Let’s Read Play’s theme for this month is tragedy, and I have picked one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies of all time: Romeo and Juliet. Although I‘m not a fan of romance story, least of all teenagers romances, I braced myself to give a try on this particular play. Well, I must say that my instinct has never failed me before, and it doesn’t this time also. It turns out that I could not enjoy this play, and it didn’t move me like Julius Caesar did me, for instance.
First of all, I am annoyed by the harsh—and sometimes very vulgar too—humour Shakespeare put in this play. I know that somehow it is his style, but I think it has come at an annoying point this time. Maybe it’s because I have been expecting ‘Romeo and Juliet’ comes as a romantic yet tragic love story, that there would be flowery sentences and paragraphs. They do appear of course, but especially in the beginning, there are also harassing comments or insults from Romeo and Mercutio around sexual topics. And as this has happened in the very early Act, it diminished my mood (and respect) to read the rest.
What interesting me is the eternal hostility of two Houses in Verona: Montague and Capulet. The play can portray very well how each of the families took their hostility; how the youngsters especially, were eager to ignite strife whenever they met the enemies. It is in the situation that Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet found themselves in love. And apparently, the hostility of the two families could only be resolved by the two teenager’s sacrifice. It’s quite ironic, considering that these two youngsters were merely thinking about their passionate love, but from them the adults would have to learn much about the real meaning of ‘love’.
Considering that this is about teenagers’ love, the story is as ridiculous as you could have expected, but I think the plot is interesting; how the mistiming and misunderstanding caused the tragedy. It’s only proving how love can sometimes be blind for naïve (or foolish?) people. Three stars for this tragic play—which did not really moved me, honestly…
Right after finishing the play, I jumped to the movie adaptation. I picked Baz Luhrmann’s version, partly because that’s the only one I had (:D), and partly because I was curious to see the earlier collaboration of Baz Luhrmann and Leonardo diCaprio (before The Great Gatsby).
I’ve already known that the movie would be in modern settings, before I watched it, so I was a bit surprised to see that Luhrmann only alter the settings, but not the dialogues! The dialogues were really picked from the original play, and that makes the whole movie is really unique. Listening to those punk boys speak in Shakespearean language was weird but interesting.
Here Leonardo diCaprio is in his earliest career, and this movie shows distinctly the difference with his present acting. However, I think he plays Romeo quite convincingly as the waverer and sentimental young man. The rest of the stars are not very prominent, except for Harold Perrineau, Jr who plays as Mercutio, who is the most interesting character in this movie.
One of my favorite scenes is Juliet’s tomb—which in this case doesn’t look at all like a tomb. It is very eloquent and glamour (typical Baz Luhrmann, of course), and the scene of Romeo and Juliet in their last agony is superb! Only while watching Romeo drinks the poison not knowingly that Juliet is stirring beside him, and Romeo’s expression when he knows the truth, that I am really moved. So in this case, for me, the movie has enlightened the play rather than the other way round. 7 to 10 is my final rating for this adaptation.
I read the ebook version from Feedbooks dot com
This book is counted for:
May theme of Let’s Read Plays: Shakespeare’s tragedy
5th book for Back to the Classics 2013
11th book for What’s in A Name Reading Challenge 2013
43rd for The Classics Club
I watched the movie for Books Into Movies Monthly Meme #6