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Romeo and Juliet

By oOsoraOo Sep 03, 2014 887 Words
‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare is a romance tragedy play that displays the theme love. However, hate and fate are other themes that are also revealed throughout the play through various Shakespearean and film techniques. Love is one of the main ideas in the play. The play revolves around the romantic and mutual love between the protagonists; Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. This love is displayed in Act 1, Scene 4 where Romeo meets Juliet at the Capulet feast. A sonnet is used to show that what they’re talking about is associated with love. Shakespeare’s use of this technique highlights that the love between them is real and that they are compatible with each other because they are completely in sync as they speak. A sonnet is also used in the prologue at the beginning to indicate that the play is about love. The use of sonnets has certainly proved that one of the key themes in Romeo and Juliet is love. Infatuation is one of the many types of love explored in the play. To show Romeo’s unrequited love for Rosaline, Shakespeare uses oxymorons like ‘…O brawling love, O loving hate’ and ‘Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health’. By using two contradictory words beside each other, it gives a sense of confusion. Thus showing that Romeo is experiencing mixed feelings and his feelings for Rosaline is confusing and complicated. Romeo’s love towards Rosaline confirms that romantic love is not the only type of love in the play. Another key theme in Romeo and Juliet is hate. In the first scene, Sampson, a servant of the Capulet, starts a brawl with the servants of the Montague by biting his thumb. The gesture of biting the thumb at someone else at the time was considered an insult. By using the idea of servants from the Capulet and Montague insulting and fighting with each other, the audience can tell just how deeply the hatred runs through each household, since not only the head of the family hate each other, but also the servants working for them. In that same scene in Zaferelli’s version of Romeo and Juliet, the Capulets are seen wearing red and yellow while the Montagues are seen wearing much darker colours. By using the contrasting colours, each family group are easily distinguished. Hence, due to the lack of respect the two household have for each other and the obvious difference in the colour of their clothing, the audience can tell how deep the two household hate each other. Hate is also seen through the scene where Tybalt fights Mercutio. The setting and lighting in this scene immediately darkens to indicate the change in atmosphere. The weather also worsens and the soundtrack becomes more intense when Romeo kills Tybalt to focus on the seriousness of his actions. The hate that Romeo holds towards Tybalt when he kills Mercutio is strong enough for him to kill Juliet’s cousin out of anger, without realising how much this action can affect his chances with Juliet. Weather and music mimicking the character’s emotions and actions throughout the play help emphasise the contrast between the themes love and hate. The theme fate and free will is also explored in the play Romeo and Juliet. Before the play begins, Shakespeare uses a prologue to set the setting of where the play is taken place. The prologue not only tells the audience of the setting but also tells us the destiny of the two lovers before the actual story begun. Romeo and Juliet were first introduced as ‘a pair of star crossed lovers’. This phrase meant that the couple were destined to be together but their love was doomed. By revealing the ending of the play, it gives the effect that fate had already decided for them to be born from enemy households, for them to fall in love and for them to both take their life in the end. Shakespeare used ‘star crossed’ because stars symbolised fate. This is also shown when Romeo said “Then I defy you stars” when he finds out that Juliet had died, showing that Romeo is opposed to the destiny that has been decided for him and Juliet. Fate is seen throughout the films through camera angles. At the party, in Luhrmann’s version, when Romeo finds out that Juliet is a Capulet the camera moves further away from Romeo. This causes the effect to seem as if Juliet is getting further away from him, displaying that they are being pulled away from each other by fate. Along with this, the sound of the surrounding is tuned down and instead, focuses on the dramatic sound effects. The change in Romeo’s facial expression also implies that he just found out that the person he fell in love with is supposed to be his sworn enemy. The use of camera angles and other techniques in this scene help display the theme fate. Romeo’s words: “O’ here’s much to do with hate but more to do with love”, does describe the play in which the general theme is love, however, other themes are also evident through multiple Shakespearean and film techniques. As a result, the themes hate and fate are also seen along with love during Romeo and Juliet.

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