This essay describes how the story Romeo and Juliet is altered when transferred from stage to the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.

Essay by tachycardic4uUniversity, Master'sA+, December 2002

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Romeo and Juliet - From Stage to Film

Romeo and Juliet is, arguably, one of the most popular plays of all time. Since the first performance in the 16th century, audiences have been captivated by the story of two amorous adolescents fighting against the odds to consummate their dream of lifelong love as dissension between their families and inhospitable circumstances threaten to rend their hopes to pieces and divest them of their lives. It is interesting that the play was first produced in The Globe Theatre, for the themes such as violence, love, sex, death, adolescent angst, (just to name a few) are natural curiosities, and for some even obsessions, for the world writ large, which is, ostensibly, the reason the play has enjoyed success among such a heterogeneous group of people for over four-hundred years. However, the reason that the play has been eulogized, lionized, and canonized is not merely the result of the foregoing themes, its ability to appeal to myriad generations, but for its aestheticism and complexity.

It has been used as a didactic tool to co-opt students into the world of academic language while improving reading skills and critical thinking abilities. Unfortunately, for many modern readers, (or people watching a traditional theatrical performance) the language is archaic and recondite, precluding them from enjoying the play in all of its manifestations, relying instead on bits and pieces that they can understand to piece together meaning, their ignorance of linguistic and syntactical constructions vitiating their enjoyment of the play. Despite its pervasive presence in the high-schools, many teenagers feel isolated when reading it or seeing a traditional theatrical performance, and when acting themselves, young Romeo's and Juliet's need to have many lines explained to them in detail, the director acting as an exegete, just so that the performance...