Shakespeare And The New Movies

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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Omiting Lines Not Content Baz Luhrmann chose an unusual and creative way to portray William Shakespeare's original play, Romeo and Juliet. Luhrmann chose to replace the prologue with a television newscast. The setting in Luhrmann's adaptation is a modern city and the Montague's and Capulet's now own rival businesses. Setting is not however, the only major difference between Luhrmann's movie and Shakespeare's play. Luhrmann chose to change major scenes as well. One of these scenes is Act V, scene iii, the final scene of the play.

Shakespeare's final scene contains much dialogue and action which is unlike Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet which shows only the death of the title characters and the closing speech by the officer. In Shakespeare's play, Romeo comes to Juliet's tomb and Paris is there to hold him back. After a battle of words the swords, Romeo kills Paris and takes him in the tomb.

He then goes to Juliet, drinks the poison and falls dead. Friar Lawrence comes in when Juliet awakes, she sends him away so she can kill herself. Luhrmann, however, left Paris out of this scene entirely. Instead, Romeo goes in the chapel, sits beside Juliet, caresses her and finally drinks his poison. While he is sitting there, Juliet awakes but does not realize what Romeo is doing, and when she does, she does not have the strength to move and stop him. When she grabs his hand, she's too late. Romeo looks at her in surprise and falls.

It is obvious that Luhrmann makes several changes from play to movie. These changes do not however affect the story of Romeo and Juliet. With the help of twentieth century cinematics Luhrmann portrays Shakespeare's original in a unique and creative way. Rather than making a 4-hour film with the complete text,