Romeo and Juliet, Lovers for All Times For: English 442 Purdue University 1998 Christan L Matrix Ever since the publications of the good quarto, published in 1599, Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, has been one of the classics of Western literature (Evans 1093).
In being this, it has been produced many different times, in many different ways. I will be discussing how the production of this great play has changed over time. First, though, I will supply a little background for the play.
The stories of two star-crossed lovers and forbidden passion are not new to literature. There were many works before Romeo and Juliet from which Shakespeare borrowed. Some of these include Mosuccio of Salerno in his 1476 work, Il Novell in o, Luigi da Proto with his Istoria… di due nobilis Amant i, in about 1530, and Arthur Brooke’s three thousand line poem titled The Tragical History of Rome us and Juliet, published in 1562 (Evans 1055).
All of these had the same themes as Romeo and Juliet. This borrowing of ideas and loose use of the text continued in the manner in which the play has been produced. In 1745 and 1750 David Garrick direct several productions of Romeo and Juliet (Branam 170).
In these productions he made several changed to both the way the characters are presented and to the play itself. In a 1748 text, Garrick wrote a note To the Reader: The alterations in the following play are few and trifling, except in the last act; the design was to clear the Original, as much as possible from the Jingle and the Quibble, which were always thought the great objections to reviving it (qtd. In Branam 173).
A Midsummer Night's Tragedy A Midsummer Night's Tragedy Essay, Research Paper A Midsummer Night's Tragedy Certain parallels can be drawn between William Shakespeare's plays, "A Midsummer Night's Dream', and "Romeo and Juliet'. These parallels concern themes and prototypical Shakespearian character types. Both plays have a distinct pair of lovers', Hermia and Lysander, and Romeo and Juliet, ...
Garrick uses several means to remove the Jingle and Quibble from the play (Branam 173).
Where he thought the rhyme and wordplay to be excessive he would compact it. Fo example the long drawn out exchange between Samson and Gregory in the first scene is compressed to four lines: Sam. Gregory, I strike quickly, being mov’d.
Grey. But thou are not quickly mov’d to strike. Sam. A dog of the house of Montague moves. Greg.
Draw thy tool then, for here come of that house. (qtd. In Branam 173) Garrick also took liberty with Romeo’s lyrical nature. He shortened many of Romeo’s lines in order to dull it somewhat. For example, Garrick shortens: Why such is love’s transgression. Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast; Which thou wilt propagate, to have it press With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
From act one, scene one, to: Which thou wilt propagate with more of thine; This love, that thou hast shewn in my concern, Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. in his 1748 text (Branam 173-174).
In reading the play the rhyme is missed, but in watching a performance the mood is more set by the interaction of the two lovers, then the actual words. Another change that Garrick made, albeit reluctantly and under pressure, was the complete removal of Rosaline from the play. In 1784 he explains: Many people have imagin’d that the sudden change of Romeo’s Love from Rosaline to Juliet was a blemish in his Character, but alteration of that kind was thought too bold to be attempted; Shakespeare [sic. ] has dwelt particularly upon it, and so great a judge of human nature, knew that to be young and inconstant was extremely natural (qtd.
In Branam 177).
Garrick’s largest, and most prominent, change was in modifying the tomb scene. Here Garrick borrows from Thomas Otway is History and Fall of Caius Marius, published in 1679 and based on Romeo and Juliet (Branam 174).
In Shakespeare’s original work the act of the poison on Romeo is almost instantaneous, but in Garrick’s new rendition the poison acts slowly. This gives new light to both Romeo and Juliet’s characters. Garrick designed the scene to be more tragic then the original play.
Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, is the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers that results in great tragedy. One may ask, “Why would Shakespeare choose such a tragic ending for his heroes? ” Hopefully this essay will answer that very question for you. Over the years, Romeo and Juliet has remained one of the most popular and most studied literary works of all time. With this ...
In this rendition, Romeo sees Juliet and she speaks to him: I now remember well Each circumstance – Oh my lord, my Romeo! Had ” st thou not come, sure I slept for ever: But there’s a sovereign charm in thy embraces That can revive the dead – Oh honest Friar! – Romeo is filled with joy seeing his love alive, but suddenly realizes the horror of the situation and is overcome by it. Juliet continues: Dost thou avoid me, Romeo let me touch Thy hand. And taste the cordial of thy lips – You fright me – speak – (qtd. In Branam 174-175) John Hill in The Actor (1755) describes Stranger Barry’s portrayal of the situation: Thus we see in the character of Romeo a scene of distress, to which no other can be equal: his wife, on whose suppos’d death he had swallowed poison, revived, and himself dying of the effect of that poison; snd we see, as Mr.
Barry plays it, his sensi b i lity getting the better of his articulation; his grief takes effect upon the organs of his voice; and the very tone of it is altered: it is broken, hoarse, and indistinct. We give the applause to this consummate piece of playing that it deserves: we natu re triumphing over what we would direct: and we give it a praise which are without this strong appearance of nature never could deserve (qtd. in Branam 175).
Many modern productions of Romeo and Juliet also have changed some parts of the play. For example the 1968 production directed by Franco Zefirelli cut several lines out and changed the ending such that the two clans did not find the lovers’ bodies in the tomb, but carried them into the town, with no indication that they had formed a peace between them.
Zefirelli, in an interview conducted by John Tibbetts, explains his opinion of Shakespeare. You know, I think culture – especially opera and Shakespeare – must be available to as many people as possible. It irritates me that some people want art to be as “difficult” as possible, an elitist kind of thing. I want to give these things back to the people (138-139).
How Shakespeare make the audience feel sorry for Juliet in Act 3, Scene 5 The conversation between Romeo and Juliet at the beginning of the act is also important; the discussion about the true nature of the bird outside the window resembles a couple. However, there is a note of sadness, just as they couldn’t overturn the social prejudice that keeps them apart, they can’t turn dawn into ...
Others do note share Zefirelli’s opinion of freely changing the plays. Michael Flachmann in his review of Romeo and Juliet at La Jolla, in 1983 states, Romeo and Juliet is a particularly frequent victim of this preoccupation with finding a “concept” or gimmick to render the tragedy intelligible to its (supposedly) benighted viewers (Flachmann 106).
This production was altered from the original only in costume. In the beginning, before the costume ball, all the characters are in contemporary clothing. After the ball and up to the death scene they are in Renaissance garb. After the death scene the characters reappear in modern dress, this time with stark white and black tones.
The total effect at the end was a frightening rush back into reality, a chilling reminder that the same feud had been reaping its disastrous consequences for centuries, Flachmann states (107).
Another production was altered, like La Jola, not with dialogue but with only costume and scenery. The costumes in this production were best described at “hip retro ’70 s” with each character wearing something appropriate for his role: Benvolio in a white poet’s shirt and crushed velvet pants, Juliet with a boldly colored spaghetti-strapped dress, and Romeo with a black leather trench coat (Johnson-Haddad 87).
The set also differed from what was originally intended.
The opening scene starts with Friar Laurence kneeling between two models of palaces. Here he recites the Two houses, alike in dignity… prologue, motioning to each of the palaces when. Then the quarrel scene between the two houses’s erv ants takes place behind a large white shroud where the audience can only see large silhouettes.
The scene closes with the Prince breaking up the brawl and the actors freezing in place as a large red ribbon falls in front of the curtain and finally the curtain itself falling to the floor. This leaves the actors seemingly hovering in an endless black stage. Johnson-Haddad calls the scene distinctive and fowerfully soncieved, … it sets the mood for the innovative production to come (87).
1 Romeo and Juliet 2 William Shakespeare between 1591 and 15963 England 4 Romeo- Romeo is the most famous Montague there is. At first he loves Rosaline, but later falls in love with Juliet. Romeo is very fickle when it comes to love and falls quickly in and out of it. Juliet- Juliet is a Capulet and the love of Romeo. She is also the love interest of Paris but despises him very much. Juliet much ...
The newest cinematic adaption has also made many changes to the original. In the 1997 film Romeo and Juliet, directed my Baz Luhrmann, the characters are set in a darker modern southern Florida dominated by designer guns, customized cars, and incessant music (McCarthy 1).
Luhrmann uses race to differentiate between the two clans, though the effect is subtle. The Copulates are predominantly Latino, while the Montague’s are mainly white. Religious symbolism plays a large role in the film as well. Ty balt has a large tat oo of the Virgin Mary on his chest, and Juliet’s room is inundated with angels and other icons. Friar Laurence’s chapel is a large cathedral with a huge statue of Jesus separating the sky rises owned by each of the feuding houses. While Luhrmann went fast and loose with the setting and costume, he stuck to the text.
Most of the second filial text is included in the film, with minor changes. Todd McCarthy says that most of the cast adequately portrays the original text’s meaning with one superb exception, Claire Danes as Juliet. Danes has somehow found a way to both enunciate the Shakespearean lingo [sic. ] and make its meaning lucid and accessible in a way that eludes most of the others, McCarty states (1).
The exotic setting is the main change in the work. It is set in Verona Beach, Florida, which is loosely based on a darker Miami. The location or Romeo’s banishment is a trailer park in what looks like the Arizona badlands. Here the film almost loses credibility, when you consider the contemporary reaction to banishment, but the play still maintains its focus.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been performed in many different ways with many different media, and through this it is still considered an important part of Western literature. With all of the changes that many different producers have made, the story still remains one of passion, romance, and trade gy. In every lover we see at least part of Romeo or Juliet; and as long at that holds true the play will remain a classic. Branam, George C. The Genesis of David Garrick’s Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare Quarterly 32. 2 (1989): 170-179. Evans, G. Blakemore, ed.
Love has existed in many forms throughout time. There is no better example than in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In this tale, when love is most apparent, the most crucial events occur to develop this "tragedy." The evident forms of love are love for friends, "love" for enemies, and love between lovers. First, love for friends was, and is, a necessity for the characters. Romeo had been ...
The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston: Haughton Mifflin Company, 1974. Flachmann, Michael. Romeo and Juliet, At La Jolla, 1983.
Shakespeare Quarterly 35. 1 (1984): 105-107. Johnson-Haddad, Miranda. Shakespeare Performed, The Shakespeare Theatre, 1993-1994. Shakespeare Quarterly 37.
1 (1995): 82-90. McCarthy, Todd. REVIEW/FILM: Romeo and Juliet Update Over The Top. Yahoo News. web News (29 Oct. 1996, 2: 15 AM).
Tibbetts, John C. Breaking the Classical Barrier: Franco Zefirelli interviewed. Literature/Film Quarterly 22. 2 (1994): 136-140.