Romeo and Juliet
The Books That Should Be Preserved: Romeo and Juliet, Hope is the Thing with Features and Harry Potter
Literature is important in our life as it allows people to express their values, belief, and traditions through various forms such as a novel, poetry. It also enables people to see life from the perspective of another. For decades, lifestyle, and societies can be changed, yet literature is still preserved the same. In addition for entertainment, there is usually a deeper meaning under a literary work. The author writes not only to entertain the readers but also to imply a message through their work. Therefore, literary works can be used to teach about human nature. In my opinion, in the case of the zombie apocalypse, there are three books that should be preserved for future generations. These books are Romeo and Juliet of Shakespeare, Hope is the Thing with Features, written by Emily Dickenson and Harry Potter, written by J.K Rowling. Romeo and Juliet and Harry Potter have the same implication for the power of love. They imply that love is the most important and essential emotion in the world. In addition to love, Dickinson implies that hope is also helpful to overcome harsh circumstances.
Romeo and Juliet
For many decades, Shakespeare is one of the greatest playwrights in the world. His literary works have significantly impacted literature. He has a deep understanding of humanity since most of his works explore human nature such as love, hatred, and loyalty. Romeo and Juliet is one of the most popular plays of Shakespeare all the time. It must be preserved and encouraged for future generations to read as it implies a deep meaning. In this play, Shakespeare indicates that emotions such as hatred and anger are destructive. The conflict between two families, the Capulet and the Montagues, is brought to light multiple times throughout the play. The hatred for one another leads to the death of many people in the play including Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio and Tybalt at the end. Both families lose their children as a punishment because of their selfishness, hatred, and anger for another. At the end of the play, the Prince shows the destruction that the two families have caused through their ancient feud: ” See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, / That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love./ And I for winking at your discords too/ Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punished” (5.3.308-311) After realizing their faults, the two families agree to forget about everything and make peace with each other. If the selfish feud between the two families is settled earlier, it will not have led to the misfortunes of the two young lovers. Besides criticizing the selfishness of the two families, which contributes to the tragedy of two young lovers, Shakespeare also conveys the message that love can conquer everything. In act 3, scene 3, Juliet is portrayed as being angry at Romeo since he killed her cousin, Tybalt. However, she is more heartbroken over Romeo’s banishment: “Wherefore weep I then? /Some word there [is], worser than Tybalt’s death, /That [murders] me. I [will] forget it fain, /But oh, it presses to my memory, /Like damned guilty deeds to sinners’ minds/ “Tybalt is dead, and Romeo banished.” (3.2.108-113) The readers can see that Juliet’s love for Romeo is stronger than the hate she has for him, despite her cousin’s murder. Furthermore, the deaths of Romeo and Juliet at the end of the play help to end the ancient feud between the Capulet and the Montagues. Their love ultimately proves that love can last forever, and it can conquer hate. Romeo and Juliet is considered one of the greatest love stories with powerful lessons about human natures of love and hate. It proves that hatred can destroy everything, and love is the most powerful force in life. However, love is not always perfect. Each individual and society has some differences and disparities that sometimes create challenges for building relationships. Therefore, it is critical that people learn to accept their differences to make the world a better place.
Hope is the Thing with Feathers
In my opinion, the poem that must be preserved for future generations is Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson, who is one of America’s greatest poets. The work displays the theme of hope being present in human to help overcome difficult circumstances in life. Dickinson is successful in inciting positive moods for the readers through her poem. At the beginning of the poem, she uses the imagery of a bird to connect with hope:
“Hope” is the Thing with Feathers
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stop-at all-” (1-4)
These sentences imply that like a bird always chirping, hope is always present in the human soul no matter what. Even though we cannot physically hear hope, we can feel its existence inside our soul. Hope never stops singing its tune to comfort our soul. The poet then extends her metaphor to emphasizes hope can endure under tough situations.
And sweetest- in the Gale- is heard-
And sore must be the storm-
That could abash a little Bird.
That kept so many warm- (5-8)
She means that even when life is rough like a brutal storm, we always have hope. Hope will give us the strength to overcome harsh situations. The warmth it gives to comfort us and to let us know that there is always a rainbow after the rain. Furthermore, hope does not stay in one place as it follows us everywhere from “the chilliest land” to “the strangest sea” (9-10). Even in the darkest moments of our lives, hope always resides by our side. Hope serves us selflessly without asking for anything in return, hope “never, in Extremity/ It asked a crumb of me.” (11-12) Even though the poem is short, and the language is very simple, it contains a deep meaning to enlighten people. Every human in the world needs to have hope to become stronger. Hope makes us stand up to get through the difficulties in life.
Finally, the Harry Potter series, written by J.K Rowling, are fundamental works of fiction that need to be preserved from a zombie apocalypse. The novels are a phenomenon for the past few years because of their interesting contents. Besides the wonderful and magical world, there are some lessons that readers can learn through the novels. Love and friendship are the main themes of the series. They serve as a form of protection which helped Harry to overcome his challenges. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the author demonstrates the power of love by explaining that Harry’s ability to survive from Voldemort is from his mother’s love. When he is one year old, both of his parents are killed by Voldemort when they tried to protect him. Harry’s mother sacrifices herself to prevent him from being killed. Her love creates a protective barrier for him that causes the killing curse to be reflected upon Voldemort. At the end of the novel, Harry encounters Voldemort again, who is now in professor Quirrell’s body. However, professor Quirrell is not able to kill Harry since he gets burned whenever he touches Harry. Dumbledore, the headmaster at Hogwarts, then explains, “Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” (Rowling, “The Sorcerer Stone,” p.241) His parents’ love will continuously protect him even later on in his life. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the ghosts of his parents appear to help him fight with Voldemort, when he is almost killed by Voldemort. “‘Your mother’s coming…’ he said quietly ‘She wants to see you… it will be all right… hold on…’” (Rowling, “The Goblet of Fire”, p.431) In the series, love is the significant difference between Harry and Voldemort. Hence, it is an extremely powerful weapon to defeat evils. In addition to love, friendship is also important in helping Harry fight against evils. Harry meets Ron and Hermione on the train to Hogwarts. The three become best friends since then and has supported, protected, and helped each other to overcome many challenges. Ron always shows his willingness to come with Harry wherever he goes, Ron is known to say, “Oh come off it, you don’t think we’d let you go alone?” “We’re with you. No matter what happens.” (Rowling, “The Sorcerer Stone”, p. 271; “The Half-Blood Prince”, p.651) Ron and Hermione never want to leave Harry alone, even though they acknowledge that they will be in danger. Their true friendship is also proven when Ron and Hermione are willing to lay down their lives for Harry, “If you want to kill Harry, you’ll have to kill us too!… You’ll have to kill all three of us!” (Rowling, “Prisoner of Azkaban”, p.339) Besides love, their significant friendship makes Harry more powerful than Voldemort as Dumbledore says, “We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship” (Rowling, “The Goblet Fire”, p.466). The series not only takes the readers to the fantasy world but also helps the readers recognize that love and friendship are very essential in human life.
Everyone has a different perspective on literary works. In my opinion, Rome and Juliet, Hope is the Thing with Features, and the series of Harry Potter are necessary novels to be preserved and encouraged for future generations to read. Those literary books are not only interesting to read but also provides great moral values for the readers. Romeo and Juliet and Harry Potter teach us that we should value love more than anything. Additionally, the Harry Potter series also reminds us that friendship can help overcome difficulties in life. Dickenson brings hope and faith in life for people through her poem, Hope is the Thing with Feathers.
The Function Of The Dreamscape in Mercutio’s Queen Mab Monologue
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates tension between Romeo and Mercutio’s diverging perceptions of dreams. In an intricately crafted and emotional monologue, Mercutio counters Romeo’s idealistic Petrarchan belief in the power of premonition with his own skeptic view (1. 4. 53-121). Mercutio wittily coins the legend of Queen Mab, a tiny fairy-like creature that rules the land of dreams to do so. Through fanciful metaphor and rhythmic meter, Mercutio likens Romeo’s fancies to the ridiculousness of a fairy tale. However, his tone drastically changes from light hearted jest to bitter rant over the course of delivery. What initially begins as an attempt to dissuade Romeo’s pining over Rosaline, then object of his affection, becomes a much darker probe into the psyche of its speaker and the psyche of the play at large. Queen Mab rules over the land of dream and can stand as a metaphor for both love and nightmares.
The function of the dreamscape monologue is to serve as a mirror for the events of the play, and to foreshadow what is to come. It brings to light the sexual, homoerotic and violent desires suppressed by Verona. Though his argument begins as a dismissal of dreams as products of desire, Mercutio’s speech eerily functions as a damning premonition. His light-hearted speech unintentionally functions as a twisted mirror of the structure, setting and themes of the play and elucidates its events. In fulfilling this role, Mercutio’s monologues disprove his own skepticism and instead unwittingly lends credence to Romeo’s assertion of the power of dreams to expand on current events and predict future ones. Romeo and Juliet develops its drama by exacerbating tensions between opposing forces. Much of the tension between Romeo and Mercutio stems from their opposing attitudes towards dreams, love and customs. Shakespeare presents Mercutio as Romeo’s unlikely foil. Whereas Romeo is sensible and upstanding on the surface, he is revealed as naïve and arguably foolish as the play progresses. Mercutio, on the other hand, is presented as volatile and facetious. Instead, his characterization reveals him to be insightful; he displays surprising foresight in his monologue. Romeo is a class Petrarchan lover—for him to be in a state of despair and longing is unexceptional. The courtly lover espouses a life of suffering that separates him from his object of desire. Romeo’s conception of love prescribes to this notion; that love is extended courtship riddled with turmoil and suffering.
In his relationship with Rosaline, not only is he willing to undergo such trial, but believes himself compelled to do so. If love is true, it is marred with necessary complications, claims he, and so Romeo endures its trials. Mercutio dismisses this helplessness as ridiculous. He undermines its gravity with lewd humor and innuendos. He delivers the monologue as encouragement for Romeo to attend the Capulet party and disregard his uneasy dream. In a stroke of dramatic irony, it is Mercutio, denier of the existence of fate and the power of premonition, who orchestrates the realization of Romeo’s misgiving. Additionally, while his speech seeks to dissuade Romeo from the seduction of Mab’s world, Mercutio himself becomes so invested in it that he is reduced to raving. He is visibly distressed by the description of the world he describes. In a dramatic inversion, Romeo is the one who is unaffected by Mercutio’s speech, which he dissolves and dismisses. Mercutio’s tale initially delights the Montagues and eventually horrifies them. The Queen’s initially fantastical world eventually becomes a hag’s nightmarish sphere. This juxtaposition sets up the similarity of the two worlds and serves as a forewarning for the story unfolding in Verona. Mercutio’s monologue explores the conflict between the two philosophies through the construction of a dreamscape. The unspoken conflicts of the ply must be understood in a dream world free from the restrictions in place in stifling Verona. Over the course of the monologue, however, the restrictions of Verona creep into Mercutio’s speech. It becomes less fantastical and more misogynistic, violent, and bitter. The effect shifts from entertaining to horrifying. This degenerative structure of the monologue mirrors the plays own structure.
Acts one and two are comedic and merry: they feature the discovery of exciting true love between unlikely people, easy jesting of Romeo and friends, and the amusing wit of Juliet as she comes into her own. When Mercutio is killed in Act three’s first scene, however, the tone of the play shifts dramatically. It becomes the tragedy it had ominously promised to be in its opening sonnet (prologue). Mercutio’s monologue, and the creatures and land it details, mimic the tonal transition of the play. Initial descriptions of miniature Mab as “no bigger than an agate-stone” delight the Montagues. Mercutio entertains with diminutive images of “wings of grasshoppers,” “smallest spider’s web[s]” and “empty hazelnut[s]”, which comprise Mab’s carriage and assist her distribution of dreams of love. However, as his speech develops, it becomes more frenzies: Mab “gallops night by night” on her warlike chariot, producing nightmares. She is no longer minute: Mab now is large enough to “driveth o’er a soldier’s neck” (1. 4. 87) and exact revenge on unvirtuous maidens. Mab’s world has dissolved from a land of dreams to a decrepit nightmare. The “hag” (CITE) deals now only in death, sex and destruction. Mercutio cites desire as the source of these forces in the dream world. The true love that Romeo and Juliet find in each other also eventually dissolves into misery and violence by its conclusion. The desire that spurs the deaths of their kin and friends ultimately ends in their tragic double suicide.
This mirrors cute and fantastical Queen Mab’s reduction to an evil force terrorizing a hellscape. What is Queen Mab’s function? Mab is warlike. Her carriage is a “chariot”, upon which she gallops night by night, marching over the bodies of various men, giving dreams of love to lovers but also spreading visions of death, violence and corruption (1. 4. 75-110). Soldiers are made to dream of “cutting foreign throats” and dream of “breaches, ambuscadoes… and blades” (1. 4. 89). The alliteration of the ‘b’ sound mimics the violent marching movement of Mab, and angrily punctuates Mercutio’s point. “This is that very Mab” asserts Mercutio, the meter emphasizing his distaste with the Queen. The deictic markers “this”, that”, and “there” (1. 4. 90-93) emphasize Mab’s physicality by identifying her within space. Her physicality and that of dreamers’ is emphasized. Mab possess a physical form. This grows from minute to large as the monologue develops, emphasizing the importance of her corporal presence. Tis form travels over specific body parts of the dreamers, such as lawyers’ fingers or ladies’ lips. Mercutio emphasizes a correlation between the mental desires of the dreamers and where those desires originate and manifest. By establishing the physical coordinates of Mab’s movement, in relation with the desires of human dreamers, and through her bodily contact with those she effects, we are driven to root this fanciful description of the Queen in physical reality. The dreamscape mingles with the real world in Verona. Mercutio presents Mab as “the fairies’ midwife”, a creature who delivers dreams to sleeping men based on their chief desires. For the lawyer, she produces images of money. For the priest, images of authority and corruption. For the soldier, images of bloodshed and conquest. For the lover, images of love and sex. Through these examples, Mercutio asserts that our dreams are simply wish fulfillment. This fulfilment too is hollow; the dreamscape is hardly the fantastical delight it appears to be. Mab is conflated with images of bugs and parasites. Her carriage is grotesquely constructed from “wings of grasshopper”, “spider’s web”, and “cricket’s bone” (1. 4. 64-68).
Additionally, it is likened to a “grey-coated gnat” or a “round little worm”, parasites that cause sickness and infection. Dreams, especially those of love, are an infection or illness—Mercutio asserts this with disgusting images of parasites and violence. Mab is representative for all consuming love and desire. Mercutio is repulsed by her; while his monologue is additionally deeply suspicious of dreams of corruption and violence, it is primarily resentful of Petrarchan love. For much of the lengthy monologue, Mercutio cynically dissects love, its consummation and its motivation. The grotesque description of Mab’s physical form is in line with Mercutio’s distaste for women as sexual beings. Both ‘Queen’ and ‘Mab’ were known to Elizabethan audiences to mean whore. Mab, who denotes love, is diminutive. This description likens Romeo’s love for Rosaline as small and inconsequential. Love is a fancy that lives in the land of dream, with other fancies like fairies, Mercutio implies. As Mercutio’s fury rises, his tirade is interrupted. For Mercutio, love, just as the rant it induced, can be dissolved easily. Additionally, love is characterized as parasitic and even violent. The onus of this is placed on women; Mercutio’s misogynistic outburst is critical of women’s agency and reduces them to sexual objects. Even the merriest parts of his speech are littered with crude sexual innuendos—such as when “round little worms” are “prick’d”. Round little worms were common references to sexually transmitted diseases, and the word “prick’d” is intentionally provocative. As the speech progresses, the imagery becomes explicitly violent and sexual, evoking disgust. Mab enacts revenge on maids that have “tainted” their breaths with sweetmeats” or oral sex. This depiction of ‘love’ is overtly sexual and dismissive of Petrarchan conceptions.
These maids in love, represented by Mab, are “foul [and] sluttish”. Love is seen as a mental illness that “gallops…through lovers’ brain” (1. 4. 75), or as self-deception. Love masks the repressed lust that Verona forbids. Licentious images are invoked: “maids lie” or are “pressed” onto their backs. Not only is this image misogynistic and dismissive of women as sexually perverse, but also the word “press” reinforces the physicality of Mab, who forces girls to have sex. This sexual desire, and its expression as love, is ruinous. Mab, representative of love, propagates disease and infection in the aftermath of sex. Similarly, Romeo and Juliet’s love leads to various deaths. Their secretive marriage and its implied consummation prevent Romeo from fighting Tybalt. Mercutio engages him instead and dies, an indirect victim of their consummationIf Verona is a place of restriction, Mercutio attempts to use the dreamscape as its liberated counterpart. It explores the sexuality of women and the corrupt or grotesque, taboo topics in stifling Verona. What motivates Mercutio’s speech? Mercutio is Romeo’s foil, and his rebuttal of Romeo’s idealism is an apt example of his function in that capacity. However, his feeling seems to extend beyond this relationship. Shakespeare’s Verona is strictly heteronormative and yet, at this point in the play, we have not witnessed the staging of heterosexual relations.
Certainly, Juliet is sexualized for the pleasure of men from the first scene of the play, but this sexuality is only implied. We never see Paris directly court her. Similarly, while Romeo has been pining for Rosaline, her vow of chastity has effectively blocked any possibility of sexual interaction. Further still, Rosaline does not have a physical stage presence. Conversely, up to this point in the play, we have witnessed direct homoerotic interaction. The ultra-macho culture of Verona bolsters such interaction; Romeo is surrounded by sexually charged young men, who express their hypermasculinity through sexual punning and physical interaction in the presence of and with each other. The scene depicting the Queen Mab monologue features potential homoerotic tension between Romeo and Mercutio. Mercutio’s relationship with Romeo cannot be overtly homosexual. Mercutio references a “bosom” and “dew down south” (1. 4. 108-110) in response to Romeo’s dismissal of his speech, terms with sexual connotations. However, Romeo dismisses his friend’s monologue as “nothing”, and further still is oblivious to its homoerotic undertones. Indeed, Mercutio’s entire speech could be read as an admission of love for his friend. Mercutio is frustrated with Romeo’s preoccupation with love.
This frustration could arguably be born of fraternity or of homoerotic jealousy. The heterosexual love espoused by Verona thwarts the masculinity of the man involved. It also thwarts homosexuality which is why Mercutio may disprove of his friend’s heterosexual love. His condemnation of women can be explained thusly. Dreams have power for premonition and for exposing that which cannot be seen, such as lust or love, but they submit to the restrictions of reality. In the society of Verona, sexuality is imposed as a social construct that binds all its citizens.
As Mercutio grows more distraught, the fancy of his speech disintegrates. He abandons talk of fairies and minute creatures. Verona reasserts itself and brings its taboos with it. By the end of Mercutio’s speech, reality has crept back into Mab’s world and imposes restrictions on Mercutio’s discussion of love, desire, and sexuality. Mercutio is forced to talk, if disdainfully, of heterosexual relationships. Biological images of reproduction reinforce heteronormative reality. These biological images in the dream world further still connects the two worlds. In a masterstroke of tragic irony, Mercutio’s attempt to ridicule Romeo’s dream fails.
In fact, it achieves exactly the opposite of its intention: not only does it set up the events that lead to Romeo’s foreshadowed doom, but in doing so it proves Romeo’s point. Dreams absolutely preempt events in Romeo and Juliet. They are mesmerizing: Mercutio, who scorn their appeal, becomes so involved in his dram world that he must be cut off forcibly. Mercutio’s dreamscape exposes the underbelly of Verona and exposes the taboo. The misogyny, sexuality, corruption, bloodlust and heterosexual trappings of the society creep into Mercutio’s dream world. At its conclusion, there is two-fold denial: Mercutio, who astutely predicts what is to come, claims he speaks only of “vain fantasy” (1. 4. 124). Romeo fails to understand both the clarity of Mercutio’s “nothing” and his desire.
Romeo and Juliet: Different Personalities and Enduring Love in Shakespeare’s Play
Sarah Dessen once wrote, “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.” The concept of love at first sight is emphasized in the story of Romeo and Juliet. In this tragedy, Shakespeare portrays both Romeo and Juliet to be passionate and loyal towards one another, but Romeo is more impulsive, aggressive, and a bit of a coward whereas Juliet is more mature and shows courage. In the play of Romeo and Juliet, both characters show a different side of how they feel but also have similarities to how they approach love.
Romeo is a lovesick teenage boy in beginning of the play. “O, teach me how I should forget to think!” (I.i.219). He’s grieving over Rosaline, of how she didn’t love him back when he had proposed to her. Comparably, Romeo seemed impulsive when he meets Juliet. His words, “Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.” (I.v.104), trying to force a kiss. The way Romeo goes after Juliet shows his aggressive side. In the balcony scene Romeo interrupts Juliet’s thought, “Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptis’d;/Henceforth I never will be Romeo.” (II.ii.53-54), not caring that they are foes. He shows himself as a coward towards the end of the play, when he learns that Juliet is dead. He fears of being alone so he poisons himself. He kills himself because he is afraid of a life without her.
Juliet trusts her life and future to Romeo, “Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?” (III.ii.97). She pushes through with courage and refuses to believe the worst of him after he gets involved in a fight and kills her cousin, Tybalt. Her act of innocence and obedience becomes lost after falling in love with Romeo and she becomes more mature. “He shall not make me there a joyful bride!” (III.v.117). She is defiant against her parents’ marriage wishes to Paris.
Romeo and Juliet are passionate and loyal characters. The balcony scene, when Romeo asks Juliet to marry him, “It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden.” (II.ii.122-124), even though she thinks it’s unwise she allows herself to be persuaded by Romeo. Thus, she allows her own and his feelings of passion to override her rational thoughts. Sadly, their rash, passionate decision to marry immediately helps lead to their deaths. Corresponding to Juliet’s loyalty towards Romeo, “But wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?” (III.ii.100). She’s doubting her anger at Romeo after learning he killed Tybalt. Romeo shows passion through his words. In the tomb with Juliet, as he takes the poison he says, “Eyes, look your last. /Arms, take your last embrace! And lips, O you/The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss/A dateless bargain to engrossed Death.” (V.iii.112-115). He’s killing himself because of the love he has for Juliet, because he can’t live without her. When Juliet wakes and finds Romeo dead, she does the same and kills herself because of how strong their love is.
In the event of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, their love is shown to be honorable and true. Their difference in personalities, circling around aggressiveness, impulsiveness, cowardice, courage, and maturity do not hesitate their love they carry for one another. Their love is true and succeeds with the devotion both characters hold.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – an Enduring Love Story
The world’s most enduring love story, Romeo and Juliet, continues to have as much relevance for a modern day audience as it did in Shakespeare’s time. It is a masterpiece of lyric poetry. The story of star-crossed lovers, whose struggle for love and happiness in spite of familial opposition ends in senseless death, has been called the greatest work of romantic story ever written.
Romeo and Juliet was written by Shakespeare most probably in 1594 or 1595. It’s still popular after it was written around 400 years ago, because themes are still relevant. We can see them at present time. They are human incentives. Humans live with them and they don’t change by the time. Its film versions made as well. One of the evidence is that we all heard it’s still studied at high school and universities. There other reasons are the plot development and characters and their development.
The action of Romeo and Juliet involves two carefully balanced groups of characters. At the head of the two feuding families of Verona are Lord and Lady Capulet and Lord and Lady Montague. Their children Romeo and Juliet have two cousins who are clearly contrast each other. Both family have servants which represent loyalty theme.
The character development is well-prepared in the play. When we first meet Romeo, he was a moody rejected lover. But he had not always been like this, solitary and withdrawn. The very fact that his father, Benvolio and Mercutio all make so much of his changed ‘humour’ shows that his present behaviour is a drastic alternation and that he was not like the Romeo they used to know; ” Madam, an hour before the worshipp’d sun, peer’d forth the golden windows of the east, a troubled mind drove me to walk abroad, where underneath the grove of sycamore. (That westward rooteth from this city side) So early walking did I see your son. Towards him I made, but he was ware of me, and stole into the covert of the wood. I, measuring his affections by my own, Which then most sought where most might not be found, being one too many by my weary self, pursu’d my humour not pursuing his, and gladly sunn’d who gladly fled from me.” (Act1, Scene 1, 116-129). We know that he was well thought in Verona. The Old Capulet says he wasn’t like that before; ” A bears him like a portly gentleman, and to say truth, Verona brags of him to be a virtuous and well-govern’d youth.” (Act 1, Scene 5, 65-68) . The most interesting thing Capulet says is that Romeo is ‘well-govern’d’, clearly, he was not always infatuated with Rosaline, Romeo was a popular, lively and sociable member of the society.
The plot of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is which engages the reader from the very beginning of the play. It’s here that the two families which have an ongoing hatred between each other are revealed to the audience.
Shakespeare’s play explores issues through its contrast of themes such as youth and age, life and death, joy and sadness, and passion and control. What emerges from this analysis is a mix of messages and themes to do with human relationships.
Viewed from this fresh perspective, Shakespeare’s tragic drama of the “star-crossed” young lovers is seen to be an extraordinary work. Romeo and Juliet was an experimental master piece at the time of its composition.
As a result, I think, this is the greatest teenage love story of them all. Shakespeare didn’t invent the tale of the star-crossed lovers, he just did it better than anyone else.
Analysis Of Baz Luhrmann’s Film Rework Of ‘Romeo And Juliet’
In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, an altercation between the Montague and Capulet families that has been going on for generations, disrupts the city of Verona and causes cataclysmic results for the protagonists, Romeo and Juliet. Revenge, love, and a secret marriage end up forcing the young star crossed lovers to mature quickly and fate ends up causing them to commit suicide in despair and grief. Love and conflict are constant themes throughout Shakespeare’s play. Astounding music, lightning cuts, superb cinematography, amazing sets and costumes make it the entertaining tale Shakespeare meant it to be. These looks also make the film somewhat almost cartoon like with a lot more realism. Baz Luhrmann’s beautiful film rework of Romeo and Juliet left the world in utter astonishment with his modern variation of the ancient 16th century play. He reinforces the main themes of the play to an incredible standard, which aids the audience in fully grasping the play in a modern setting.
The balcony scene contains some of the most memorable and recognizable quotes in Shakespeare’s entire career as a playwright. Romeo and Juliet at last reveal their undying love for each other. At Juliet’s sudden but expected suggestion plan to marry “Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed. If that thy bent of love be honorable, Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow”. Thus, as Romeo steps from the moonlit darkness into the light from Juliet’s balcony, he has left behind his theatrical burden and has moved towards a more mature yet genuine true understanding of love. Luhrmann introduces audiences to a modernized balcony scene. His intention was to make it easier for the audience to understand and fully comprehend while still enforcing Shakespeare’s true intentions. Baz’s interpretation does an exceptional job of reinforcing Shakespeare’s idea of Love by projecting what he would have imagined while reading the play. Romeo scales up the wall that leads to Juliet’s famous balcony. The camera shot that is used is a close up of Romeo to show the emotional distress that he feels. Luhrmann’s representation is different to the text as Juliet does not say her famous lines from the balcony, but instead comes down from her room to the pool outside, where she recites the same lines with passion thinking of her true love Romeo.
The brief but hopeful tone that Act II had successfully reinforced in the audiences mind suddenly changes suddenly at the start of Act III. Romeo becomes entangled in a barbarous conflict between the two feuding families. The blistering heat, fuming tempers, and the abrupt brutality of this particular scene counted the previous romantic and peaceful night. The play suddenly reaches a breathtaking uphill battle as Romeo and Juliet’s confidential world skirmish with the negative public attitude that ends up with tragic consequences. Mercutio’s death is the motivation for the tragic yet predicted turn that the play takes from this point onward. Luhrmann’s own approach to this scene was successful. He was able to present it in such a way that all people could understand and not be left confused. For example, Mercutio is quoted by saying, “By my heel, I care not.” In addition, the movie Mercutio puts his heels up on a table and repeats that quote. To make sure the film stayed within its period he had to cut out some parts of the play. The most noticeable to an untrained ear is in act 3 scene 1 and it is Mercutio’s long speech (Lines 15-28).
The play can be seen as a series of bad decisions, coincidences and bad luck, most people see the play as an assortment of events which have already been pre-determined by fate. With the opening lines of the play, Shakespeare allows the audience to have the knowledge about his characters destiny. We learn quite early on, what is actually going to happen throughout the play. “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.” Another example is before the Capulets’ party, in Act 1 Scene 3. Romeo begins to get the feeling that fate may be planning his doom. He wonders to himself if he should attend the party, as “my mind misgives/Some consequence yet hanging in the stars.” During the prologue in Luhrmann’s interpretation, the newswoman talks about the matters between Romeo and Juliet with pictures in the back, which introduces the two brawling families. The theme of fate was changed in the movie to be better understood by a 20th century audience. The anchor recites Shakespeare’s prologue. The famous line “A pair of star crossed lovers, take their lives” implies that two lovers whose relationship is not blessed by the stars will be ill fated.
Luhrmann did a superb job of reinforcing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. He fully reinforced it but with a modern twist. The audience can only assume that he did this to appeal to a younger audience and show them the world-renown play in a way that the world had never seen before. Although, he did add some noticeable changes to some scenes, a great example of this was the balcony scene. Using the modernized setting, he made the famous balcony scene into a pool scene, which may have captured the audience more than the original.
Romeo And Juliet: Who Is to Blame?
Citizens of Verona, I am standing here today to mourn of the loss of Romeo of house Montague and Juliet of house Capulet. Their untimely deaths were brought about by their families long standing feud. Our young residents of this city have “thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets” and were both just youths and for no reason should have passed at such a young age. As the person responsible for banishing Romeo from this city, I do take some responsibility for his death. I turned my back and allowed the family feud to continue. However there are others that are more to blame and as the Prince of Verona it is my duty to inform the public of the many people to blame for this tragedy.
There are a number of people that could be to blame for the deaths of our star crossed-lovers however, “some shall be pardoned and some punished”. Many of you have blamed Juliet, as she did end her own life by stabbing herself, after seeing Romeo’s lifeless body. She is also responsible as she took a sleeping potion so that it would make her appear dead in a desperate effort not to have to marry Paris. However, this did not go to plan as when Romeo saw her looking as if she was dead, he took a poison himself. He did this as he felt that he could not live on without her. This is significant as when they first met he had told her that “I have night’s cloak to hide me from their eyes, and but thou love me, let them find me here. My life were better ended by their hate than death proroguèd, wanting of thy love.” When she woke up and saw Romeo dead, she cried to herself “What’s here? A cup, closed in my true love’s hand? Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end.—O churl, drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after? I will kiss thy lips. Haply some poison yet doth hang on them, to make me die with a restorative.” After there was no poison left she then grabbed a dagger, stabbed herself and said “There rust and let me die.” Young Juliet also disobeyed her father and married Romeo in secret, I do believe that if that had not happened then the two may have still been alive. Although I understand while some would blame Juliet, I do not feel that she is ultimately to blame. Friar Lawrence is also to blame as he was more concerned about protecting himself which led to the destruction of two young lovers.
Then there are those amongst you who blame Friar Lawrence for this tragedy. While he may have had good intentions, some suspect he was more concerned about getting punished himself. Many people believe that he should take responsibility, as it was he that married them in secret. He agreed “I’ll thy assistant be, for this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households’ rancor to pure love.” Another reason he is to blame is because he came up with the idea that Juliet should take the sleeping potion to avoid marrying Paris. It is known that he said “take thou this vial, being then in bed, and this distillèd liquor drink thou off, when presently through all thy veins shall run a cold and drowsy humor, for no pulse shall keep his native progress, but surcease. No warmth, no breath shall testify thou livest.” This essentially led to Romeo’s death as he believed that Juliet had truly died. Even though Friar Lawrence had made poor choices he is not ultimately to blame.
Therefore, it is Lord Capulet, and the feuding families that are ultimately to blame for this tragedy. Initially, Capulet tried to force Juliet into an arranged marriage with Paris and threatened her when she objected. He yelled, “Thursday is near, lay hand on heart, advice and you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend. An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets.” Lord Capulet and Montague as heads of the households should have done more to stop the feud. The reason that Romeo and Juliet had to marry in secret was because they knew the parents would not allow it. If there was never a feud in the first place, then they could have gotten married and Juliet would not have been forced to marry Paris. Romeo’s father, Lord Montague, could have stopped the fight at any time, but didn’t. A fact he admitted when he said they were, “Poor sacrifices of our enmity.” I feel that this tragedy really shows that all of us are responsible for our actions and that the feuds between these families should not be forgotten about, instead be learned from for the future.
The city of Verona has been terribly affected by the tragic death, of young Romeo and Juliet. The blame for their deaths rests upon the shoulders of Lord Montague and Capulet, the leaders of the feuding families. It was the long-standing hatred which made it impossible for Romeo and Juliet to express their love openly. I believe that the two fathers do not need further punishment, as their children’s death is enough. We have witnessed how a feud can lead to the disruption of a whole city and even worse, death. This is a very delicate situation as “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
Are Romeo and Juliet Their Own Harbingers of Death?
Romeo And Juliet Are Their Own Harbingers Of Death
The tragedy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet had been brought upon by many events and characters in the story, but he makes sure the readers know that only two characters can shoulder the blame for the tragedy. Romeo and Juliet brought forth their own destiny; although the fray included a mix of other characters, Romeo and Juliet’s actions remained their own. These two lovers were their own undoing, and in the name of love, love was destroyed. The Capulet’s, and the Montagues’ feud, Friar’s blind faith, and finally the unwavering love Romeo and Juliet had for one another were all catalysts for the great tragedy.
Many would argue that the tragedy would never have happened if the two families were not feuding anyway. That the Capulet’s and the Montagues’ own revulsion for each other caused the end of their children, and that all of this could have been avoided if only their love was not forbidden. Old Capulet even says it himself, “poor sacrifices of our enmity.” ( 5.3 315) He states in a sorrowful manner right after Romeo and Juliet’s death. By this he means to express his regret over the feud, which he understands is the reason why their children died. Yes, Romeo and Juliet would not have needed to kill themselves if they had not been feuding, that is true, but not the cause of their death.
Although Romeo and Juliet’s parents’ feud was certainly a factor in their demise, it was not the main reason. If the families were not at each other’s throats, then it could be assumed that Rosaline would have accepted Romeo’s love. In which Romeo would never have even loved Juliet, or could have fallen in love with her and taken up a secret affair with her behind Rosaline’s back. Such an act would surely tear both families apart, causing the inevitable feud and maybe even the star-crossed lover’s deaths once more. Romeo is definitely smitten with Rosaline, which he shows when he recites his own poem and states, “She hath Dian’s wit, And, in strong proof of chastity well arm’d, From love’s weak childish bow she lives unharmed. She will not stay the siege of loving terms, Nor bide th’ encounter of assailing eyes, Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.”(1.1.216-222;) His opinion of her is pretty high, and he speaks like a smitten man even when she isn’t interested in him, so perhaps if she was then the outcome would be different.
Friar Lawrence is another character that some would claim guilty of being the reason for Romeo and Juliet’s death. He marries them without their parent’s consent, he doesn’t tell anyone about it, he gives Juliet the poison, his letter is delivered late. All of which are excellent reasons to hold him accountable for the unfortunate end of Romeo and Juliet’s story. Even the Friar was hesitant to indulge Romeo in what he described as, “violent delights.” For he knew that they would have, “violent ends.” (2.6) Although even Romeo and Juliet had moments of clarity, where they were hesitant to proceed with their hasty actions, they were children. Such mistakes could be excused for a child; however not for an adult. Friar had several instances in which he warned both Romeo and Juliet of the consequences of their actions, yet he never acted upon his apprehensions. As an adult, the Friar should have been the one to stop all of the madness in his tracks. However, even with all his misdoings, Friar was not the impetus of the grand devastation of the two lovers’ death.
Romeo and Juliet were both naive and foolish, and Friar Lawrence, being the adult, should not have aided in their misdeeds; nevertheless, he was only an inconsequential piece of the puzzle.
The main aspect of Friar Lawrence’s character was his identity as a friar. His only importance was performing duties of a friar such as marrying Romeo and Juliet. However, he was not the only friar in Verona. His role could have easily been fulfilled by any other friar, if not in Verona, then in Mantua or beyond. It is unsurprising that with Romeo and Juliet’s tenacity they would travel to such lengths to be together. Even Juliet states, “If all else fail, myself have power to die.” (3.5, 243) Juliet means to express the fact that friar or anyone else for that manner will not be her last resort. She will kill herself if she needs to, and that the friar’s aide is unimportant to her if he can not help her achieve her goal. Even if he had not married them or given them any help at all, both Romeo and Juliet would have gone to any means necessary to be together, and if backed into a corner they would have relied on themselves and committed suicide.
Romeo and Juliet are not the only ones who have factored into bringing about their doom. Friar, the Capulets, the Montagues, and a handful of other characters can be blamed for the great tragedy as well; however, Shakespeare makes the fact well known that Romeo and Juliet’s prodigious love became its own demise. In the end, their choice to die was their own, and in the name of love. Perhaps they were not really in love with each other, but in love with the idea of love; or just caught up in the thrill of it all. Whatever it may be, the fact remains the same. Romeo and Juliet made their own choices and shall claim responsibility for their own fate.
Who is Responsible for the Tragedy in Romeo and Juliet
Who to blame?
In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet there are many fingers to point at who could have been the main cause of the deaths of both Romeo Montague, and Juliet Capulet. While there are many people who may have played a small role in their deaths, there is one man who can be seen as the cause for most of the events that led up to the death of the two lovers. That man is Friar Lawrence. Friar Lawrence was the main cause of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because throughout the story he did not act like a very holy man, but was still trusted as one by Romeo and Juliet and he failed them, also because he as a character does not have the qualities of a religious man, and leads the two lovers down the wrong path towards death by joining them in the church and marrying them. A big theme that played a role in how Friar Lawrence was depicted, was that he was not as holy as someone would think he should be, for example, he insulted Romeo when Romeo was thinking about suicide, and he tricked Lord Capulet and Count Paris by telling them he would marry Paris and Juliet, even though he knew that would not be done.
A clear example of Friar Lawrence not being a very righteous and holy man was when he presented the poison to Juliet, and told her how it could be used “Take thou this vial, being then in bed, And this distilling liquor drink thou off; when presently through all thy veins shall run A cold and drowsy humor; for no pulse Shall keep his native progress, but surcease” (Shakespeare 183). This shows the Friar’s not as holy as he should be because he gave Juliet a poison that will be used to trick everyone she knows that she is dead, and her marriage with Paris will be cancelled. This led to her being at the Capulet’s tomb and tricking Romeo that she was dead, which in turn made him kill himself, and then she kill herself.
Friar Lawrence also was to blame for the death of Romeo and Juliet because he set them on the course to their demise. When the Friar saw Romeo really wanted to marry Juliet he married them, even though he knew it would be against the wishes of both of their families, and the two would be in great danger if their families were to ever find out, but he still does it anyways. When he marries the two he knows that it would not be the best idea to marry them, but does it because he believes there to be one good reason to do it “But come, young waverer, come, go with me. In one respect I’ll thy assistant be For this alliance may so happy prove To turn your households’ rancor to pure love.” (Shakespeare 89). He believes in this one reason enough to risk two people’s lives since he knows it is illegal for Montagues and Capulets to be interacting and they may be killed for doing so. Him marrying the two even though it is the wrong thing to do shows he is not a man of the best character, and that his judgment is not right, and it was his fault that the two died because he was the one that gave them hope that they could stay married and was the one that married them in the first place, which made them want to stay together, which in turn led them to find each other dead and kill themselves. These reasons prove that Friar Lawrence was the main cause of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because he, throughout the story did not act how a holy man like himself should, but was still trusted as one by Romeo and Juliet and he failed them because of their incorrect judgment, and also because he as a character does not have the qualities of a religious man and leads the two lovers down the wrong path towards death by marrying them.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture
Romeo and Juliet Overture is one of the most significant works by Peter IIyich Tchaikovsky, a prominent Russian composer whose dominated the late 1900s. In 1868, after completing his first symphony and opera, Tchaikovsky composed a symphonic poem dubbed Fatum. It was a dedication to his friend and mentor, Balakirev and he so happened to send it to him to conduct in St.Petersburg. Balakirev was a composer, pianist and great promoter of Russian nationalism through music. Today, he is best remembered for his association with famous Russian composers during his time. It is important to note that the public did not receive well the premier of Fatum, which became a source of worry for Balakirev.
Balakirev wrote a letter discussing the weaknesses of this particular work and encouraging Tchaikovsky to write another piece based on William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo, and Juliet. Balakirev also gave him lots of suggestions on how he should structure Romeo and Juliet, and the type of music that he should use for this play. The performance of the first version of the Romeo and Juliet Overture was in 1869. However, the reception among the general public and music aficionados was mild, further disappointing Tchaikovsky. In 1870, he undertook extensive work that would involve the revision of most parts of the overture as per Balakirev’s criticisms; but the results still did not satisfy him. In 1880, 10 years after completing the second version, Tchaikovsky would return to the Romeo and Juliet Overture piece; and rewrite the ending of the work. For instance, the coda of this new piece was completely new, thus the existence of the Romeo and Juliet Overture in three versions (the last one being the current repertoire)version. This work is considered as Tchaikovsky’s first magnum opus.
Many experts in the field of music describe Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet piece as an overture-fantasia and it is based on Shakespeare’s tragedy going by the same title. The tragedy centers around two smitten lovers who decide to ultimately commit suicide when the feuding families refuse to approve of their relationship. Like other artists during his time, Tchaikovsky’s inspiration came from Shakespear’s works and would use themes from his works as the basis for his music. Tchaikovsky’s overture is in one movement and lasts around 20 minutes during the performance. This overture is written for a large orchestra, consisting of a piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, a French horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, a tuba, timpani, percussion instruments, a harp, and strings. The overture is in the form of an extended sonata form, a common feature of music from among European composers. A Sonata form consists of the exposition(first subject, transition, a second subject, codetta), development, Recapitulation(first subject, transition, second subject) and a coda. Three main themes are taken from the storyline detail this piece and will be put under analysis in this paper.
Themes From The Romeo And Juliet Tragedy
The first theme found in this tragedy is the theme of Friar Lawrence’s piety. Friar Lawrence acts as an adviser and a voice of reason to both Romeo and Juliet. Other characters in the play also seem to trust him highly. The mood in this theme is calm, encouraging and uplifting. However, the atmosphere becomes tense and violent as the story continues. The Friar Lawrence theme is in the Introductory part of this piece (b1-111). Four major ideas come out in this theme. It starts with the first idea, a chorale, played by clarinets and bassoons in the F minor it. The second idea, in the form of a motif in the bass section with a chromatic harmony and repeated in the treble. The third idea is yet another motif that starts at b21, with a new key signature. A rising sequential pattern with a chain of suspensions in the woodwinds, a descending pattern of 3rds in the cellos are involved in this motif. The fourth idea(b28-37) follows immediately in the form of a sequence of sustained chords and with some receiving the accompaniment of harps rising harps and arpeggios.
After 3 bars of passage as a link, the chorale theme returns to b41. However, at this time, the theme shifts and is slightly different from the first chorale. It also receives accompaniment from more instruments which include pizzicato strings, among others. The second(b51) and third motifs(b61) then return respectively. The fourth motif similarly returns with an accompaniment of violins. At b78, the key signature changes, signaled by the stringendo and accelerando modes. The second passage containing a motif follows at b78 in A minor. At b86, a modified form of the chorale theme follows, with the climax appearing at b90. The A minor key then modulates to F sharp major over the next six bars(b97). There is the development of another passage based on the second motif as a link to the first subject of Exposition. The key of B minor begins at b105 and it is played by woodwind and strings section.
The second theme represents the conflict between the Capulet and Montague families. In this section, a loud pulsating 4-bar music is used to represent the strife. As the story darkens, this the music becomes louder and more incessant; ominously interrupting the other theme. Generally, this strong theme does not change throughout the whole piece, perhaps depicting the immovable presence of the feuding families till the end. The location of the theme is the first subject of exposition. The main theme(B1) is played in a tutti and it has strong, syncopated rhythms. Another theme(B2) appears at b115 and has rising semiquaver scales in the violin section. Then a third idea(B3) develops at b120. A passage of development that’s based on a new motif(B4) follows at b122 that’s accompanied by violins and syncopated rhythms. Then, A modified form of A1 is played by woodwind and lower strings in the key of D(b126) and G minor(b130) respectively. Starting from b135, idea A4 reappears and its inversions are played by woodwind and strings; then it modulates to a tonic in B minor. A passage that is based on A2 is then followed by scales in the strings, tonic chords in the wind and brass. At the end of the first subject, A1, A2, and A3 are all played respectively.
Transition lasts from b161 to b183. A modulating chord progression can be heard at b163, which then modulates to the dominant chord in D major at b164. Materials based on B4 can be heard throughout the rest of transition. In this section, a diminuendo and syncopated chords can be heard in the accompanying chords. At b183, transition rests on the dominant 7th chord in D major.
Lastly, we have the theme of love, which is the most famous part of this work. We find this theme in the second subject of exposition, which has two major ideas. The first idea is the well-known love theme melody (C1), which is played by a French horn and muted violas. The bass line of this melody is provided by the bassoon, pizzicato cellos, and the double bass section. After the end of the first melody, the second love theme melody (C2) starts at b194, with the sound of a soft chord progression played by muted string in D flat major. A chromatic harmony and crescendo swiftly follows and develops into a modified form of the first love theme melody. The woodwind section then plays the melody with quaver movements in the strings and the motif in the horn section. The climax is achieved at b234, which is followed by a rapid diminuendo for a repeat of the first love theme melody at 235.
After the end of the second subject of Exposition, the codetta lasts from b243 to 272. In this section, a chordal figure is played by the harp in chromatic harmonies; an expansive melody from the bassoon and English horn then follow. It is also noteworthy to mention the many augmented 6th chords are involved in the whole codetta.The development follows at b273, which is very similar to the First Subject. The main motifs used include B1, B2, and the Chorale theme. A dramatic climax is reached at b335 where two trumpets play the Chorale theme in unison and fragments of A1 are played by the rest of the orchestra. A repeat of b143-150 follows, then leads to the recapitulation. The recapitulation starts with the return of B1, B2, and B3 respectively. Semiquaver scales can also be heard from the violins, which give the music an unsettling atmosphere. A gradual crescendo follows as C1 appears in the key of D major. This crescendo continues as C1 undergoes further development until a massive climax is reached at b410. Then the development continues again with B1. Another climax is reached at b436 after a long and gradual crescendo with more materials from the first subject starting at b446; this section ends with more emphasis in the bass instruments on a dominant note(484). A fortissimo on the timpani at 482 can be heard clearly, representing the death of the two lovers.
The last section of Romeo and Juliet Overture is Coda(b485-522). The first part of Coda is similar to a funeral march(b485-493). With repeated pizzicato Bs in the double bass and an insidious drumbeat from the timpani being heard at the same time. In addition to this, the strings play the famous love theme melody. A sad Chorale(b494-509) is then played by the woodwind with an inversion of the B3 motif. The theme of love is depicted at the last time(b510-518) with a chromatic bass line and syncopated chords from the woodwind section. B major chords are repeated multiple times at the end of this work, which resonates with the B minor chords at the beginning. At this moment, the atmosphere is solemn and mournful, which is entirely converse to the one at the beginning. David Brown, a music scholar on Tchaikovsky, describe the ending of this work in the as “… a succession of fierce tonic chords that harshly recalls the fatal feud in which two young lives were broken; the warring families now stand transfixed, the repeated chords no longer suggesting at the end of the introduction, an imminent explosion of ferocious strife is heard..”
It is very clear that the three sections of this work present the three themes musically: the Friar Laurence, strife, and famous love theme. Tchaikovsky uses various techniques, dynamic and instrument to present the themes in order to evoke different emotions from the audience. Tchaikovsky makes a deliberate effort to bring popular evocations that previous Shakespearean repertory to light through music. It is worth noting that Tchaikovsky makes no effort in tracing the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet, but instead uses music for this purpose. The focus in Tchaikovsky’s overture has the three elements found in the drama as it’s epicenter. The long introductory segment, for instance, serves the purpose of conveying a sense of spirituality that is resigned that goes hand in hand with Friar Laurence’s overall demeanor. The love that these two lovers share is represented by the soaring melody that dominates the whole overture.
It is remarkable how Tchaikovsky chooses to present a number of moods and characters with contrasting musical melodies instead of presenting the events in the play in the order of their occurrences. In the opening segment of the piece, a serene bassoon, and clarinet play a melody that is meant to signify the presence of Friar Laurence, a friend, and ally to the two. The music soon shifts to a rather chaotic them, suggesting the violence that exists between the Capulet and Montague families. Tchaikovsky is always introducing the soaring theme melody that represents the love that exists between these two lovers as the musical work of art progresses from love, violence and finally to the sense of urgency reprised in a minor key that signals their approaching deaths. The conclusion piece contains Friar Laurence’s theme that is quite melancholy (he arrives late in the play and is unable to prevent the two suicides).
Everything about Tchaikovsky’s `work of art is intriguing to the audience, to say the least. The overture is written in a sonata form which is quite uncommon.Tchaikovsky also gives his work a name(Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture) that would most certainly encourage more listeners to use their imagination in regard to the events and personalities that are found in the play. As mentioned earlier, Tchaikovsky decided to dedicate the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture to his friend Balakirev because it was him who gave him the confidence that he lacked to compose this piece in his own style. It was this confidence that was responsible for the productivity that Tchaikovsky exhibited in the coming years. All the musical themes found in Tchaikovsky’s work, Romeo and Juliet, have a direct connection to the characters that are found in Shakespeare’s play. The musical theme also clearly express situations, personalities, feelings and relationships.
Tchaikovsky was also very careful when choosing the arrangement of the themes in his work. The introductory theme, for example, was a chorale that sounded tranquil together with the peaceful atmosphere it brought and was specifically chosen to portray a great sense of unease and tension. The subject in the first theme of overture involving strife portrays the bickering that can occur between opposing families and the effects it may have on development. Tchaikovsky also does a good job at harnessing the power of the theme of love with great results. The repetition of the melody, signifying the love that exists between Romeo and Juliet, is an indication that it would endure till the end. Additionally, the choice of instruments used was solely meant to evoke certain emotions from the audience. For instance, harp chords that are normally played to herald peace are played during the funeral of the two lovers. During the end of the overture, the syncopated B major chords that are played in the last four bars are meant to create a hint of the unease that was yet to come. All was not well with the two families that were left behind.
It was this sweeping and lush work that was written in 1869 that set a kind of standard in the notion of what the public referred to as love music. It is evident from the composition that Tchaikovsky did not want words in his version of the Shakespearean tragedy, but only wanted a series of instrumental music as felt that words were too limiting for his form of expression. Other experts in Tchaikovsky’s works are of the opinion that the overture represents a love duet that contains occasional interruptions. A beautiful story of two lovers was thus responsible for inspiring a composer. Love was responsible for the creation of this masterpiece, thus showing the profound effect that love has on the society and people’s lives and the decisions that they make during their lifetime.
There are various instances I the overture where there are overt signs being given by the symbols available. The Engish horns that are played represent Romeo while Juliet is represented by the various flutes. Tchaikovsky was a typical classical composer who spent nearly 20 years to complete his work. His version of Romantic music was more concerned with the expression and fantasy part as opposed to the structure of the music he was making. From his use of themes that are inspired by characters from Shakespear’s indicates that he was a Romantic composer who was capable of implementing the use of a great orchestra imaginatively. Furthermore, the use of beautiful melodies that are lyrical in nature with contrasting textures, tempos and keys (Brown). The creative use of classical structures that are expanded and unexpected keys also serve to improve the beauty of the overture.
The final product of Tchaikovsky’s composition was an all-inclusive form of music that encompassed the themes of turmoil, love and dark tomblike town passages.
Tchaikovsky tries to relate a tale of two children that are full of innocent love who are now caught up in a desperate, tragic love (Wright 254). Daring to love, and to love truly and purely becomes their only crime, firing Tchaikovsky’ imagination that led him to equally compose an overture that was far from being ordinary. It did not follow the initial arrangement of the themes in the original work and did not include any lyrics in the music that he wrote. He was also successful at capturing the tension and the overall drama that found in the play in a one-of-a-kind way. His novel approach in composing this intricate work of art was able to turn a simple popular play into a symphonic poem.
What makes this composition interesting to music aficionados is that Tchaikovsky simply decides to translate a Shakespearean play to a linear music narrative. He picks his themes and ideas from the plot of the story and is able to brilliantly illustrate them in color. Tchaikovsky does a good job at building and maintaining anticipation with his style of adding foreboding music to the begin of the overture. He does not end his musical composition abruptly either or on a down note. There is the presence of an apotheosis towards the end which symbolizes the notion that Romeo and Juliet would continue to live and endure forever in the minds, heart or souls of people. The exist as innocent lovers who paid the ultimate price for loving without bounds and with all that they had. Love prevailed.
A Study on the Role of Juliet As Depicted In the Movies by Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann
Juliet Character Analysis
Perhaps among the most dismal of passages in all of history is the final scene of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare. In this scene, Act 5, Scene 3, Romeo, who believes Juliet to be dead, visits the tomb where her body rests, encountering Paris outside (Shakespeare 5. 3. 1-69). They fight with their swords, and Romeo kills him before entering the tomb and finding Juliet (Shakespeare 5. 3. 70-108). He drinks his poison and is found dead by Friar Laurence just as Juliet is awakening (Shakespeare 5. 3. 109-172). The friar, frightened by a noise, leaves Juliet alone with her dead husband, where she desperately stabs herself and dies (Shakespeare 5. 3. 173-184). Romeo and Juliet has been the subject of several film adaptations, including Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1997). These two directors approach this poignant scene in starkly contrasting ways, specifically how they interpret Juliet’s character. Zeffirelli views Juliet as a determined, yet somewhat impulsive girl, while Luhrmann imagines her to be more level-headed.
Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet is set in the same place and time period as the play: 14th century Verona, Italy. Originally, this scene begins with Romeo meeting, and eventually killing, Paris outside the Capulet tomb. However, Zeffirelli chose to exclude this part of the scene. Possible reasons this was done could be that he wanted to focus on the tragedy of the lovers in the final moments of the movie, or that he didn’t wish to villainize Romeo when he is supposedly mourning. Instead, Zeffirelli begins the scene with the events following Paris’s death. Romeo enters the dim, dank room in search of Juliet. He passes several other dead bodies before finding her. She is wearing a gold long-sleeved dress and headpiece, both decorated with beads. A sheer white sheet covers her, and the delicate plucking of a harp plays the movie’s theme as Romeo pulls it back. He gazes fondly upon her and remarks how beautiful she is, even in death. His eyes lift from Juliet and fall on the deceased Tybalt, whom he had killed in Act 3 (Shakespeare 3. 1. 140-145). He apologizes sincerely, then returns to Juliet. He buries his head in the sheet covering her and sobs. The music rises and falls again before reaching its climax when Romeo drinks from the vial of poison. He takes Juliet’s hand in his and kisses it. “Thus with a kiss I die,” he says as he falls dead (Shakespeare 5. 3. 123). With his dying breath, Romeo states that his last action will be a gesture of love.
Moments later, Friar Laurence arrives and finds Romeo’s lifeless body on the ground (Zeffirelli). As the friar mourns this new loss, Juliet’s fingers begin to move and she wakes up slowly. Despite the friar’s best efforts to bring Juliet away from the scene, she catches sight of Romeo. Friar Laurence pulls her arm hurriedly, but she refuses to leave. “I dare no longer stay!” he shouts several times, exiting hastily (Shakespeare 5. 3. 172). He doesn’t wish to leave Juliet, but he knows that if he doesn’t come away now, he will be caught by the night watch. The music speeds up and becomes louder before stopping suddenly, leaving Juliet in silence as she walks slowly towards Romeo, her face plastered with horror and shock. She comes to kneel beside him, resting his head in her hands and finding the small vial. After concluding that Romeo had drunk poison from the vial, she frantically brings it to her lips, only to find it empty. “O churl! drank all, and left no friendly drop to help me after?” she says, pained (Shakespeare 5. 3. 176-177). She is angry with Romeo for not leaving some poison for her. Just as Romeo was suicidal when told Juliet is dead, Juliet wishes to kill herself now as well. She kisses him in hopes that there is still some poison left on his lips. She pulls away, however, with a look of anguish, saying, “Thy lips are warm” (Shakespeare 5. 3. 180)! Juliet knows that only minutes ago, Romeo was alive. To have had her dream come so close to reality, only to be abruptly cut short, is a miserable realization for Juliet. She weeps, clinging to Romeo and wailing. Shouting voices from outside pull her from her love. Knowing that people will soon be entering the room, Juliet yells lividly. She spies Romeo’s dagger and snatches it up, determined. “O happy dagger!” she exclaims, “This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die” (Shakespeare 5. 3. 182-183). Welcoming death, she thrusts the blade into her stomach and moans. She dies with her head resting on Romeo’s shoulder, signifying her desire to die with him.
While Zeffirelli altered a few aspects of this scene, Luhrmann greatly transformed it. Most notably, he changed the setting from Italy during the Renaissance, to L.A. in the 1990s. Though he modernized the setting of the story, he did not do so with the script, choosing instead to quote Shakespeare directly. Like Zeffirelli, Luhrmann did not include Romeo’s fight with Paris. However, unlike Zeffirelli, Luhrmann has in its place Romeo taking a man hostage with his gun while the police are chasing him. Luhrmann might have done this to show how desperate Romeo was in that instant. Another element Luhrmann changed was Juliet’s resting place. Originally, she is laid in the Capulet tomb. In Luhrmann’s film, she is placed in a church. After Romeo releases his hostage, he enters this church and follows a pathway flanked by neon crosses. The music, which had previously been absent, begins to shift from a barely audible note to high-pitched singing similar to opera, growing louder as Romeo nears Juliet at the end of the pathway. Rising in intensity, the music heightens the suspense of the scene while also exuding a sense of solemnity. Juliet, wearing a white long-sleeved gown reminiscent of a wedding dress, is surrounded by numerous candles and holds a small bouquet of flowers. Viewing this picture, I feel that Romeo is being mocked, because this scene would be identical to that of a wedding if Juliet were alive. Romeo sits beside her and strokes her face and hair adoringly, saying, “My love. My wife. Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath, hath had no power yet upon thy beauty” (Shakespeare 5. 3. 94-96). Romeo whispers these words, amazed that Juliet’s beauty has not been affected by her death. After these lines, in the original play and in Zeffirelli’s film, Romeo notices the dead Tybalt. However, as this scene is set in a church and not a tomb, Tybalt’s body is elsewhere, and this event does not occur in Luhrmann’s adaptation. Luhrmann possibly wanted to focus solely on the two main characters in this, their last scene.
After speaking fondly to Juliet once more, Romeo breaks off the ring hanging from his neck and places it on her finger, again echoing a wedding (Luhrmann). In this movie, Juliet begins to awaken before Romeo dies, another divergence from the play. Her fingers twitch as Romeo utters his final monologue, retrieving his vial of poison. As he puts it to his lips, Juliet’s eyes flutter open. When she first sees Romeo, she smiles contentedly. Still somewhat asleep, Juliet fails to realize what Romeo is doing and strokes his face. She is too late, though, as the poison has already passed his lips. Romeo turns to her in shock, grabbing her hand, and the music rises to accentuate the tragedy unfolding. Juliet, now fully awake, looks on in confusion as Romeo starts convulsing. After discovering the empty vial, she exclaims, “Drank all, and left no friendly drop to help me after” (Shakespeare 5. 3. 176-177)? When Romeo doesn’t answer she whispers, “I will kiss thy lips. Haply some poison yet doth hang on them” (Shakespeare 5. 3. 177-178). Juliet, unable to cope with the thought of living without Romeo, decides she would rather die, so she kisses him in an effort to ingest enough poison to kill her. Romeo faintly replies with, “Thus with a kiss I die” (Shakespeare 5. 3. 123). Seconds after murmuring this, his head falls to the side, lifeless. Juliet stares at him, tears forming in her eyes. She turns away, and a ragged sob escapes her lips. She is completely silent as she perceives Romeo’s gun and carefully handles it. She observes the weapon, as if deliberating whether or not to use it. Juliet cannot see a way to go on without Romeo, so ultimately she decides to act upon her feelings. She delicately places the gun to her temple and looks up, acknowledging the severity of her actions. Her prolonged silence combined with the absence of any music emphasizes the seriousness of the scene and causes the viewer to feel solemn. The camera cuts from Juliet to an angle farther away, encompassing the entire church, as a gunshot is heard and Juliet’s body slumps forward. The camera returns to the two at an odd angle and pulls out slowly, showing Juliet lying beside Romeo, as peaceful music begins to play softly.
Franco Zeffirelli’s interpretation of Juliet produces a character who acts impulsively, while Baz Luhrmann characterizes her as sensible and coolheaded. In Zeffirelli’s film Juliet, without much thought, tries to kill herself by drinking poison from the vial and shouts out in frustration when that doesn’t work. She seems more strongly affected by Romeo’s death than Luhrmann’s Juliet, who appears somber and contemplative when she puts the gun to her head. Luhrmann’s Juliet is careful, while Zeffirelli’s Juliet is a bit melodramatic. One can conclude from these examples that art is subjective. These directors created two distinct portrayals of a single character from Romeo and Juliet. Although different these two Juliets are both completely valid, because they employ the same information from the original play.