Friar Lawrence is thought to be a small role in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but then we realise the concept of his large responsibility. The Friar is very optimistic and it is his good intentions that precipitate the tragedy. He is a very balanced character having good and bad qualities, or virtues and vices. Some of his virtues are his wisdom, his fatherly side towards Romeo, his optimism, and his persuasiveness. He is balanced out very well by Shakespeare with an equal number of vices; dishonesty, hasty decision making, cowardliness, foolishness and his wide array of emotions. Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann portray him in different ways compared to my interpretation of the text. I will be comparing the different presentations of the Friar in these two films and the text. Zeffirelli’s interpretation is set in Verona, Italy during the Middle Ages whereas Luhrmann has a very different approach. Luhrmann sets his scene in modern day Verona beach, California. The thoughts and feelings Friar Lawrence portrays very much affects the events in the play and tell you of his personality.
In our first meeting of the Friar, Act 2 Scene 3, he is on stage by himself studying flowers and telling us about them. This gives us the impression that he is a wise and educated man. In his soliloquy he speaks using rhyming verse compared to the blank verse of the rest of the play. Shakespeare has written the Friar’s monologue using many different devices, such as antithesis, similes, metaphors, personification, and classical allusion. ‘Titan’s fiery wheels:’ is classical allusion because he is making reference to myths and stories from the Greek and Roman period; ‘…is her tomb; …that is her womb;’ is antithesis because this means that the plant that is born is born in its’ death place and that it dies in its’ birth place. Zeffirelli really tries to put across the point that he is educated and wise by complementing... [continues]
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