Romeo and Juliet Themes

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 94
  • Published: November 6, 2012
Read full document
Text Preview
Practice Essay Question
Due: Monday the 5th of November

What are the most important themes in Romeo and Juliet? Compare and contrast how these themes are represented in Shakespeare’s play and Lurhrman’s film adaptation. In your answer:
* Discuss 2 key themes
* Consider which key characters embody these themes
* Make detailed reference to at least 2 key scenes per theme * Highlight similarities AND differences between the film and the play * Discuss language, film and dramatic techniques

Act 1, scene 1 – THEME: LOVE (compare Shakespeare and Luhrmann) Act 2, Scene 2 – THEME: LOVE (compare Shakespeare and Luhrmann) Act 1, Scene 1 – THEME: HATE (compare Shakespeare and Luhrmann) Act 3, Scene 1 – THEME: HATE (compare Shakespeare and Luhrmann)


The prologue of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet immediately identifies the story of the title characters as “star cross’d lovers”, which foreshadows to the audience an insight into the key themes of the story, being love and fate. Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation (1996) makes the Elizabethan text accessible for a modern audience by focusing on the same key themes. Shakespeare’s use of dramatic techniques and luhrmann’s use of film devices represent the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet in an effective way.

The two contradicting key themes that are universal and significant to both the original play Romeo and Juliet composed by William Shakespeare and the modern execution in style of a movie directed by Baz Luhrmann are the themes of love and hate. These two themes can be drawn into relation with the characters of Romeo and Tybalt who effectively represent these themes through various language, film and dramatic techniques implemented by both composers.

The character of Romeo, who is infatuated by love throughout the entirety of the play, experiencing the turbulence of love, undoubtedly dominates this theme that is so central to both Shakespeare’s play and Luhrmann’s movie. The first concept of love that is introduced by Shakespeare in Act 1, Scene 1 is that of Romeo’s unrequited love and despondence for Rosaline. As Romeo isolates himself in despair he questions love as an unexplainable and contradicting force, “Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate?” Through Shakespeare’s use of Oxymoron’s and a rhetorical question, he depicts Romeo’s confused melancholy due to his rejected love. Whilst this is ultimately a negative perception of love, it’s significant as it allows Shakespeare to present Romeo’s melodramatic character. Contrastingly, Luhrmann through his use of dramatic film techniques is capable of portraying Romeo’s state of depression due to love through various visuals within the scene. In Luhrmann’s movie, Romeo is a very emotive character driven by love, which is depicted through lighting. In this particular scene, lighting along with slow camera movement is used as a method of portraying Romeo’s isolation and desolation through a visual of Romeo with his shadowy figure and back towards the sun blocking its rays, implementing this idea of Romeo’s own “artificial night” as described by his father. Whilst both Shakespeare and Luhrmann illustrate an undesirable portrayal of love in this particular scene, through the use of symbols, light imagery and hyperbolic language, both composers show a positive perception of the love between Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo is regarded as character with an abrupt attitude towards love. This is highlighted in Act 2, Scene 2 as both composers maintain the theme of love by portraying Romeo’s sudden infatuation with his new love, Juliet. This relationship between the children of the feuding families becomes integral to the play with a key scene being the balcony scene where Shakespeare incorporates celestial imagery to portray Romeo’s hyperbolic approach towards his love for Juliet. Shakespeare chooses to portray Romeo as an...
tracking img