Comparison of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with Baz Luhrmann's Adaptation

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English Coursework

In the play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare a lot of literal techniques are used to portray the theme of rivalry in act one scene one. This part of the play is adapted very well by Baz Luhrmann in his 1996 film adaptation.

Shakespeare shows a clear sign of rivalry right from the start to make us feel that it is a very important theme which affects the story a lot. We can see from near the start of the script the Capulet’s hate for the Montague’s from “A dog of the house of Montague’s moves me” this line from Sampson shows his hatred for the Montague family, because this line shows that even seeing a dog from the Montagues will make him angry. Shakespeare uses this to show the amount of hate the families have for each other, because if Sampson gets angry by some dogs which live with the Montague’s, then it shows how much more angry he would be if he saw a real Montague. Baz Luhrmann adapts this scene well using different film techniques to adapt this. Act 1 scene 1 starts off with this quote; this shows that Luhrmann has also shown rivalry from the start, because the first lines are showing his anger for the Montagues. Luhrmann also makes Sampson shout it out from a car, showing that the rivalry is so extreme that the house members are shouting to the public about their anger for the opposing house. Luhrmann uses a low camera angle to show Sampson, this is used to make the audience think that he is superior over us and he is very strong, brave and intimidating. Luhrmann creates a larger effect on the audience compared to Shakespeare, by making the theme of rivalry more noticeable and look more important to the storyline. This is done by the lines being shouted out loudly and right at the start.

Shakespeare shows the rivalry of the two houses very well with Gregory and Sampson, and Abraham and Balthassar to show hatred between the two houses. As soon as Abraham and Balthassar enter, Gregory says “Draw thy tool, here comes of the house of...
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