Talk about the appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare and ‘Romeo+Juliet’ by Baz Luhrmann Texts and ideas from texts are appropriated and changed into other text types and other structures in a various context. An appropriation is a text that is appropriated or taken control of by another composer and presented in a new method. Romeo and Juliet’ is a widely known high culture text that is a catastrophe about two young star-crossed enthusiasts whose deaths ultimately unify their feuding families.
In the 1997 movie, Baz Luhrmann has taken what is valued about the original play of ‘Romeo and Juliet’; the styles, evocative language and poetry, the ageless story and humour, and has actually positioned it in a context which is accessible and appealing to a modern audience.
This essay will demonstrate how and why Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has been appropriated and valued for contemporary audiences in relation to: variations in the reactions to the text in time, differences and resemblances in between language, settings, prologue and chorus, themes, characterisation, methods, worths and contexts, as well as various readings of the play and other appropriations. Shakespeare’s time was an age of excellent modification, as the old ways were being questioned, and more than any other Renaissance figure, Shakespeare exposed a capability to utilize the past and shape it for his own dramatic requirements.
As a result of this, his concepts and story in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ were being questioned. The earliest registered critic of the play was diarist Samuel Pepys who, in 1662 wrote: “it is a play of itself the worst that I ever heard in my life”. Ten years later, the poet John Dryden wrote “Shakespeare reveal ‘d the best of his skill in his Mercutio”, praising the play and its comic character Mercutio. In the mid-18th century, writer Charles Gildon and philosopher Lord Kames argued that the play was a failure in that it did not follow the classical conventions of drama.
However, author and critic Samuel Johnson believed it to be among Shakespeare’s “most pleasing” plays. It is evident that “Romeo and Juliet” has received blended responses, however likewise acquired value by responders as the context has changed for many years. In ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Shakespeare applied two specific elements of life in Renaissance Italy to create the issue of his play. The very first was the history of bloody interfamily disagreements that degraded Italian cities uring the Renaissance age, and the second was the trendy method to love, based on the poetry of Petrarch (1304-1374, an Italian poet who discussed love). However, Shakespeare does not just embrace and state history; rather he modified the civil wars of the period into a small war; a family feud that happens in a stable state. Also, he contrasted the fiction act of the Petrarchan fan with the experience of a boy who is really in love (Romeo). Baz Luhrmann approaches his new version of ‘Romeo+Juliet’ with the exact same intent.
He amuses modern audiences by utilizing modern-day concepts to convey the worths embodied in the play and the impossible love, hate and sadness that are the essence of Shakespeare’s disaster. Introducing these same concepts in a different context has proven the value of Shakespeares’ storyline and the importance of the morals associated with it. An element of Shakespeare’s play and Luhrmann’s film that differs is the setting. The play is embeded in the 16th century in Verona, whilst Baz Luhrmann’s movie occurs on Verona Beach, 20th century times, looking like Los Angeles.
The setting of the movie is a striking contrast to the Elizabethan England of William Shakespeare; thus the mindsets revealed in the film vary from those conveyed in the play. This likewise contributes in articulating the modern mindset to religious beliefs, violence, task, etc and how it has actually substantially altered from those of 16th century England. A major function that Luhrmann has actually kept in his film is the initial Shakespearean language that characterises the play.
Although the meaning of specific sentences has actually been altered, other parts have actually been emphasised. An example is Mercutio’s speech at Sycamore grove, the discussion is very similar, “Her wagoner [Queen Mab], a small grey-coated gnat … And in this state she gallops night by night” and this has been reiterated by close up shots of Mercutio’s face, revealing his feelings. Also the popular line; “O Romeo, Romeo!– wherefore art thou Romeo?” is from the original play and has actually been enhanced by a deal gaze from Juliet, revealing her love for Romeo.
This reveals modern audiences Luhrmanns’ capability to capture the core of the catastrophe through traditional Shakespearean text, which although the context has changed throughout the years, the language of Shakespeare is highly valued and contemplated by the majority of people. In addition, a difference in the movie by Baz Luhrmann, compared to the play by Shakespeare is the prologue and chorus. In Shakespeare’s original production, the chorus would have gone into the World Theatre, and to acquire the audiences’ attention, would yell “Two households, both alike in dignity” and the rest of his part.
In Luhrmanns’ representation of the chorus, he rather uses close up shots of a television with an African American lady delivering a report. Whereas Shakespeare’s audience were aurally dependent, modern-day audiences rely tremendously on visual aspects of Luhrmanns’ ‘Romeo+Juliet’. Using the television ‘caught’ the modern audiences’ eye and the African American woman represents the traditionally essential legacy of the civil liberties black movement, which is another element that appeals and relates to a modern audience.
This shows that the variation in context has actually resulted in new worths which Luhrmann has included in his film, showing his appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is far more exceptional to Shakespeare’s play for a modern audience. An essential component and similarity in Shakespeares’ play and Luhrmanns’ film are the themes. Baz Luhrmann has kept the exact same themes and concepts from the initial play in his movie which shows they are in fact ageless and can influence on all audiences, no matter what age they are a part of. One of the crucial themes in the play and movie is love.
When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, he forgets his former love Rosaline and falls truly in love with Juliet. She in turn responds to him with a love that is innocent and excited. Another essential style in the 2 texts is hate. Peace is damaged by the hatred that the Montague’s and Capulet’s feel for each other and the causes of this are trivial, the results are. The love of Romeo and Juliet provides a strong contrast to the hate and are elements of the play that do not have to be “modernised”.
Hate and enjoy can be analyzed as the duality of human life; hence although the context of the film has differed from the play, these 2 themes stay to be just as pertinent today as they were in Shakespeare’s time. Moreover, Baz Luhrmann has taken a modern point of view on each character, giving them character characteristics that may have just been meant in Shakespeares’ play. An example is the different representations of Romeo’s very first conference with Juliet at the masked ball.
In Shakespeares’ play, making use of language conventions such as sexual innuendo, as well as the line; “And palm to palm is the holy plamers’ kiss” depicts Juliet as either being a secured character who is not interested in Romeo to an otherwise a lot more sexual and suggestive personality. On the other hand in the film, Juliet is communicated as a flirtatious and totally exotic character. In the scene where she meets Romeo, Luhrmann enhances Juliet’s sensual eye motions, with close-up shots, as she gazes past the fish in the aquarium to lock with Romeo’s eyes.
Shakespeare’s characterisation of Romeo and Juliet appealed to the late 16th century audience, however as times have changed, so has the context, and Luhrmann expresses his characterisation of the couple as a way of connecting to his young and contemporary target market. In addition, it is important to remember that in the 17th and 18th centuries, plays were enacted in theatres and Shakespeare’s audience pertained to the have fun with a substantial level of aural direct exposure, whereas Luhrmanns’ film is more aesthetically established. For this reason, an essential variation in the 2 text types is the methods utilized.
Shakespeare has revealed his capability to utilize varied language to appeal to his audience. An example is the terrace scene of Act II Scene II, when Romeo states; “It is my woman, O it is my love”, enhanced with embellishment “two of the fairest stars in all the heaven”, overemphasizing the view of Juliets’ shimmering eyes. Another example is Shakespeares’ use of puns and bawdy or sexual jokes, which can be seen in Act I Scene IV, when Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio talk about going to the Capulet’s celebration; “A torch for me! Let wantons light of heart, Tickle the senseless hurries with their heels. (Romeo jokes about the girls at the Capulet party being immoral when they are really respectable). An extra language function apparent is making use of similes; “It appears she hangs upon the cheek of night like a rich gem in an Ethiop’s ear”. Romeo states this line to explain Juliet when he first sees her. The Elizabethan culture understood the puns, the sexual jokes, as well as the language that is discovered so ancient and old in the 20th century. All these language conventions show that Shakespeare composed ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to amuse his audience, composing within the context of his culture.
On the other hand, Baz Luhrmann has actually embraced a design very much of his own in developing the movie ‘Romeo+Juliet’. To attract a modern audience, Luhrmann has used multiple visual methods. One example is using outfits, at the Capulet ball Tybalt was dressed as a devil. This shows his evil and violent personality, representing the style of violence and hatred. Cam work is another technique utilized successfully; an example remains in the last scene when rotating close ups of Romeo and Juliets’ fingers moving are shown, which creates dramatic irony as we see Juliet awakening just as Romeo prepares to kill himself.
Luhrmann also utilizes spirited humour which can be seen when Romeo stumbles over to reach Juliet, interesting his young audience. In addition Latin and punk music, a children’s choir and a production number is used in the film to produce a blissful and contemporary environment. It appears, throughout using contemporary technology and visual methods, Luhrmann has effectively made his appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ much more remarkable to Shakespeare’s play, for a contemporary audience. Furthermore, a variation in worths in between the play and movie is The Wheel of Fortune and religion.
During Shakespeare’s time, it was commonly thought that fate and/or fortune was the main managing force in life. Just as a part of a wheel moves from a low to a high position or from high to low, so does a guy’s life. Thus, Shakespeare utilized this value to depict the idea of as to what degree fate and to what level human foolishness and error, added to the last disaster. On the other hand, Luhrmann takes what implications of religion there remain in the play and makes them a key visual focus in his movie.
Romeo and Juliet have a relationship that is based around the church, and there is usually a cross or other religious sign in the scenes in which they appear, encouraging the story to be seen in a Christian context. Luhrmann utilizes his Christ images as a method to reveal contemporary audiences that the young enthusiasts play a Christ-like role in their households– sacrificing themselves for the final peace between their families. Due to the fact that of the fan’s sacrifice, Verona has wish for life, simply as Christians in the world have expect life due to the fact that of their Saviour (God).
Hence, Luhrmanns’ ‘Romeo+Juliet’ conveys the values of its initial context whilst associating with his modern audience by illustrating existing social problems which make it more pertinent and understandable to the audience. Moreover, as the context of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Shakespeare has actually changed, so has peoples’ analyses of the play. Early psychoanalytic critics saw the issue of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in terms of Romeo’s overconfidence establishing from “ill-controlled, partially disguised aggressiveness”, which led to Mercutio’s death and the fans suicide.
In the late 1900’s, critics such as Julia Kristeva concentrated on the hatred in between the Capulets and Montagues, arguing that this hatred triggered Romeo and Juliet’s passion for each other. Juliet for example, mentions “my only love sprung from my only hate” and normally articulates her love through an anticipation of Romeo’s death. Feminist literary critics debate that the blame for the family feud lies in Verona’s patriarchal society. For example, Coppelia Kahn, a feminist critic thinks the company, manlike code of violence indicated on Romeo, is the main force driving the catastrophe to its end.
In this view, the teens “end up being males” by including themselves in violence on behalf of their daddies. Juliet likewise follows a female code of purity and obedience and she demonstrates this by allowing others, such as the Friar to solve her issues for her. This shows that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has actually had various readings for many years and critics’ values, occupations and cultures can have a major impact on their analyses. In addition, Luhrmanns’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is not the only appropriation of Shakespeares’ play. The play has been adapted many times for stage, film, musical and opera.
David Garrick’s 18th century variation customized numerous scenes, getting rid of material then considered offensive, and Georg Benda’s adaption excluded much of the action and added a pleased ending. Performances in the 19th century, such as Charlotte Cushman’s, upgraded the initial text, and centred on greater realism. In 1935, John Gielgud’s variation enhanced the Elizabethan culture and outfits, and kept really close to Shakespeare’s text. In the 20th century, the play has been diversely adapted, consisting of the 1950’s musical ‘West Side Story’ and the 1996’s MTV-inspired ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
It is evident that Shakespeares play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has an ageless storyline in addition to effective styles and language, and has been appropriated numerous times as the text is highly valued. In conclusion, it is now clear that William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is extremely valued and Baz Luhrmann has taken what is valued about the original play; the themes, expressive language and poetry, the timeless story and humour, and has placed it in a context which is accessible and attractive to a contemporary audience.
The variations in the reactions to the text with time, differences and resemblances between language, settings, prologue and chorus, styles, characterisation, strategies, worths and contexts, along with different readings of the play and other appropriations has actually shown how and why the text has actually been appropriated and remains profoundly valued. It is through appropriations like Luhrmann’s, which have constantly rekindled the fire to make it possible for the original storyline of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to be viewed by an ever changing audience.