Essay, Research Paper: Romeo And Juliet With Zeffirelli

Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

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William Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet interpreted by Zeffirelli are two
versions of a classic tale of two young lovers. In reading Shakespeare’s Romeo
and Juliet and viewing Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet one becomes aware of many
differences between them. Although the basic storyline remains the same, the
differences are obvious. These differences can be found in the setting,
characters and their speeches, and the culmination of the story. These
differences between the versions produce two entirely different interpretations
of the story. Zeffirelli changed the story by changing important scene by use of
omitting characters or switching the order of the events. For example in Act V,
when the Prince gave his final speech, Friar Laurence was supposed to be present
to give his own confession, but was left out by Zeffirelli’s version. This
left the explanation of why the lover’s were truly dead for the watchers to
question. Shakespeare had Montague raise a statue in Juliet’s honor,
signifying the end of their feud. Zeffirelli, on the other hand, chose only to
show the two lords together making for a weaker end. The omission of characters
from important scene was not the only change noted between the two. Zeffirelli
also took poetic license in the creation of Romeo and Juliet. He gave his lines
to characters when in Shakespeare they were spoken by another. This was shown
during the party scene, Act I, scene V when Lord Capulet was to rebuke Tybalt
and call him“.......saucy boy.........” The line was instead given to Lady
Capulet. This exchange of lines between the characters does not always help in
the understanding of the story. The use of adding lines to characters created
different personalities and gave the characters greater insight than in
Shakespeare’s version. It added in helping understand the character’s
motives more. Zeffirelli also had some positive differences than that of
Shakespeare. Since the setting was in the same time period as Shakespeare’s
rendition the reader could visualize the environment and dress of the era. This
made the characters and story more life-like than trying to picture it from a
written page. Zeffirelli also “fleshed-out” the characters, giving them more
depth and emotion than in Romeo and Juliet. This is shown when the nurse goes to
Juliet and finds her “dead.” She runs out of Juliet’s chamber screaming
and flailing her arms in a frenzy. The audience was able to interact with the
characters and their emotions by seeing Romeo and Juliet visually, also making
the language more understandable. An example of this is when Romeo kills himself
and Juliet sees him, hears guards, and you are able to see Juliet frantic. As a
result of this, the scene is made more complete, causing the audience to
experience greater tension than reading the play. Even though Zeffirelli gave
more definition to some characters, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was more
enjoyable. Although he did not give as much information as to what was
happening, he allowed the reader more freedom to interpret the situations on
their own. Without the reader having readShakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet most
of the symbolism in Zeffirelli’s version would not have been understood. The
two different authors used a variety of techniques to change the story or to
have the audience understand the siuations. Though they may seem different at
times, the storyline never changes, it always remains about two young lovers who
tragically die as a result of snap-decisions.
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