Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare, one of the most famous playwrights of all time, was born in Stratford upon Avon in 1564 and died in 1616. He was one of eight children of John Shakespeare, a local town official and glove maker, and Mary Arden. In 1982 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at only eighteen. They had three children together, Susanna, and twin Judith and Hannet. Sadly Hannet tragically died at eleven. Shakespeare was known for performing at the Globe theatre with the Chamberlains Men. He wrote 37 plays in his lifetime and one of his most famous plays was Romeo and Juliet.

I am going to compare lines 1-100 of Act One, Scene One from the text of the two film versions; Franco Zeffirelli’s version and Baz Luhrmann’s version. The text opens with the prologue, which gives a brief outline of the story, it is 14 lines long, and is therefore typical of what is known as a sonnet. It is about two families from Verona, both of similar status; both hate the other due to an ancient feud, the lovers, Romeo and Juliet both from each of the families take their own lives for their love.

Their death makes their parents see sense. Shakespeare has deliberately revealed the ending in the prologue so that the audience may judge the characters and the events up to the final tragedy. Act One Scene One begins in a public place. It starts like a comedy with word-play and puns from Gregory and Sampson, both servants of the Capulet house. They boast about what they would do to the Montague’s. One pun used is “We’ll not carry coals. ” This means we’ll not stand for any insults. “No, for then we should be colliers. This means if we do stand for any insults then we shall be coal sellers or coal miners which were probably regarded as dirty and poor people in their day. Sampson uses rude language, to boast about what they would do to any Montague’s “Therefore I will push Montague’s men from the wall, thrust his maids to the wall. ” Sampson thinks that love is just a matter of brutal conquest of another body. This part of the scene is very boastful and light hearted, until Abraham and a servant, both from the Montague house enter and the scene turns instantly threatening and tension increases.

Sampson and Gregory turn from being boastful to serious, in a way this is ironic because when the they were joking, they were not afraid of saying about what they would do to the Montagues, but now when they come across the Montague’s they become unsure as to whether to torment them or not, because Gregory says “How, turn thy back and run? ” He’s unsure whether to provoke the Montague’s. But Sampson is not as afraid as Gregory, so he decides to provoke them by biting his thumb at Abraham and the servant. Biting thumbs was regarded as an insult in that day.

Both houses start bantering at each other, both speaking politely with a threatening undertone. Gregory says “Do you Quarrel sir? ” Which is do you fight. The Capulet’s crave for a fight by aggravating the Montague’s, but the Montague’s are not up for a fight. At this point Benvolio enters and Gregory says “Here comes one of my master kinsmen. ” But he is not referring to Benvolio because he is a Montague. He is referring to Tybalt who is approaching. So the Capulet’s start the fight themselves when Sampson says “Draw if you be men, Gregory remember thy washing blow.

The word ‘washing blow’ means in this context, a slashing blow, which is a sword move. They then fight but there is no description of what happens. Benvolio who is against fighting stops the fight, but then Tybalt who is a Capulet enters and he offers Benvolio to fight “…. Turn thee Benvolio, look upon thy death. ” Tybalt is an aggressive character and when he enters he is spoiling for a fight and he does not believe in peace, this is evident when Benvolio says “I do but keep the peace. Benvolio tries to restore the peace because he is a peacemaker. Tybalt does not believe that Benvolio is trying to stop the fight so he threatens Benvolio “What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word …. have at thee coward. ”

Then Tybalt attacks Benvolio and a huge brawl follows, but this time the citizens and the officer attempt to break up the fight. The mood is now chaotic. Old Capulet and Lady Capulet enter. Old Capulet wants to be involved in the fight “… Give me my long sword, ho. ” Lady Capulet replies “A crutch, a crutch! Meaning a crutch might be better because he is too old to fight. Then enters Old Montague and Lady Montague, he also wants to fight but Lady Montague attempts to stop him by restraining him. The two heads of the families seem foolish and try to stand up for their family by trying to be involved in the fight. Then Prince Escalus enters with his train, these are his guards in our context. He is in charge of Verona and he breaks up the fight between the two families. He is furious with them both. He gives a long speech to the two families.

He compares their behaviour to beasts “You men, you beasts, that quench the fire of your pernicious rage… ” He also says that there have been three civil brawls between the two families in Verona’s streets. He has had enough of it and the pointless fighting has disrupted the social life of the city. Their punishment if this happens again would be paid with their lives. Many of the characters from the two families seem to act first and think later. For instance some characters jump into a fight without thinking of the consequences.

The fight breaks out quickly between the two families which proves the point that some of the characters act first, think later. These first 100 lines prepare the audience for the haste and speed which plays a big part in the coming tragedy of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet and it prepares for the fights that take place later on in the play. The Franco Zeffirelli film version of the play is set in the 15th century in the town of Verona in Italy which is the ideal setting to the play.

The first scene which I am going to study is set on a bright sunny morning in the town market. The costumes worn are authentic to the 15th century, these include tight leggings known as Hose and close fitted jackets known as doublets worn by the men. The two families also wear the livery of their household. The Montague’s livery is blue and grey and the Capulet’s livery are red and orange. The film introduces with a prologue, just like the text. As the Prologue is being spoken, the film shows a number of views of Verona.

While this is being shown, music authentic to the time is played along with it. The prologue is correct to the text but the last two lines are cut out. After the prologue, the film goes straight to Verona’s market, the public place. This market setting is authentic with its old sandstone buildings and its bustling market. Sampson, Gregory and another Capulet who is not included in the text, are walking through the market joking and being a nuisance to some of the citizens by kicking them for a joke. This portrays the Capulet’s as trouble makers.

The mood is boastful and light hearted, which is faithful to the text. The film does not include the conversation about Colliers and Montague maids spoken between the Capulet’s. But it starts on line 25 when Gregory says “The quarrel is between our masters and us their men. ” Sampson replies to this “Tis all one. ” This is correct to the text, but it misses all the lines afterwards where Gregory says “Here comes the house of the Montague. ” The Montague’s consist of three people here, Abraham and two other Montague’s not named.

They are shown buying items from a market stall, you see them thanking the stall keeper and being polite to the citizens, Zeffirelli portrays the Montague’s as nice people even though there is no evidence of this in the text. The banters between the two families are started just like the text. Sampson bites his thumb at the Montague’s. This is also known as an insult in the film. The banters between them are correct to the text. After Abraham says “You Lie. ” The Montague’s walk away from the Capulet’s because they don’t want to start any trouble.

This is evidence to suggest that the Montague’s are nice people. Sampson retaliates to this because he craves for a fight. He deliberately trips up the older member of the three Montague’s. This is not included in the text. Sampson’s retaliation makes Abraham angry and he declares the fight by saying “Draw if you be men. ” This is actually said by Sampson in the text. Then Sampson completes the sentence from the text “Gregory, remember thy washing blow. ” The brawl starts with both sides charging at each other. The scene is now in the streets of Verona near the market.

The citizens help the Montague’s break up the brawl by grabbing hold of the Capulet’s. Then Benvolio enters, he stops the fight and says his lines from the text, but in addition to this he says “The prince expressly forbids fighting on Verona’s streets. ” This is not in the text. Then Tybalt with a lot more of Capulet’s men enter, he laughs in a threatening way and the mood suddenly gets threatening, he and Benvolio say their lines, which are correct to the text. Benvolio is cowardly towards Tybalts will to fight, and the brawl begins again.

The mood is chaotic and hot because it is set on a bright and hot street. During the fight, Tybalt injures Benvolio and he says “hi thee home? Fragment. ” This means you’re a coward and you should go home, Tybalt says it in a boastful way. The film shows the fight with lots of chaos, colours, close ups, lots of action, aerial shots of fighting, village people trying to stop the fight, things flying through the air, explicit bits like people being killed, there is no evidence of this in the play, it is hard to see who people are, such as who is Montague and who is Capulet.

At one point during the fight, Zeffirelli shows us the two households. He shows Old Capulet gathering his men and charging out into the chaotic fight. There is no conversation between Old Capulet and Lady Capulet, despite this being in the original text. Zeffirelli also shows us Old Montague gathering his men to go and join the fight, and Lady Montague attempting to stop him. At this part the conversation between Old Montague and Lady Montague is correct to the text, but it misses parts out.

Zeffirelli has paraphrased it, meaning the lines have been swapped, Lady Montague says her line before Old Montague’s says his line instead of after it. After about a minute of the fighting Prince Escalus and his guards enter on white horses which symbolises pureness and royal. Their horses prove that it is authentic to the time. While this is being shown his guards play trumpets, get attention towards the Prince for his speech. The Prince’s speech is correct to the text, but he says the first line from the text and then misses five lines, then he says the lines after these.

The speech has been made shorter. He uses the bits that are important. The film misses out over a third of the text so that the audience can concentrate more on the visuals. Zeffirelli has cut a lot of key phrases out of the film from the text, but it is still close to the text, he keeps main words accessible to the audience who watch it so that they can enjoy the film without actually having to know the text to enjoy it. Throughout the scene Zeffirelli tries to create a picture of two rival families fighting in this town.

The scene is very close to what Shakespeare would have envisaged it himself. Baz Luhrmann’s version of the play is a lot different to Franco Zeffirelli’s version. For one it is set in the late 20th century, in the city of Verona. The city is modern, with tall buildings and highways. The first scene opens on a bright sunny morning. The costumes worn are authentic to the 20th century, but the two houses clothes are quite bizarre, with the Montagues wearing pants and very colour full t-shirts which go with the hot sunny climate setting. While the Capulet’s wear pants and vest shaped shirts.

Also the Capulet’s wear spurs, which portray them as hard. The two household’s clothes are livery to their own household. The Montagues are bright colours such as orange and yellow. And the Capulet’s are darker colours such as blue and black. Luhrmann’s choice of livery colours are the reverse to Zeffirelli’s choice of livery. Just like Zeffirelli’s version, luhrmann opens it with a prologue. The prologue is read by a woman news reader on a TV, so it’s like you are watching the news in Verona after the events in the film have taken place. The prologue is correct to the text.

The news reader reads the prologue in a slow pace and as its being read the camera gradually gets closer to the TV, when she finishes the prologue, the camera suddenly zooms in quickly on the TV and you hear an effect which sounds like a tape being rewound. Immediately afterwards, the film shows views of modern Verona, scenes from the film, some words of the prologue flashed up, another narrator telling the story in more description to the prologue, dramatic music playing in the background and brief information about some of the characters.

The pace of the music and the scenes from the film becomes faster until it reaches a climax where it opens into the first scene. This introduction from the news reader to the scenes from the film is like the story is going back in time, from the news reader after the events have took place and then scenes from the film going back in time, opening the first scene. The first scene opens on a highway in Verona, a modern setting. Three of the Montague boys are joyriding along the highway in a fast car, shouting to other drivers causing mayhem.

Contemporary Up to date and high impact Music is played in the background. The conversation about colliers is not included in this film either. Luhrmann portrays the Montague’s as trouble makers in this version; a difference from Zeffirelli’s where the Montague’s were the good people of the two houses. Benvolio says “The Quarrel is between our masters and us their men. ” This line is said by Sampson in the text and in Zeffirelli’s version. The scene now goes to a gas station in Verona where the Montague’s arrive. This is not really a public place compared to the Market in Zeffirelli’s version.

Benvolio goes out of the scene when he goes inside the Gas station, as he does, we see the Capulet get out of their car, and they enter in a spaghetti western style way, cowboy music playing, car engine sound effect and the Clint Eastwood style where a Capulet squash’s a cigarette with his spur. Both the families do not notice each other. The Montague’s tease some Nuns in a van. As the van pulls away the Capulet’s are shown behind it. The Montague’s carry on teasing; not knowing that the van has gone and they are now teasing the Capulet’s. When they notice the Capulet’s they become all tense and scared. There is two Capulet’s at this moment.

One of them is called Abra; Abra has been shortened from the original text version name Abraham who was a Montague in both the text and Zeffirelli’s version. Luhrmann has shortened it so the name sounds cooler for the Capulet house. The two Montague’s not named, panic and speak scared; one says “Quarrel, I will back thee. ” The Capulet’s show their guns as well; when they do so Luhrmann shows the badges of the two households. They act like gangsters with both families showing their weaponry and one of the Capulet’s shows their brace which says ‘sin’, one of the Montague’s is terrified, and jumps when he sees his brace.

The Capulet’s begin to drive off laughing about how they scared the Montague. But as they begin to go out of the gas station one of the Montague’s bites his thumb at them to insult them, just like the text and Zeffirelli’s version of the play. The Capulet’s become angry, Abra makes the car engine roar so that he can show to the Montague’s that they are angry. The Montague’s start filling up their car with petrol quick and start panicking trying to drive off quickly. The Capulet’s on the other hand drive out of the gas station stopping and then walking back to the Montague’s. The people around the gas station panic.

The two families start bantering, using the correct text but some minor additions. The Montague’s say their lines in a sense of panic, and Abra says his lines like an army officer would do in a boot camp he is not panicking but is very threatening. The mood at this point is threatening. When Abra shouts “No better. ” He says it in a threatening way that if the Montague’s reply to this a fight will begin. The Montague’s panic and know that they will lose the fight, until they see Benvolio enter from the toilet gives them more confidence so they reply to the Capulet’s “Yes better.

The tension is extremely high at this point because the fight is about to break out. Abra says his line “Draw if you be men. ” And the fight begins with the people around panicking. After about a few seconds before any fighting takes place Benvolio enters and stops it by aiming his gun at the two Capulet’s. The camera shows a close up of Benvolio’s gun which says sword. Luhrmann names a gun, a sword to keep with Shakespeare language. The tension becomes high and everyone is quiet waiting for the next move. The camera shows the reaction of all the characters in this scene up to now.

Effects are put in such as the wind whistling and the sound of the sign blowing, both Clint Eastwood effects. Then we see Tybalt light a cigarette, dropping it and then squashing it with his spurs, another Clint Eastwood effect. He makes discreet entrance. Tybalt is calm, he turns to Benvolio. The camera shows a close up of Tybalt’s expression he has an evil, sinister and aggressive expression. The camera shows the expression on Benvolio who is now trembling. The mood is threatening now. Tybalt says his lines which are correct to the text but he misses out “What drawn and talk of peace. And after he says “Turn thee Benvolio, and look upon thy death. ”

Tybalt shows his guns and his vest with the picture of Jesus. After Tybalt says “Peace, peace, I hate the word…. ” We hear a boy shouting from behind Tybalt, Tybalt turns and points his gun at him then the fight starts. We see him then quickly turn and shoot Benvolio’s gun knocking Benvolio to the ground. We see shootings between the Capulet’s and Montague’s. The fight is like a bull fight for example people diving behind cars with guns in their hands another Clint Eastwood technique, bullets hitting the sign making it blow and Tybalt flicking his gun in the air.

While the fight is happening we hear music which resembles the Magnificent seven which is fast, like a western theme tune. During the fight, Tybalt kisses his gun, like it is a religious thing for him before shooting one of the Montague’s as they escape leaving Benvolio behind. The Capulet’s do the same, they escape leaving Tybalt behind before the police arrive. Petrol leaks every where around the gas station from the Montague’ leaving the hose out. Benvolio runs away jumping over cars in the road and shooting back at Tybalt, we hear the noise of car horns going off.

Tybalt drops his cigarette on to the petrol and runs after Benvolio. The gas station sets on fire, the camera shows posters burning about the two families, this and the gas station on fire represents the consequences of the two families actions we hear the dramatic music which was played during the introduction. The camera now shows the view of the city where the two families business offices are. We see police helicopters moving in resembling a Vietnam War film where soldiers are being transported by helicopter into the war. We see the reaction of old Montague when he hears the news of the fight on the TV.

We see views of the city which is now in chaos people running and riot police moving in. We see the old Capulet and Lady Capulet in their car, Old Capulet says “Give me my long sword ho. ” This is correct to the text but it misses out the first three words from the line in the text. Lady Capulet replies with “Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe” Which is also correct but is actually said by Lady Montague in the text. In this film version she successfully prevents him from joining the fight. We now rejoin the fight between Tybalt and Benvolio who are both threatening each other with their guns and snarling at each other.

But the prince, who is called ‘Captain Prince’ to make it more modern, is in a helicopter above them with other police aiming guns at them. He shouts through a microphone twice “Throw your mistempered weapons to the ground. ” Both Benvolio and Tybalt drop their weapons. The tension is high at this point we see wind blowing their shirts and hair. The scene now jumps later on, to in side the police station were the prince continues his speech in front of Old Montague and Capulet, Tybalt and Benvolio, he says “Three civil brawls… ” The speech is correct to the text and we see the reactions of both heads of the houses.

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