
fair Verona" "A pair of star cross'd lovers" and "take their life" are
the lines from the prologue, which are exaggerated the most using
visual and sound effects. For example the lines would be written
across the screen. I think Luhrmann chose to emphasise the prologue as
much as he did because it sets the scene for the whole film so well.
When Luhrmann repeated the prologue he edited out the last two lines,
I think he did this as it refers to it being a play, which was not
what Luhrmann was making. The last two lines were also edited out of
Zeffirelli's version along with four lines before that. In total
Zeffirelli edited out six lines, he ended the prologue at "Doth with
their death bury their parents strife" I think he did this because he
may have thought he had told enough and wanted to get into the film.

I would now like to talk about Act 1 Scene 5 and its importance
throughout the play. At the beginning of Act 1 Scene 5 Shakespeare
makes it clear that people are getting ready for the Capulet's party,
we then hear a long speech from Capulet welcoming his guests. During
the speech Capulet refers to the party being a masked occasion, "I
have seen the day that I have worn a visor and could tell a whispering
tale in a fair lady's ear" I think Shakespeare decided to have a
masked party because Romeo and his friends would not have been able to
hide their identifies, as Montague's, if it wasn't. As Romeo talks to
him self about Juliet's beauty Tybalt Capulet hears and straight away
recognises his voice and with great anger goes to confront him.
However on the way he bumps into Capulet and tells him of Romeos
presence, Capulet demands that Tybalt should let Romeo be, as he
doesn't want to ruin his party. This part of the play is important as
it starts a chain reaction to many more disasters that accrue later on
in the play such as the fight that leads to Rome's best friend,
Mecutio's death also the banishment of Romeo.

Act 1 Scene 5 is such an important part in the play as this is when
the lover's first encounter takes place. The first words that pass
Romeo and Juliet's lips are about committing a sin, kissing. I think
Juliet starts to fall for Romeo after kissing him as she gives him a
compliment "You kiss by th'book" By this I think she is saying that he
kisses like someone out of a fairytale. After more kissing the two get
pulled apart by Juliet's nurse, Romeo sees another chance to find out
the origin of his new love, however he does not like the outcome, this
is another reason why this scene is very important.

Even before finding out that Romeo, is in fact the only son of her
family rivals Juliet begins to foresee that something might prevent
them being together, "If he be married my grave is like to be my
wedding bed". This conveys that Juliet is comparing her wedding bed to
her grave suggesting that if she was to get together with Romeo it
will end it death. Juliet actually does appear to be dead to her
family on her wedding day to Paris so Shakespeare is again smartly
hinting at what is going to happen later on in the play. When Juliet
does find out who Romeo is she is very distressed "My only love sprung
from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me, that I must love a loathed
enemy" I think this shows how upset she is as she states the situation
she is in very well. This quotation is very famous and as you can see
there are rhyming couplets, which were very common in Shakespeare's
writing.

There are many differences and similarities in the way that Luhrmann
and Zeffirelli present Act 1 Scene 5, and I will now start to discuss
them. In both versions Capulet's speech is edited a great deal I think
they may have done this because they wanted to get into the party. In
Luhrmann's version it is fancy dress with Romeo as a knight and Juliet
as an angel. As if to say Romeo is Juliet's knight in shining Armour
from Paris, the one her parents want her to marry I think this is why
Luhrmann added him into the scene, as he says very little. Zeffirelli
decided to keep it as a masked party. When Tybalt tells Capulet that
Romeo is at the party in Zeffirelli's interpretation he is much more
laid back whereas in Luhrmann's interpretation it is a lot more
violent as Capulet hits Tybalt. The lovers first see each other as
Romeo watches the fish in the fish tank where he sees Juliet's beauty
on the other side. They follow each other across the fish tank with
their face's light by the bright fluorescent fish. I think this part
of the scene shows just how modern it is, I also think it is a lot
more romantic than Zeffirelli's interpretation. In Zeffirelli's
version the two see each other across a crowded hall and look for each
other through all the people. When the two do finally speak it is very
dark around them with soft light on their faces. Zeffirelli kept it
very traditional using actors for Romeo and Juliet that were actually
around the age of fourteen, whereas Luhrmann used actors that were
older however I think Juliet looked gentle and innocent and that Romeo
looked misleading. Luhrmann casted a very famous and good-looking
actor for Romeo I think he may have done this to modernise and attract
more attention to the film. The music in Luhrmann's interpretation is
very modern it can be soft and then very loud and lively whereas in
Zeffirelli's interpretation it is very traditional with lots of soft
music and old dancing with bells. In Zeffirelli's version there is a
lot of soft lighting and candles while Luhrmann used lots of bright
colour like fluorescent blues and yellows. Luhrmann also gives us the
impression that Romeo has taken drugs "These drugs work quick" We also
see Romeo take a pill of some kind and see the party from his eyes
where the room and people in it are spinning and bright colours. I
think he did this because drugs were and still are a big social issue,
so he did it to modernize the film.

I feel that Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet is most
convincing as it is very modern and keeps you interested in what is
happening. I think there is a lot more action in Luhrmann's
interpretation I also think that the action is much more emphasised
than Zeffirelli's version, this is one reason why I think me and many
more, prefer the modern version. I think that Luhrmann reached his
target audience very well as many teenagers find themselves hooked on
the film. However I do understand that Zeffirelli may have set a
different target audience and that the technology wasn't as advanced
as it is today. I feel that Baz Luhrmann did a great job of
modernising one of the most famous and oldest plays of all time and
keeping the old English language also of maintaining teenagers
interest. I think that if Shakespeare could have seen Luhrmann's
interpretation he would be very pleased to see how other people see
his play and how much of a success him, his play and the film was and
are.

In conclusion fate is a big factor in Romeo and Juliet's relationship,
which we are told right at the beginning in the prologue. Out of the
two interpretations Franco Zeffirelli kept his version very
traditional whereas Baz Luhrmann made his very modern which is shown
throughout the film. I looked especially at Shakespeare's prologue and
Act 1 Scene 5 where the lovers first meet also at the different
interpretations. Act 1 Scene 5 is such an important part in the play
as this is when the lovers first meet and realise there love for each
other, also when they find out who their love really is. I think that
Luhrmann's interpretation is the better of the two and think that
Shakespeare would be proud to see how famous it has become.
Return to 123HelpMe.com