Thursday, November 28, 2019
Consider both the text and film versions Essay Example
Consider both the text and film versions Essay Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeares greatest literary works and regarded as one of the best and most popular plays. The story is, of course, about a pair of star-crossed lovers. Two teenagers pursue their love for each other despite the fact that their families have been at odds with each other for decades. The story combines sword fighting, disguise, misunderstanding, tragedy, humour, and some of the most romantic language found in Shakespeares work. It was originally written in 1595 and since this time there have been many publications and film adaptations. Mercutio whose name is derived form the adjective mercurial (which means unpredictable, erratic and fast thinker) is, as his name suggests: lively, quick witted and high spirited. He is a cheerful young man with a high sense of humour, which sometimes stretches into bawdy humour. Mercutio is often used as a contrast to Romeo in terms of character and wit. He thinks love is drivelling and has no patience with Romeos infatuation for Rosaline. He loves life and wants to enjoy it as much as he can. It is in this sense that in the film adaptation he is portrayed exactly like this, very spontaneous in his thoughts and actions and full of youth. We will write a custom essay sample on Consider both the text and film versions specifically for you for only $16.38 $13.9/page Order now We will write a custom essay sample on Consider both the text and film versions specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer We will write a custom essay sample on Consider both the text and film versions specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer In the text version however, we see him as more of an intellect as his character isnt exaggerated, whereas most of his language seems like hyperbole. This is in stark contrast to the film, only the most important segments of his speeches have been included and instead we see more of a focus on the theatrical element to his character. In the film his role becomes more apparent later on as a front to hide his insecurity and doubts about Romeos infatuation with Juliet and (at first) Rosaline. It is important to understand his role in the play and how his character contributes to the flow of the play. Mercutio can be described as the trigger for tragedy. Mercutios impact on the play is immediate in both the film and text versions. Instead of any lengthy time being spent to develop his character in the film, instead his appearance has a very immediate impact and the first impressions are of a pompous and headstrong person. In the film adaptation he pulls up in his car, with the stereo playing music very loudly, he comes just before the scene of the Capulets fancy dress party. His pompous and comical impact is strengthened by the dress that he wears in the film, that of a drag queen. This scene is very important for the audience, as it is the impression that we get of Mercutio. During this scene many things are said but the speech that is most significant is that of the description by Mercutio of Queen Mab. Here we see Mercutios intellect and skill with language heightened and shown to such an extent that the speech stands out as being very imaginative, fluent and original. It was something that he created in his own head and Queen Mab was a totally fictional character. Oh then I see Queen Mab hath been with you. She is the fairies midwife and she comes in shape no bigger than an agate stone. This speech, in both the text and film version is the pinnacle of all advice that Mercutio will ever give to Romeo and its importance is misunderstood as Romeo does not heed many of the thoughts, however, the speech will be confusing to audiences who will find it difficult to interpret and it works to such an effect that we see Mercutio as it was intended, a mysterious character, unpredictable and ecstatic. He has a vivid imagination, as can be seen from his rich portrayal of Queen Mab. In his description of Queen Mab, his subject changes from fantasy to hard reality, revealing his cynical view towards life. Mercutio believes in his own ideals and stands up for his own rights. By my heel, I care not and I will not budge for no mans pleasure are two examples of this. He is also frank and can take a laugh at himself, admitting that True, I talk of dreams after the speech on Queen Mab. We see a significant mastery in the art of language from Mercutio, which stands out particularly in the text version. Mercutio often uses rich and sophisticated language, which I find very intriguing as it contradicts the nature of his character, that of a rash and unpredictable person. Language, by far, is the most intriguing and exciting aspect of Mercutios character. Prince of cats courageous captain of compliment (act 2 scene 4) in this speech the description is very elaborate, rich, and sophisticated and these are very common and come to be expected from Mercutio. Here in this speech we see a lot of technical elements being included such as the use of Italian words and musical knowledge pessado, minim. Here we see much of his knowledge of other cultures being used and he is dominant in this speech. This knowledge would be very highly regarded and looked upon by audiences in Shakespearian times and would provide a certain respect for the character. We see more examples of Mercutios knowledge of other languages and culture and this is apparent in Act 2;Scene 4: Dido a dowdy, Cleopatra a gipsy, Helen and Hero hildings and harlots. Here he names some of the famous women of myth and history, Dido being queen of Carthage, Hero as Priest of Sestos and so on. Nonethele ss, as irrelevant as it may seem it is nonetheless very impressive. His language throughout the play is also full of sexual innuendo and, as shown above, allusions and references to myth and legends such as this example from Act 2;Scene 1: an open caetera, thou art a paperin pear! Another example of sexual references is in Act 2;Scene 1 where Mercutios own attitudes of sexual desire are in a complete contrast to Romeos want for love. And wish his mistress were that of a kind fruit. As maids call medlars when they laugh alone Here is just one example of sexual reference by using the term medlar to refer to an open arse. This would have gone down extremely well with audiences in Shakespearian times due to its vulgarity and attempt at humour in which the likes of these quotes were popular then. However, this use of sexual innuendo is just a disguise for his real feelings. Mercutio is extremely loyal to Romeo and we do not see the full extent of his loyalty until his tragic demise. We see him talking about Romeo in Act 2;Scene 4 where when speaking to Be nvolio he expresses his concerns for Romeo Ah, that same hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline, torments him so, that he will sure run mad. In addition to the styles and extent of language used, Shakespeare makes the play all the more interesting by the use of iambic pentameter. This style of writing is almost like a harmonious piece of poetry. The iambic pentameter is used to symbolise how the characters are feeling and also their status in society. For example, we would see all the nobles talking in blank verse whereas the everyday street folk would not and instead talk in prose. The use of this element signifies status but also friendship. Iambic pentameter is a line of 10 syllables, no more and no less. In the early parts of the play we see Romeo and Mercutio completing each others Iambic Pentameter with each of the characters saying sentences of 5 syllables and the other completing the rhythm one example of this is in Act 1; Scene 4: Well what was yours? (Romeo) That Dreamers often Lie (Mercutio). We see this use of iambic pentameter diminish as the play progresses and the two friends move further apart in friendship. Other variations to this style of language can be used to create a certain effect As A Rich Jewel here irregular iambic pentameter is used by Mercutio to show that he is gob-smacked signified by the single stretched beats. The use of Iambic Pentameter cannot be understood until it is looked into in-depth as its use and the nature in which it is presented is amazing and very complex. For example, Romeo and Juliet are both mutually supportive of each other whilst talking: If I profane with my unworthiest hands (Romeo) you do wrong your hand too much (Juliet). Here they bolster and compliment each others confidence. A sonnet is formed due to there being rhyming all the way throughout this conversation. Motifs are also used to a similar extent, especially by Romeo where we see in Act 2; Scene 1 Romeo constantly referring to light and angelical references to love: dove, angel, heaven; stars; purity just like we see Mercutio using exclamation marks and hyperbole very regularly. The use of language, therefore, is very central to the presentation as it stands out particularly in the text version as being fluent, very dynamic and varied. The use of metaphors and imagery are used widely in the text As a rich jewel in Ethiops ear. Metaphors, puns, and the dynamic diversity of the styles of writing used are very crucial to the presentation. It is in this sense that we see Mercutio as a very quick witted and intelligent person with constant references to historical events, myth and foreign culture in his speeches. It is important to remember that the actual text version was originally intended for audiences in 1595 and that in the film adaptation by Baz Luhrmann we see a slight differentiation and the film ventures more into modern day culture. This is immediately apparent by presenting Verona as a bustling modern metropolis. A lot of pictorial devices are used at the beginning to highlight important aspects to the films introduction. The introduction to the film is loud and modern in style with cut away camera shots being used to introduce the characters. After this energetic and lively introduction pandemonium immediately ensues with an action sequence setting the scene. This action sequence represents the duel between the servants, Abram and Sampson, at the beginning of the play, which would have been highly amusing to audiences of old. As mentioned before the references to sex and vulgarity were always popular amongst audiences in those times who werent always very educated. Poor-John here Gregory is insulting Sampsons virility. In this part of the scene there are constant references to sex. Due to the complex nature of the language however, it is not used to this extent in the film adaptation. Instead Luhrmann has focused on the action element to the film to make it familiar and appealing to all audiences rather than make it complex and frustrating for audiences. It is in this sense that I believe that Luhrmann has done a great job in blending Shakespearian elements, the play, and the language with a modern backdrop, influence and attitude. Luhrmann has managed to blend many aspects of the text version into the film such as the use of old Shakespearian language, which surprisingly does not seem out of place in the film. One example of this is the use of bawdy humour and insults. Without his roe, like a dried herring: O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified! (Act 2; Scene 4). Mercutio and Romeo exchange witty insults until the Nurse appears, at which time Mercutio begins to make fun of her. An old hare hoar Mercutio continues to insult the nurse and displays a low degree of etiquette, something that may surprise audiences initially, but when we look closer towards his attitudes towards women it becomes more apparent. He and Benvolio finally leave Romeo alone with the Nurse, but Mercutios bawdy witticisms have so upset her that she asks Romeo, I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant was this, that was so full of his ropery [knavery]? (Act 2;Scene 4). Romeo explains that Mercutio is just a man who likes to hear him-self talk, and who doesnt mean most of what he says. This is just one of the aspects that Luhrmann has successfully managed to transform into the film. Mercutio was Romeos dearest friend, and he took it upon himself to defend Romeo from any harm. When Romeo was depressed about his unrequited love to Rosaline, Mercutio tries to get Romeo to forget about this hurtful love I prick love for pricking, and you beat love down. This shows Mercutios attempt to protect Romeo from hurtful love by telling him to forget it all together. Such is the case when Romeo falls in love with Juliet. Though the love itself is not hurtful to Romeo, the feuding of the two families over the affair will be. Mercutio foresees the turmoil this love affair could bring and expresses his fears to Romeo. This is very important to the story because in expressing his fears for Romeo, Mercutio also foreshadows the tragedy that is to come. It is in Act 3; Scene 1 that we see the death of Mercutio. Benvolio and Mercutio are lingering out on the streets of Verona, but Benvolio is a little nervous. He knows the Capulets are coming, And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl; / for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring (Act 3; Scene 1). Apparently Mercutio doesnt want to believe that his friend is afraid of a fight, so he tries to kid Benvolio into a different frame of mind. He says Benvolio is like a fellow who goes into a tavern, slaps his sword on the table and says loudly that he hopes he doesnt have to use that sword. Mercutio is angered by Romeos mildness and Tybalts pretentious ways of being the dominant aggressor. Mercutio, being easily riled, rash and impulsive, challenges Tybalt for a word and a blow and subsequently duels with Tybalt even though Tybalt was not interested in fighting Mercutio. Even throughout the fighting we see Mercutios use of technical language Romeo then seeing the intensity of the confrontation decides to try to stop the fight. It is at this point when Tybalt gives Mercutio his death wound. Even as he is dying, Mercutio can still pun about himself and his fate. He says, Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man (Act 3; Scene 1). Mercutio, who is always joking and never grave, will be grave tomorrow. Then the senselessness of it all comes rushing upon him. He curses the houses of Capulet and Montague; he curses Tybalt, and asks Romeo, Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm (Act 3; Scene 1). Romeo answers that he was only trying to do what he thought best, but Mercutio isnt listening. He asks Benvolio to help him into a house before he collapses, and as Benvolio does so, Mercutio continues to curse A plague o both your houses! They have made worms meat of me: I have it, and soundly too. Your Houses! Here Mercutio, seeing that all has been in vain by referring to worms meat, curses both their houses as his peace has been shattered and destroyed and he sees his best friend Romeo as a traitor upon his death. It is at this point that we (the audience) realise the true importance of Mercutio in this dramatised segment of the play. Mercutios rash actions eventually got the better of him and his pent up emotions ultimately led to his demise. If Shakespeare were to make Mercutio a little bit calmer and tranquil as a character these events would never have taken place therefore, as I have mentioned before Mercutio is the trigger for tragedy. It is his death that instigates the chain reaction of tragic events that subsequently occur. Mercutio is central to the audiences enjoyment of the play as his character was essential as a driving force in the play. He affected the book in three ways: By foreseeing the trouble that would come from Romeos affair and thereby foreshadowing the impending doom to come in the play; his character contrasted with that of Romeos; and Mercutios death so enraged Romeo, that he slew Tybalt which lead to Romeos banishment, and ultimately, his death. Therefore Mercutios character in the play was one who was necessary to foreshadow tragedy, and ultimately, to cause it. His presentation is of utmost importance in developing his character in the film and a sense of ambiguity and importance surround him. He is an integral part of the play bringing wit, intrigue, and humour to both the text and film versions and for that we appreciate Mercutio.