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Essay on ROMEO and JULIET (1 Viewer)

mr. shrugies

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Essay Question : How has Baz Lurhmann used the medium of film to adapt Romeo and Juliet to engage a modern audience in Shakespeare's ideas?



Can some one help me understand and break it down. I can't seem to start it. It seems too hard. :confused: :angry:
 

imsopostmodern

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film is obviously a medium for the modern audience, seeing as it's a relatively modern medium within itself, as opposed to theatre.

the nature by which the themes have been transposed into a modern context - the usage of situations that are more applicable and identifiable by modern day audience. things such as clothing, setting, props, etc help this. eg, we have GUNS instead of swords and such. HOWEVER, shakespeares ideas are still retained through plot, but essentially through a continuation of shakespearian language. but it's not 'scary' for modern audiences because they can still understand it due to all other features being easily identifiable, which allows them to connect with and understand the language.
 

mr. shrugies

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film is obviously a medium for the modern audience, seeing as it's a relatively modern medium within itself, as opposed to theatre.

the nature by which the themes have been transposed into a modern context - the usage of situations that are more applicable and identifiable by modern day audience. things such as clothing, setting, props, etc help this. eg, we have GUNS instead of swords and such. HOWEVER, shakespeares ideas are still retained through plot, but essentially through a continuation of shakespearian language. but it's not 'scary' for modern audiences because they can still understand it due to all other features being easily identifiable, which allows them to connect with and understand the language.

And to develop my own thesis, i must answer "how". What can help me find a central argument. :\
Lurhmann makes things like the clothing, setting and props modern, and that may be what makes it engaging for a modern audience, but what IS that.

I can't put it into a word.
 

imsopostmodern

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the 'how' is just techniques. this is your combination of style, camera angles, setting, props, costuming etc.

How has Baz Lurhmann used the medium of film to adapt Romeo and Juliet to engage a modern audience in Shakespeare's ideas?

something along the lines of (but more refined, depending on the direction in which you take the essay) 'the film medium allows baz lurhmann access to filmic techniques in order to adapt Romeo and Juliet into a modern context that appeals to, and engages with, modern audiences'

it engages because it presents it in a way that we can connect with. the opening with a tv and news reporter makes a connection to real life for the viewer.

think about what tools of the filmic medium are usually used to engage the audience - these are things like camera angles, plot, setting, lighting, costumes, etc.

does that make sense? he uses FILMIC TECHNIQUES specific to the FILMIC MEDIUM (this is a direct link to the question) to engage the audience
 

d3st1nyLiang

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i did the same sort of thing this year, you can refer to this if you want , but its only year 10 standard
 

mr. shrugies

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Thanks, both of you.

It help, but i shall have to really think hard about this. Any further help and explanations would be appreciated.
 

mr. shrugies

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the 'how' is just techniques. this is your combination of style, camera angles, setting, props, costuming etc.

How has Baz Lurhmann used the medium of film to adapt Romeo and Juliet to engage a modern audience in Shakespeare's ideas?

something along the lines of (but more refined, depending on the direction in which you take the essay) 'the film medium allows baz lurhmann access to filmic techniques in order to adapt Romeo and Juliet into a modern context that appeals to, and engages with, modern audiences'

it engages because it presents it in a way that we can connect with. the opening with a tv and news reporter makes a connection to real life for the viewer.

think about what tools of the filmic medium are usually used to engage the audience - these are things like camera angles, plot, setting, lighting, costumes, etc.

does that make sense? he uses FILMIC TECHNIQUES specific to the FILMIC MEDIUM (this is a direct link to the question) to engage the audience

Baz Lurhmann has used techniques of film in order to adapt Romeo and Juliet so that it engages and is understandable to a modern audience, while still carrying on Shakespeare's ideas.

It's a start...

Could that be my thesis?

What's wrong with it? Should it be more specific? Etc etc.

Just help in general? XD




Marking criteria

-Develop strong personal thesis and use detailed textual references from the play and the film to support your thesis
-Evaluate how a film adaption can make Shakespeare's ideas engaging for a modern audience
-Analyse how language forms, features and structures (techniques) of text shape meaning.
-Compose an insightful and sustained essay, using language appropriate to audience, purpose and from.
 

imsopostmodern

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that's not really a thesis as such, because it's not really making a POINT. it's kinda a general introduction into what you're going to be saying. but it could definitely work as the opening to your essay - just maybe fix up some of the wording a little.

do you mind if i ask what grade you're in? just for the obvious reason that the type of essay required at each year level is different.
 

Aerath

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Aw man - reading this thread, made me go look for my essays on R+J. They were shit, but lol whatever. Take what you can. :p

Focus Question: ‘Luhrmann’s film interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet engages a contemporary audience.’ Write and essay which explains the various ways in which the film represents and reflects some of the major themes in Shakespeare’s play. Consider cinematic, dramatic and language techniques.

Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film, Romeo and Juliet is an interpretation of Shakespeare’s 1595 play, of the same name. Since then, critics worldwide have considered that the Luhrmann interpretation is targeted at and engages a contemporary, modern day audience. Luhrmann uses various cinematic, dramatic and linguistic techniques. Luhrmann uses some of the techniques that Shakespeare had in his original play, such as the themes, literary conventions, dialogue and imagery, whilst using his own creativity and originality, such as the changing of the setting of the play.

First and foremost, in Shakespeare’s play, the setting was in the quaint old city of Verona, a community on the outskirts of Venice, in Italy. In Zeffirelli’s film, the setting is similar, a country city, in Italy, where the main means of transportation is by horseback, the infrastructure is predominantly seen to be a marketplace, where all the discussions and fight-scenes take place, and the weapons are swords, just like they are in the 1595 play. On the other hand, Luhrmann has decided to change the setting and all the various other “old-fashioned” sections of the play. The film is now set in a modern day city, Miami, in Florida, the United States, as well as Mexico City. Instead of marketplaces, horses and swords, there are now skyscrapers, helicopters and guns. Baz Luhrmann has changed some details of the Shakespeare’s play to cater for a contemporary, modern day audience, whilst at the same time, still holding true to the original text.

Themes are a very important part of Romeo and Juliet. The play presents and explores many different issues and concerns, some which are still pertinent to audiences today, despite the fact that Romeo and Juliet was written more than 400 years ago. Baz Luhrmann skillfully incorporates these themes into his film.

The play presents and explores many facets of the experience of love. When the play opens, Romeo is in love with a character named Rosaline. This love, however, is really an infatuation. Romeo is in love with an ideal, rather than a real girl. Because of this, although we hear a lot about Rosaline from Romeo, we never hear her speak in her own right. It is in the name of this silent character that Romeo affects extravagant behaviour and passion. He weeps and sighs in his ‘private chamber where he pens himself, shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out and makes himself an artificial night’. At the Capulet’s ball, Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, and he forgets about his infatuation with Rosaline and genuinely falls in love. He speaks to Juliet – ‘my lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand, to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss’ – and in turn, Juliet flirts back at him – ‘good pilgrim, you do your hand too much’. Their love for each other is innocent and eager, and their joy and satisfaction for each other is complete.
Luhrmann’s interpretation of Romeo and Juliet similarly displays Rosaline as a two dimensional character. She is not seen at all in the film, and is just referred to by Romeo, when he is sulking about being ‘out of her favour where he is in love’, as well as by Benvolio and Mercutio, when they tease Romeo. This is unlike the Zeffirelli interpretation, where Rosaline is seen by Romeo during the Capulet’s ball scene (Rosaline is Juliet’s cousin).

Count Paris, who wishes to marry Juliet, professes a love for her. In contrast to that experience by Romeo, Paris’s love is shown to be shallow, a liking rather than a passion. Paris admits to Friar Laurence that he has ‘little talked of love’. He does not know Juliet’s mind, but he is willing to urge an arranged marriage from which mutual love is absent. Paris and Capulet are satisfied with the financial and social gains that the marriage would bring, and although it does not say it in the play, they hope that in time, ‘liking’ will grow into ‘love’.
Paris, in the Luhrmann film, is shown to be all the things any bachelor would want to be – rich, young, tall and handsome. However, at the Capulet ball, he is mocked by the fact that he is dressed up as an astronaut, which symbolises how lost in space he really is. The fact that he does not know Juliet and what goes on in her mind is made blatantly obvious because he is oblivious to how Juliet continues to look at Romeo, whilst dancing with him. He also willingly admits during the scene where he talks to Friar Laurence, that he ‘does not know Juliet well’.

The play and film also present the kinds of love shown by parents to their children. Montague and his wife reveal a loving concern for Romeo’s love-sickness for Rosaline, especially after the fight, where Lady Montague says: ‘O where is Romeo? Saw you him today? Right glad I am he was not at this fray,” and when Romeo and banished, his mother dies of grief (not shown in the film, although, she is seen wailing in agony when the Prince announces Romeo’s banishment). Luhrmann chooses to display the Montagues’ love for Romeo by showing them both teary eyed in the limousine, after the fight, worried about Romeo’s wellbeing. Also, when they do see Romeo at the Sycamore Grove, there is a close-up shot of their faces, and in particular, their eyes, which are staring directly at Romeo. Capulet professes a great love for his only child, but when Juliet protests against his plans for marrying her to Paris, he and his wife turn on her with a brutal insensitivity. Lady Capulet says: ‘I would the fool were married to her grave.’ Capulet threatens Juliet with ‘hang, beg, starve, die in the streets’. Luhrmann shows in his film, how in the case of Capulet and his wife, love is conditional upon obedience to their every wish. When Juliet is discovered in her death-like trance, Capulet trance, Capulet and his wife grieve for their ‘one poor and loving child’, which, in view of their former harshness to her, seems hysterical and over-exaggerated.

Juliet’s nurse shows love for the young girl she had helped rear from babyhood. The nurse desires Juliet’s happiness; she helps her in her secret marriage to Romeo. She defends Juliet against Capulet’s fury when she refuses to marry Paris. Luhrmann displays Juliet’s love for the nurse and vice versa as a one way relationship. The nurse is seen as the inferior, the weaker, frail and elderly one, as opposed to Juliet’s vibrant and joyful personality. The nurse is also shown many times throughout the film through high angle shots, making her seem vulnerable and defenseless.

For Friar Laurence, love is expressed in his care for his ‘pupil’, Romeo. He gives Romeo advice on his ‘love’ for Rosaline, and then on his love for Juliet. He is concerned for the welfare of his lovers, and in a wider perspective, for the welfare of the feuding families and Verona, because he hopes that the marriage of Romeo and Juliet will help end the strife:
‘For this alliance may so happy prove
To turn your household’s true rancour to pure love’.

Friar Laurence is seen as the paternal figure in Luhrmann’s film, because he appears more often then Montague does. Romeo seems to feel more comfortable spending time with Friar Laurence, and especially after his banishment, he continually seeks advice and wisdom for the Friar, in the hope of maintaining his marriage with Juliet. A connection is made between Friar Laurence and Romeo, when he gives Romeo a shirt, immediately after Romeo had killed Tybalt. The shirt was the very same one that Friar Laurence was wearing earlier in the film, when Romeo first visited him, after meeting Juliet.

In contrast to the love given, experienced and expressed by Friar Laurence, Romeo and Juliet, there is that of Mercutio. For Mercutio, love for a woman is not the fulfillment of the body and spirit, it is the expression of a physical need, and hence, there are many jokes made about sex by Mercutio.

The theme of love is pertinent to the modern day society, because it is timeless. The issue of love was around during Shakespeare’s time, and is still around today, particularly films about love appeal to the contemporary audience, and Luhrmann manages to use ideas from Shakespeare’s original text, and adapt them into his own award-winning film.

Whilst Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s great love ‘tragedies’, in which the tenderness and beauty of passion are expressed, it is also a play about hate and violence and their terrible effects.
Verona’s peace is torn apart by the hatred that the Montagues and Capulets feel for each other. The origin of this hate is never given by Shakespeare; nor is it displayed by Luhrmann in his play. Despite this, there is a lot of violence. The unreasonable nature of the feud, however, is illustrated when Capulet accepts his enemy’s son, Romeo, at his party, because Romeo is well thought of, and respected in Verona.

Hate is portrayed in many ways throughout Romeo and Juliet. For instance, the continual appearance of Tybalt, who can be seen as the real “villain” behind all of the events, stirs up fights and disputes in the streets of Verona. The intense dislike between the two families is displayed similarly by both Luhrmann and Zeffirelli, by how there are fights in the public, as well as streets being littered with fallen men. However, in Luhrmann’s film, the disorder and chaos is shown through the use of the amateur camera, where a policemen from the helicopter seems to be filming the events on the streets below, and hence, the shot is not steady, and continuously shaking.

The final predominant theme in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is fate. The concept of fate and fortune is introduced in his Prologue, with a reference to the ‘pair of star-crossed lovers’. In both the play, and Luhrmann’s film, there is the question of whether Romeo and Juliet are destined by the stars or fate to fall in love and die and the victims of a fate over which they had little control, or whether they were the deciders of their own doom. However, despite this, there is a series of unfortunate events. Two children of feuding families fall in love and have to marry secretly. Immediately after their marriage, Tybalt picks a fight with Romeo, who refuses to be provoked. Mercutio responds to Tybalt’s insults and is killed. Romeo, feeling that he is to blame, kills Tybalt. The Prince sentences him to banishment. Capulet then decides to marry Juliet to Paris in haste. This drives Juliet to accept Friar Laurence’s plan, and she drinks his powerful sleeping drug. Friar Laurence’s letter telling Romeo of the plan does not reach him in time. Romeo believes Juliet to be dead, and returns to Verona where he kills himself in Juliet’s tomb. Juliet awakens mere seconds later, and finding him dead beside her, kills herself too.
That being said, there is always the possibility that these unlucky events could have been met with reason, and therefore need not have had so bloody and fatal an end. If only Mercutio had listened to the good sense and reason of Benvolio and not given Tybalt the opportunity for a fight. If only Romeo had not given way to passionate rage and grief and avenged Mercutio by killing Tybalt. Luhrmann describes Romeo is capable as ‘the unreasonable fury of a beast’. Romeo is a person of violent and hasty actions, and if only he had not acted with such haste on receiving the false news of Juliet’s death.
Associated with passion and lack of reason is haste, and as Friar Laurence said in Act II, Scene 3:
“Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.”
Despite the fact that Shakespeare leaves the audience and readers to decide what extent fate, and to what extent human error, contributed to the final tragedy, Luhrmann does not. He cuts out a significant portion of the final scene, where the two feuding families reconcile after the loss of their children. By cutting this out, Luhrmann leaves the audience to believe that the two families will continue to fight, and hence, puts the blame of the deaths of the ‘two star-crossed lovers’ on the feuding families. Also, the use of sober, slow and melancholy music creates suspense and tension, which foreshadows a foreboding future, many times throughout the film.

Another reason why Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet appeals to a contemporary audience is because many of the issues are pertinent, even today. Gangs feuding and nations warring are part of our world, and viewers and audiences can relate to these experiences. Issues such as the Gang-wars in Melbourne, to Mafia-related incidents in Europe relate to Romeo and Juliet. It should also be noted that in Luhrmann’s interpretation, the Montague family seem to be the very stereotypical mafia family. Montague is always seen in the back seat of his limousine, and as shown in Act I, Scene 1, he has a ‘longsword’ gun in his car, which he wanted to use in the fight: ‘Give me my longsword, ho!’ Immediately after the prologue, just before the petrol fighting scene, there is a logo on a building site that says “Montague Constructions”. This is another stereotype of the Mafia, as they are heavily based in the American construction industry.

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet manages to engage a contemporary audience because of the use of various cinematic and dramatic techniques. These techniques help to shape meaning and influence audience responses by making them pertinent and applicable to a modern-day audience. Luhrmann should be credited on making a film with connotations of being a secondary school literature text, which was regarded as one of the best thrillers and one of the best ‘entertainment’ movies of 1996. Luhrmann incorporates Shakespeare’s timeless themes into his film, however, adapts and modifies them to appeal to an audience in today’s society.
 

micuzzo

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Essay Question : How has Baz Lurhmann used the medium of film to adapt Romeo and Juliet to engage a modern audience in Shakespeare's ideas?



Can some one help me understand and break it down. I can't seem to start it. It seems too hard. :confused: :angry:

Isnt this a 'transformations' question
 

mr. shrugies

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that's not really a thesis as such, because it's not really making a POINT. it's kinda a general introduction into what you're going to be saying. but it could definitely work as the opening to your essay - just maybe fix up some of the wording a little.

do you mind if i ask what grade you're in? just for the obvious reason that the type of essay required at each year level is different.

I'm in 9th grade, top class. Teacher is a...hmmm..... - She expects much of us XD






And thanks for posting that, Aerath. :)
 

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