Shakespeare in Love and Romeo and Juliet

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Sociology, Social class Pages: 2 (791 words) Published: March 18, 2011
Discuss the appropriation of elements of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into the film Shakespeare in Love. When viewing John Madden’s Shakespeare in Love the values that are seen in the text, male dominance, social hierarchy and challenging conventions, are the same to those seen in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Although both texts were produced in different time periods the values remained the same because the film is set in the Elizabethan era. The most obvious value that seems to stand out in both texts is the value of male dominance. The value is seen straight away in the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet. In the opening scene of the play Sampson and Gregory is carrying out a friendly, joking “war on words” with each other. It is then when Sampson metaphorically states “…and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall…” This statement shows the gender roles between male and females in that era. Sampson clearly states that women are the “weaker vessels,” saying that women are weaker than men. There are sexual connotations in the word “thrust” which further enhances that females are seen as inferior to males. The film Shakespeare in Love is set in the Elizabethan era. Since this is a so, values like male dominance are evident in the film since it was evident during that era. During that time women could not act in plays only men. Men would also play the roles of women. In the film a women named Viola dressed up like a man so she could act. When people in the film found out that she was in fact a female a man named Tilney stated, “That woman is a woman!” The use of the exclamation mark illustrates male dominance since it was against the law for a woman to act in plays. Another value that is seen in both texts is social hierarchy. In Romeo and Juliet, through the stage directions in Act 2, scene 4, the value of social hierarchy is evident. Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio are talking when the nurse and servant appears. The stage...
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