Romeo and Juliet - Comparison Essay on the 1968 Zeffirelli Movie and the Play

Published: 2022-03-01
Romeo and Juliet - Comparison Essay on the 1968 Zeffirelli Movie and the Play
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Movie Theatre Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1004 words
9 min read

There are a lot of similarities and difference between the movie version of Romeo and Juliet and the play. Spotting the difference is easy considering the time each movie was set in, and many scenes in the play were cut out from the film. There are also some scenes that have been added to the film that were not in the play. In this scope, we shall compare one scene from 1968 Zeffirelli to the play.

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Romeo and Juliet is a catastrophic play about two deeply in Love couples written by Shakespeare in 1595. The play supports the 16th-century belief that true love conquers all and there is love at first sight. In modern times audiences still want to believe in things such as love at first sight. The play is the most filmed and its universal themes remain uniquely and adaptable for any period.

Franco Zeffirelli bases his movie in the 16th century, unlike other movie directors. That gives a clear picture of how the play is set. He again used fresh new faces to portray the roles of the characters in the play and not superstars to give the movie a more current innocence value. Most of the scenes are set as a result of technological advancements resulting from the difference in time of the productions and cultural setting of the times. The play was acted during the 16th century, so it is obvious it was basic which includes decors and costumes and simple backgrounds. In Zeffirelli's movie, he uses counter-culture to portray the intended message by Shakespeare. In the movie, the scenery is correct according to the description provided within the text of Romeo and Juliet.

In the Capulet ball scene, the 1968 Zeffirelli version portrays the expression of desire from Juliet. In this scene, Juliet is an active character. The displays of fruit and wine, vibrant fabrics lit archways and lavish red dress all point to Juliet's sexuality. Whereas in the play Shakespeare focuses on the romantic side of the play and does not portray Juliet as a symbol or desire. In the Capulet ball scene in the play, Juliet is dressed moderately but smartly. She is dressed in a ball dress which is not fancy, and the setting is not filled with lavish elements. The director of the movie wanted to emphasize Juliet to capture the minds of the audience. Shakespeare in his play focuses on both characters. The music in the scene is also different from the movie because in Zeffirelli's films. To portray symbolism Zeffirelli uses costumes an example which is the dress Juliet is wearing. In the play, this is different because Shakespeare uses the analogy by using effects. These effects which include sound tracts and outstanding visual styles make the scene more captivating. The scene in the movie uses traditional soundtracks which is the same as the play because in the film Franco Zeffirelli tries so hard to make the setting as Shakespeare wanted it to look. Both settings of these movies portray an opera medium though Zeffirelli used music without integrating the visuals and text.

Zeffirelli uses counter culture intended by Shakespeare which makes the difference in the portrayal of story minute. Zeffirelli uses drugs, violence, and sex to portray the Hollywood culture which is absent in the play. This is because at the time the play was staged no reckless lifestyle cropped up in the 20th century. In the Capulet ball scene, Zeffirelli portrays a happy and playful mood which is also the same in the play. Zeffirelli uses culture to represent the intended message whereas in the play there is no culture because the play is not a version of a previous play done. The play is set as it is at the time. The meeting of the main characters in the scene portrays light whereas the scene in the plays shows protagonist.

Zeffirelli's movie and the play have a lot of similarities but have common features also. This is because Zeffirelli set the movie to be the same as the play's setting but with bits of Hollywood culture to make the movie captivating to the audience. He perfectly portrays innocence and naivety of love at teenage which is not the same as in the play which portrays the relationship of Romeo and Juliet more. The manner in which Zeffirelli develops character relationships in the movie is in the traditional sense the same as it is in the plays. In the Capulet ballet scene, Zeffirelli preserves William Shakespeare's costume, stylistic devices, and language. Though the modern audience viewed the scene along with the movie as a whole as dull and boring, it emits the original humor and observes character development just like it is in the plays. It portrays ridicule and irony though it's not satirical enough. However, both the movie and the play represent the intense love and passion between the two main characters.

Zeffirelli did his best in putting the ideas by Shakespeare in his film. The differences and similarities cannot be ignored in the movie and play. Most of the differences in the play and movie are as a result of the difference in time of production, technological innovations and cultural setting of the time the two pieces were produced. The differences and similarities in styles of the play and movie are significant. Zeffirelli though portrays more of what the play depicts with minimal additions and removal of scenes or part of scenes. In the Capulet ball scene, the setting and depict almost the same through the addition of fancy features make it more modern. Flashy cars, drugs, and the soundtracks make the difference evident which is a way of differentiating the film. Considering Zeffirelli's movie came after centuries since it was last portrayed he has done an excellent job in making the play look traditional as it is supposed to look. He does this with the stylistic features, costume, and language. Zeffirelli is the only director who came up with an almost similar portrayal of Romeo and Juliet in the film.

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