William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
For the purposes of this essay I shall be examining two different
versions of Romeo and Juliet, one of which is set in the usual time
period, directed by Franco Zefferelli, and the other is set in modern
times, directed by Baz Luhrmann.
The first scenes in which we see the main characters of Romeo and
Juliet give us a fairly accurate idea of the type person they each
are. Romeo retains his initial personality throughout the play, but
Juliet's character appears to change fairly drastically after meeting
and falling in love with Romeo.
In the Zefferelli version we first see Romeo immediately after the
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This suggests that his
grief is not entirely genuine, and he might even be forcing it upon
himself as he thinks that it is the kind of thing a person 'should' be
feeling under these circumstances. Romeo is a character who seems to
be more in love with the idea of love itself rather than actually
being in love.
When we first encounter Juliet in both versions, she is shown to be a
very sensible and intelligent girl, who remains almost completely
calm, and faintly amused, while her mother and nurse fluster around
her about marrying Paris. However, we do get a certain sense that
Juliet holds her mother in a fearful manner, and speaks carefully
around her so as not to offend her or upset her, for example:
Lady Capulet; "Speak Briefly, can you like of Paris' love?"
Juliet: "I'll look to like, if looking liking move; but no more deep
will I endart mine eye than your consent gives strength to make it
When Juliet meets Romeo however, her character undergoes drastic
changes and she becomes rasher and more childlike.
Text Box: Page 1 â€“ 4The 'party scene' (Act 1: scene 5) at the Capulet
mansion is the scene in which Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time
and supposedly 'fall in love' and is arguably one of the most pivotal
scenes in the film.
Before the scene begins Romeo and his friends are gathered elsewhere
and we catch a glimpse of Mercutio's rather disturbed character.
However, the most interesting occurrence here is Romeo's premonition.
Once he has calmed Mercutio down, he goes on to say;
"I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars,
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night's revels, and expire the term
Of a despised life closed in my breast,
By some vile forfeit of untimely death,
But he that hath the steerage of my course
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen"
Romeo is of course speaking of the terrible events that are going to
happen because of his and Juliet's meeting that night, though he does
not know it himself. This gives the audience small idea of what is yet
to come in the play, and of the importance of this scene.
In both version of the film (and in the play script itself) Romeo and
Juliet first meet each other whilst the rest of the crowd is entranced
by a solo singer. As soon as their eyes meet they are clearly besotted
with each other, but Juliet is soon drawn off by her nurse to dance
with Paris. Though even whilst dancing with Paris Juliet is clearly
thinking of Romeo, and often shoots glances in his direction.
Soon Romeo manages to steal Juliet away from Paris, and they talk to
each other for the first time, although by this time Romeo is already
convinced that he is in love with her. And for a short time they are
left undisturbed to get to know each other,...