Romeo and Juliet Analytical Essay

Analytical Response: Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a timeless tale that has resonated with audiences throughout the ages as a masterful tragedy. Although this is the case, in order to connect with the audience’s changing ideals as society has developed, directors have had to alter characterisation, theme and plot to effectively create and convey a tragedy which is a product of the text’s time and place of production. In altering characterisation, plot, theme, and language devices, both Shakespeare and Luhrmann allow the audience of their time t connect and understand the play more effectively.

Theme works in both texts as a device used to reinforce both character and plot. Shakespeare uses a significant notion of faith and destiny to drive character motivations whilst Luhrmann utilises the same concept, albeit focused more heavily on the idea of destiny through use of religion, in order to align with contemporary audience’s ideals. Throughout Luhrmann’s film adaptation, religious icons and references, i.e. crosses, statues, are woven into the scenes while non-diagetic sounds such as dramatic orchestral, opera-style chords underscore the religious theme and intensity. Opposite this, Shakespeare incorporates the idea of faith in a more destined format through use of reference to the text.   In the chorus, “A pair of star-crossed lovers”, makes reference to the power of destiny that the stars supposedly wielded; star crossed conveys to the audience that the lovers will cross or go against their pre-determined fate. Later in the play, in act 5, scene 1, line 24, Romeo cries in protest, “I defy you stars”, reinforcing the chorus and again, the theme of destiny; Romeo empowers himself, contrasting with the time of production and thus creating a startling reaction with the audience. The themes in both texts are catalysts in the plot of the play, as they push and emphasise driving plot points and ideals.
Keeping with the Greek layout of a tragic plot,...