“Romeo and Juliet” is probably the most well-known play of William Shakespeare. It’s an amazing tragic love story, full of action and inevitably arousing strong emotions in a reader. In addition to being a masterpiece of dramatic literature, it has become a classic love tragedy with Romeo and Juliet becoming archetypical young lovers. The actual story is believed to be borrowed by Shakespeare from Italian tale dating back to antiquity and consequently interpreted by a number of other authors. Shakespeare significantly developed the plot, making more focus on supportive characters.
The story tells about the tragic love of two youngsters coming from two feuding clans. The young people go through every kind of trial on the way to reunification and in the pursuit of common happiness. Supported by Juliet’s Nurse and Friar Lawrence, Romeo’s spiritual director, they arrange wedding ceremony, and even manage to spend a night together as a married couple. Eventually, they get separated again: Romeo is banished from Verona for the murder of Tybalt on whom he has taken revenge for the assassination of Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend.
While Juliet is being forced to become Paris’ fiancee by the will of her parents, and Romeo is lying in hiding in Mantua, Friar Lawrence arranges a plan of Juliet’s escape from Verona by drinking a liquor that will put her into the state similar to death. Yet Romeo, being misled by tragic news of Juliet’s death does not wait till finding the truth out, he mourns her death so desperately that eventually poisons himself at Juliet’s tomb, previously killing her unwanted suitor Paris.
Consequently, when Juliet wakes up from sleep after being unconscious for about 42 hours, she discovers dead Romeo by her side, and stabs herself with the help of Romeo’s dagger in despair. All three dead bodies are discovered then by both Juliet’s and Romeo’s relatives and the Prince, and as a result, Capulet and Montague make peace and pledge to never fight again. It is hard to say what version of the story I like more. I prefer the play from the aesthetic point of view, – I love the language and the image of ancient Italy, Verona in particular, that serves as a background for tragic events.
Yet I prefer the film from the romantic point of view, since I believe the actors look amazingly realistic demonstrating the emotions that Shakespeare laid as the foundation of his narrative. The movie version of Romeo and Juliet story follows both the plot and the text of the play. That is what really great about the film for it doesn’t conform to the overall tendency to distort and ad details to the original version of the work of literature being adapted for the screen.
The movie is amazing, but not necessarily in a positive way. The action takes place in modern US town Verona-Beach. Two families of the nobility are turned into Mafia clans, swords being turned into guns. Representatives of hostile clans now look more like skinheads, hooligans and Italian Mafioso, obviously abusing drugs and alcohol. However, they still speak like Shakespeare’s characters do, saying rhymed lines and elevated phrases with the most natural expression possible in the provided context.
The shocking contrast between sophisticated language and the appearance of bandits that the speakers have somehow makes the movie unbelievably gripping. The fact is I has been extremely curious through the whole of the film how would they perform that or this scene, because the interpretation proposed in movie is really unusual. I also loved the actors’ performance. I believe they personified the characters in the most successful way possible. They looked natural which is truly important, and intrigued me with the power of feelings that seemed surprisingly sincere.