An Analysis of a Film Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
An Analysis of a Film Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
1. Individual Reaction – Discuss the poetic text of the play and any problems you may have had during your reading. Answer: “Romeo and Juliet” has been translated for numerous times from the Old English language to contemporary one. These translations were made due to the difficulty in understanding the language Shakespeare used in writing his play. This is also the exact reason why I find some parts of the play hard to understand. Although the language is simple, it is primarily based in Old English. Some passages and expressions are no longer being used the period of the story is also a factor. The play was written during the Elizabethan Age. The exchange of dialogues among the characters represents the anarchical state of the English society during the said time.
2. The Use of Coincidence in Writing – Discuss the use of coincidence in the play, citing as many examples of coincidence you can find. Answer: The use of coincidence in the play serves as a way for the characters to meet and interact. The most salient coincidence is perhaps the accidental meeting of Romeo and Juliet in the party. They are members of two rival families and yet twist of fate let them fall in love with each other. Other example of coincidence, but in a more unlucky sense, is the accidental death of the two lovers because of miscommunication. They were not supposed to die but twist of fate seems to have interfered also in their love affair.
3. Themes in the Play- Discuss the themes of love and hate, youthful hastiness, seeming versus being, and adult meddling and interference. Answer: In the play, love and hate was portrayed as two absolute and extreme entities Perhaps they could be considered as two inseparable things. Hate was given life by the rivalry of the Capulet and Montague families. However, amidst hate, love springs. In addition to that, youthful hastiness is also one of the themes in the play. The tragic ending of Romeo and Juliet’s love affair is said to be a product of their being hasty to get be together and get married. Seeming versus being can also be portrayed using the theme of love. Love, for Romeo and Juliet, seems to be full of happiness well in fact, love is all about being willing to sacrifice. Finally, meddling and interference of parents is also salient in the play. In fact, it is not only Romeo’s and Juliet’s parents who meddled with their love affair. It is the members of the Capulet and Montague clan who opposed their relationship.
4. Film Director’s Choices- From your viewing of the film, discuss how the director invents action to suit the lines of dialogue. Discuss how the choice of cast, costuming and setting details enhances or detract from the text of the play. Answer: The cast, costuming, and setting details of the movie fit perfectly with the original text. Leonard Whiting (Romeo) and Olivia Hussey (Juliet) were perfecta actors for their roles. Costumes also play a vital part in the keeping truthful to the original text. The use of warm colors for the costumes of the Capulets and cool colors for the costumes of the Montagues is very admirable of the director. Settings are also realistic. In addition to that, the actions and dialogues of the characters are also realistic.
5. Comparison Between Play and Film – Discuss the overall presentation of the play in its film version. Using the last scene of the film, compare or contrast its presentation to the text of the play. Answer: As for me, the 1968 adaptation film has retained the important details of the text’s setting and plot. The cast could also be considered as perfect for the roles they portray. Most of all, the film remains truthful to the original themes and ideas Shakespeare conveyed in his play. The last scene of the movie also portrays the last scene in the play. The director seems to have valued the importance of fidelity while doing the film. Because of this, the 1968 film adaptation is said to be one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare’s most prominent masterpiece.
Characterization in Soliloquy
Choose one soliloquy in the play and discuss how it demonstrates a characteristic of the speaker. Be sure to include details as well as other theatrical elements that connect with your observations.
One of the most famous soliloquies in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is that of Juliet’s. The scene is also regarded by some as the most famous scene of the play. The setting is in Juliet’s balcony where she questions fate regarding Romeo’ being a Montague. On this particular scene, Romeo was just hiding behind and hears Juliet’s agony.
In this particular soliloquy, Juliet was complaining why Romeo has to be a Montague—the rival family of the Capulet. The initial lines clearly state this:
“ Romeo O Romeo/Wherefore art thou Romeo?/
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;/
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love/
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet”.
Here she questions why his love has to have an identity that seems impossible for the Capulet clan to accept. At the same time, she also complains about her own identity—why does she have to be a Capulet. In the play, this emotion of Juliet towards fate is intensified using some particular details in the setting of the scene. For example, balcony as a setting is already an indication that the scene is a soliloquy. Balconies are known to be a good place where people could think of their thoughts alone. This is a quiet place where one could reflect and think clearly. Balconies are also a good place for people to spend their privacy. In addition to that, the time when the scene took place also helped in the clarification of Juliet’s mood in her soliloquy. The scene took place during nighttime—a time when people are commonly in solitude, closed in their rooms. The setting—time and place—where the scene took place is perfect to reflect one’s thoughts.
Juliet, in this particular passage, sees fate as a traitor. Moreover, she regards life as unfair. The problem she and Romeo face makes her think that it is better for her to abandon her family and to dent her family obligations: “Deny thy father and refuse thy name;” This characteristic of Juliet is very much admirable. She is very strong to give up her family just to fight for her love. She could also be considered as strong-willed and determined to fight for what she wants. She did not easily let her family to dictate her of what she should do. Instead, she used her own free will to decide for herself.
However, even if Juliet could be seen this way, the traits mentioned above could also be regarded implications of her being still young. Her determination to fight for her love could be regarded as a sign of stubbornness. She sees fate as a traitor and life as unfair because of the negative events she was experiencing that time. But before she met Romeo in the party, she seems happy and contented with how her life was going.
The passage “Deny thy father and refuse thy name” could also be seen as a sign of being impulsive. Juliet did not spend enough time to think about her decision stated in the aforementioned passage. She did not think carefully of the implications of such decision. Moreover, Juliet was not able to realize that abandoning her obligations with her family to be able to be with Romeo would not stop the feud between two families. Instead, it would only gather a much bigger misunderstanding between the Capulet and the Montague who seems to be both blinded by their own ideals and philosophy.
In addition to this, Juliet’s hatred or anger towards fate and life seems to be a sign of being a teenager. It seems that she only sees the black and white of the issues, thus, she came up with a decision with such kind of nature: if her relationship with Romeo is being prohibited by the fight between their families, then it is better to cut the tie that binds her to her clan. Juliet’s decision to abandon her family is not an act of free will but an act of having no choice. She sees that the problem is the conflict between the Capulets and the Montagues, and so her first impulse and solution to this problem is to abandon her family.
It seems that Juliet is not taking her situation from the perspective of a grown-up. She did not acknowledge the presence of other outside factors that might affect her decision. For example, she was too hasty that she forgot to consider the implications of her decision to her family and to Romeo’s family. Probably, Juliet is not aware of this. If she is not aware of this, it only shows that she is not yet capable of handling serious situations. In addition to this, Juliet is not also capable of balancing her logos and pathos.
Overall, the famous soliloquy of Juliet in her balcony is an indication of how disturbed her feelings the time the scene took place. She feels various emotions inside her—anger, hatred, love, and passion. She was also confused on how to make up her mind regarding her relationship with Romeo. However, from her soliloquy, it was found out that she is very determined to fight for her love. She barely considers the implications of her decision. Nevertheless, this attitude of Juliet is seen both in a positive and negative manner.
Shakespeare, William. (1997). Romeo and Juliet. US: Cengage Learning
“Romeo and Juliet” directed by Franco Zefferelli, 1968