Discuss the appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare and ‘Romeo+Juliet’ by Baz Luhrmann Texts and ideas from texts are appropriated and transformed into other text kinds and other compositions in a different context. An appropriation is a text that is appropriated or taken over by another author and presented in a brand-new way. Romeo and Juliet’ is a widely known high culture text that is a catastrophe about 2 young star-crossed lovers whose deaths eventually unite their feuding families.
In the 1997 film, Baz Luhrmann has taken what is valued about the original play of ‘Romeo and Juliet’; the themes, evocative language and poetry, the timeless storyline and humour, and has placed it in a context which is available and appealing to a modern-day audience.
This essay will demonstrate how and why Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has actually been appropriated and valued for modern audiences in relation to: variations in the responses to the text with time, distinctions and similarities in between language, settings, prologue and chorus, styles, 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 methods were being questioned, and more than any other Renaissance figure, Shakespeare exposed a capability to use the past and shape it for his own remarkable needs.
As an outcome of this, his ideas and story in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ were being questioned. The earliest signed up 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”. 10 years later on, the poet John Dryden wrote “Shakespeare show ‘d the very best of his skill in his Mercutio”, applauding 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 because it did not follow the classical conventions of drama.
However, author and critic Samuel Johnson thought it to be among Shakespeare’s “most pleasing” plays. It is evident that “Romeo and Juliet” has actually received mixed reactions, however likewise gained worth by responders as the context has altered throughout the years. In ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Shakespeare applied two particular aspects of life in Renaissance Italy to produce the complication of his play. The very first was the history of bloody interfamily arguments that degraded Italian cities uring the Renaissance age, and the second was the fashionable technique to like, based upon the poetry of Petrarch (1304-1374, an Italian poet who wrote about love). Nevertheless, Shakespeare does not simply embrace and state history; rather he modified the civil wars of the duration into a small war; a family feud that occurs in a steady state. Likewise, he contrasted the fiction act of the Petrarchan lover with the experience of a boy who is genuinely in love (Romeo). Baz Luhrmann approaches his new variation of ‘Romeo+Juliet’ with the very same intent.
He amuses modern viewers by using modern-day ideas to communicate the worths embodied in the play and the impossible love, hate and sorrow that are the essence of Shakespeare’s disaster. Introducing these very same ideas in a various context has actually shown the value of Shakespeares’ storyline and the importance of the morals connected with it. An aspect of Shakespeare’s play and Luhrmann’s film that varies 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 film is a striking contrast to the Elizabethan England of William Shakespeare; hence the mindsets revealed in the film differ from those conveyed in the play. This also contributes in articulating the modern attitude to religion, violence, responsibility, etc and how it has significantly changed from those of 16th century England. A major feature that Luhrmann has actually maintained in his film is the original Shakespearean language that characterises the play.
Although the significance of particular sentences has actually been altered, other parts have been emphasised. An example is Mercutio’s speech at Sycamore grove, the discussion is very comparable, “Her wagoner [Queen Mab], a little grey-coated gnat … And in this state she gallops night by night” and this has been repeated by close up shots of Mercutio’s face, revealing his feelings. Also the well-known line; “O Romeo, Romeo!– wherefore art thou Romeo?” is from the initial play and has been reinforced by an offer gaze from Juliet, revealing her love for Romeo.
This reveals modern audiences Luhrmanns’ capability to catch the core of the tragedy through conventional Shakespearean text, which although the context has actually altered over the years, the language of Shakespeare is highly valued and pondered by the majority of individuals. In addition, a difference in the film by Baz Luhrmann, compared to the play by Shakespeare is the prologue and chorus. In Shakespeare’s original production, the chorus would have entered the Globe Theatre, and to get the audiences’ attention, would scream “Two families, both alike in self-respect” and the rest of his part.
In Luhrmanns’ portrayal of the chorus, he instead utilizes close up shots of a tv with an African American lady delivering a news report. Whereas Shakespeare’s audience were aurally reliant, contemporary audiences rely profoundly on visual aspects of Luhrmanns’ ‘Romeo+Juliet’. Using the tv ‘caught’ the modern audiences’ eye and the African American female represents the historically important tradition of the civil liberties black movement, which is another aspect that appeals and associates with a modern-day audience.
This reveals that the variation in context has actually resulted in brand-new values which Luhrmann has actually included in his film, proving his appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is far more remarkable to Shakespeare’s play for a contemporary audience. An important element and similarity in Shakespeares’ play and Luhrmanns’ film are the themes. Baz Luhrmann has actually kept the same styles and ideas from the initial play in his film which reveals they are in fact classic and can impact on all audiences, no matter what age they belong of. One of the key themes in the play and film 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 reacts to him with a love that is innocent and excited. Another crucial style in the 2 texts is hate. Peace is destroyed by the hatred that the Montague’s and Capulet’s feel for each other and the reasons for this are not important, the outcomes are. The love of Romeo and Juliet provides a strong contrast to the hate and are aspects of the play that do not need to be “modernised”.
Dislike and love can be translated as the duality of human life; for this reason although the context of the film has differed from the play, these two styles stay to be simply as relevant today as they were in Shakespeare’s time. In Addition, Baz Luhrmann has actually taken a modern perspective on each character, giving them character characteristics that may have just been hinted at in Shakespeares’ play. An example is the various representations of Romeo’s very first conference with Juliet at the masked ball.
In Shakespeares’ play, the use of language conventions such as sexual innuendo, in addition to the line; “And palm to palm is the holy plamers’ kiss” portrays Juliet as either being a protected character who is not interested in Romeo to an otherwise a lot more sexual and suggestive personality. On the other hand in the movie, Juliet is conveyed as a flirtatious and entirely unique character. In the scene where she consults with Romeo, Luhrmann strengthens Juliet’s sensuous eye movements, with close-up shots, as she gazes past the fish in the fish tank to lock with Romeo’s eyes.
Shakespeare’s characterisation of Romeo and Juliet attracted the late 16th century audience, however as times have changed, so has the context, and Luhrmann reveals his characterisation of the couple as a way of reaching out to his young and modern target audience. Furthermore, it is vital to keep in mind that in the 17th and 18th centuries, plays were enacted in theatres and Shakespeare’s audience concerned the have fun with a significant level of aural exposure, whereas Luhrmanns’ film is more visually established. Thus, an essential variation in the 2 text types is the techniques utilized.
Shakespeare has revealed his capability to utilize diverse language to appeal to his audience. An example is the terrace scene of Act II Scene II, when Romeo states; “It is my girl, O it is my love”, enhanced with hyperbole “2 of the fairest stars in all the heaven”, exaggerating the view of Juliets’ sparkling eyes. Another example is Shakespeares’ usage of puns and bawdy or sexual jokes, which can be seen in Act I Scene IV, when Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio go over 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 celebration being immoral when they are in fact respectable). An additional language function apparent is the use of similes; “It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night like an abundant jewel in an Ethiop’s ear”. Romeo says this line to describe Juliet when he first sees her. The Elizabethan culture understood the puns, the sexual jokes, in addition to the language that is found so ancient and old in the 20th century. All these language conventions prove that Shakespeare wrote ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to entertain his audience, writing within the context of his culture.
On the other hand, Baz Luhrmann has actually adopted a design quite of his own in producing the film ‘Romeo+Juliet’. To interest a contemporary audience, Luhrmann has utilized multiple visual methods. One example is using outfits, at the Capulet ball Tybalt was dressed as a devil. This reveals his evil and violent personality, representing the theme of violence and hatred. Cam work is another method utilized effectively; an example remains in the final scene when alternating close ups of Romeo and Juliets’ fingers moving are shown, which produces remarkable paradox as we see Juliet getting up simply as Romeo prepares to eliminate himself.
Luhrmann also utilizes lively humour which can be seen when Romeo stumbles over to reach Juliet, attracting his young audience. In addition Latin and punk music, a children’s choir and a production number is utilized in the movie to create a joyous and modern atmosphere. It appears, throughout making use of modern technology and visual methods, Luhrmann has actually effectively made his appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ much more exceptional to Shakespeare’s play, for a contemporary audience. Moreover, a variation in values between the play and film is The Wheel of Fortune and religion.
Throughout Shakespeare’s time, it was commonly thought that fate and/or fortune was the primary managing force in life. Simply 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 used this value to represent the idea of as to what extent fate and to what level human foolishness and mistake, contributed to the last catastrophe. On the other hand, Luhrmann takes what ramifications of religion there remain in the play and makes them an essential visual focus in his movie.
Romeo and Juliet have a relationship that is based around the church, and there is generally a cross or other spiritual symbol in the scenes in which they appear, encouraging the story to be viewed in a Christian context. Luhrmann utilizes his Christ images as a way to show modern audiences that the young fans play a Christ-like function in their families– compromising themselves for the last peace in between their families. Since of the lover’s sacrifice, Verona has hope for life, simply as Christians in the world have wish for life because of their Saviour (God).
For this reason, Luhrmanns’ ‘Romeo+Juliet’ communicates the values of its original context whilst relating to his modern audience by illustrating existing social problems that make it more appropriate and understandable to the audience. Furthermore, as the context of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Shakespeare has actually altered, so has peoples’ interpretations of the play. Early psychoanalytic critics saw the issue of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in terms of Romeo’s overconfidence developing from “ill-controlled, partly camouflaged hostility”, which caused Mercutio’s death and the enthusiasts 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 caused Romeo and Juliet’s enthusiasm for each other. Juliet for example, mentions “my only love sprung from my only hate” and typically articulates her love through an anticipation of Romeo’s death. Feminist literary critics debate that the blame for the bad blood depends on Verona’s patriarchal society. For example, Coppelia Kahn, a feminist critic believes the company, manlike code of violence indicated on Romeo, is the primary force driving the tragedy to its end.
In this view, the teens “end up being males” by including themselves in violence on behalf of their daddies. Juliet also complies with a female code of pureness and obedience and she shows this by allowing others, such as the Friar to solve her problems for her. This reveals that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has actually had several readings over the years and critics’ worths, professions and cultures can have a significant influence on their interpretations. In addition, Luhrmanns’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is not the only appropriation of Shakespeares’ play. The play has been adapted various times for stage, movie, musical and opera.
David Garrick’s 18th century version modified numerous scenes, eliminating product then thought of as offending, and Georg Benda’s adaption excluded much of the action and added a delighted ending. Performances in the 19th century, such as Charlotte Cushman’s, upgraded the original text, and centred on higher realism. In 1935, John Gielgud’s version enhanced the Elizabethan culture and costumes, and kept very close to Shakespeare’s text. In the 20th century, the play has actually been diversely adapted, consisting of the 1950’s musical ‘West Side Story’ and the 1996’s MTV-inspired ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
It appears that Shakespeares play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has a timeless story in addition to effective themes and language, and has actually been appropriated several times as the text is extremely valued. In conclusion, it is now clear that William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is highly valued and Baz Luhrmann has actually taken what is valued about the initial play; the styles, expressive language and poetry, the ageless storyline and humour, and has actually positioned it in a context which is available and enticing to a modern audience.
The variations in the responses to the text gradually, distinctions and similarities in between language, settings, beginning and chorus, themes, characterisation, strategies, values and contexts, as well as various readings of the play and other appropriations has shown how and why the text has actually been appropriated and stays profoundly valued. It is through appropriations like Luhrmann’s, which have continually rekindled the fire to allow the initial story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to be perceived by an ever altering audience.