A comparison between the play Romeo and Juliet and the movie Romeo + Juliet.
The other concern of Romeo and Juliet is feuding. The Capulet and Montague families have been feuding for generations. The two families are very similar as shown in the line “Two households both alike in dignity” but their reason of feuding is not revealed in the play. However the audience does know that the cause of the feuding originates from the parents of the main characters as shown in the line “..And the continuance of their parent’s rage which but their children’s end nought could remove.” During the introductory scene, there are newsflashes about the families and their rivalry which also contributes to adapting the film to a modern audience. Between the newsflashes there are snippets of lines from the newswoman reciting the prologue and pictures of vehicles and explosions.
Luhrmann uses a modern approach at the feud; instead of two powerful families feuding, it is instead about two family owned businesses. A competitive rivalry between two businesses is much more common than two powerful feuding families in modern times, which gives the audience a better understanding. The brawls are also much more modern. Guns, of the brand “Sword”, are used instead of actual swords. Since gangs are very common in modern times, Luhrmann uses them in his film. The audience would be more familiar with feuding gangs with pistols. This is mainly why Lurhmann chose to portray feuds differently to the traditional Shakespearian world.
This concern is also adapted in the last scene. In the book, the feud between the two rivalling families is resolved. In Luhrmann’s version there is no resolution between the two families and if the story were to be continued, the feud would probably worsen due to the two young lover’s deaths. In the play, the feud between the families and his exile almost prevents Romeo from seeing Juliet. However in the film armed police officers with guns prevent him from seeing her. In the play the families resolve their rivalry, but in the film there is no evidence of such. This may be because feuds in modern day societies between gangs are not easily resolved as in older times.
Romeo and Juliet is a masterpiece which is famous around the whole world. It is undoubtedly one of the best plays ever written by Shakespeare. Baz Luhrmann successfully adapts the film into a modernised version. The concerns in the original play are showcased in a very understandable way in Luhrmann’s version. Although no adaption of the play will ever be as great as the original, Luhrmann does a great job modernising the play.
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