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Influence of the Elizabethan Era on Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet"

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Influence of the Elizabethan Era on Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet"

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The context of both Shakespeare in the Elizabethan Era and Luhrmann in the late 20th century impacts Shakespeare’s play, and Luhrmann’s film: Romeo and Juliet. In Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ the social, religious and political aspects of the Elizabethan Era clearly were an influence on the play. For example, during the time at which the play “Romeo and Juliet” was written, religion was involved with politics and there was a small percentage of the wealthy and a large percentage of those who were poor. Verona was a very Catholic place; people were very violent and were openly armed. In the play, “Romeo and Juliet,” the Capulets and the Montagues were amongst the small population of wealthy families and at the time were portrayed as the most important families of Verona. Such a hierarchy was very common in Elizabethan times, with the wealthiest families being the most important and having influence both politically and socially. In Baz Luhrmann’s,” Romeo and Juliet,” the film was set in modern-day Mexico, where the Elizabethan version of Verona was interpreted into the context if the modern world. For instance, in the film, people walk around openly with guns, instead of the traditional swords from Shakespeare’s time. The Capulets and the Montagues, in the film, were set up as the two most important families in Verona, but the modern context influences there wealth to come from financial, and business prowess. In the film “Romeo and Juliet,” Luhrmann chooses to stick to the Shakespearean text and to keep as many customs from the Elizabethan Era as he can, and convert them to the context of a modern world, such as the important code of etiquette and honour for each family. The hate between the two families is shown through the younger generations of the family, the elders are content with being in the background, working the cogs, which in the Luhrmann’s film are the families’ businesses. The context of the Elizabethan Era and the late 20th century both are...