Essential Question: What strategies might help us to better understand drama and, specifically, Shakespeare’s plays?
Who will read the following today:
The Prologue, Friar Lawrence, Friar Lawrence, Nurse, Mercutio, Benvolio, Romeo, Juliet, Peter. and Narrator.
I. Do Now: Read the following:
Key Words. In responding to last week’s comparison and contrast of the two film interpretations of Romeo and Juliet a number of words came up that are important to our further discussion. We might use the following ( medieval, contemporary, lute...) to convey the specifics of Luhrmann’s and Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare set this tragedy in the 14th century; that was during medieval times. The costumes that the characters wear are typical of the medieval period. Men wearing tights and slippers was normal then. Women wear layers of dresses and form fitting bodices. Both men and women have detachable sleeves. The men wear something that is called a cod piece which produced some laughs when we watched the Zeffirelli film.
Music is also particular to the medieval period. The solo singer or crooner seemingly sings with little or no instrumental accompaniment. The musical instrument most prominent in the music of the film is the lute which is a guitar-like stringed instrument. It makes a more high pitched sound than the guitar. Also, during one of the dances of the masquerade ball in Zeffirelli’s interpretation, arm bands with attached bells are handed out; dancers share a rhythm by shaking the bells attached to their forearms while their arms are raised in the air.
The Setting is medieval Verona. Zeffirelli used a lot of Italian extras for this film. This is a medieval fortress city. There are cobblestone paved streets, high stone walls, and a market place. The marketplace, with its awnings and wooden stalls and tables is typical of the period. This is where the Capulets and Montagues start an all-out riot.
“Contemporary”---that means in our own time
Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet is set in contemporary times. Perhaps this is set in the real Verona Beach, Florida or someplace like it in 21st century America. Of course, the guns and custom automobiles give this the feeling of science fiction, contemporary clothing and music make this more familiar than the medieval world first presented by Shakespeare; in fact, Shakespeare lived during the late Renaissance so the setting of the play was historical to the original audiences.
Everyone identified the Hawaiian shirts and gun holsters that the Montague thugs wear, and this emphasizes the violent tone in Luhrmann’s version, as these are gun toting thugs and gang members rather than the teenage “Punk Rampant [ Nurse calls Mercutio this in Act II ]” that appear in Zeffirelli’s version. This can be argued, as the original characters carried swords and fought with them. The setting is the beach, a carnival/amusement park that is in proximity to the Capulet mansion. The Capulet mansion does have many details that would not make it look out of place in Italy...
The music is that of contemporary times with prominent synthetic music sounds and booming bass. The scene when Romeo and Juliet first meet is accompanied by background music. The solo singer in this version is accompanied by a chorus of many on a stage overlooking the party goers. The chorus backs-up the diva solo singer who carries notes to their human limits. There is a somber rather than an uplifting tone to this performance, and this is similar to the same scene in Zeffirelli. A couple of students mentioned the fact that music is often accompanied by dance numbers in Luhrmann’s film; in fact, the opening scene of the movie is like ballet as “slow-mos [slow-motion shots] and leaps emphasize an attention to musical theater.
- Anticipation Guide. Complete the following true/false questions before we begin reading Act II today.
- After separating from his friends after the Capulet ball, Romeo goes to an orchard behind the Capulet house where he sees Juliet on a balcony. T or F
- That famous line “Wherefore art thou, Romeo? is spoken by Juliet. T or F
- As Romeo stares up at Juliet from the ground he hides from her sight. T or F
- Romeo has no way of getting up to speak to Juliet so he decides to try to get her attention another day. T or F
- Additional kisses between these two love-struck teens won’t happen until the day after the masquerade ball. T or F
- While Juliet stands on the balcony the night of the party she talks about Romeo, but the Nurse calls her inside. T or F
- Juliet is very skeptical of Romeo’s intentions; he assures her he intends to marry her and will send word to her the next day. T or F
- After Romeo leaves after speaking to Juliet on the balcony she utters the famous line: “Parting is such sweet sorrow...”. T or F
- Romeo puts it to Friar Lawrence that he wants him marrying to him, as he has found someone other than Rosaline. T or F
- Friar Lawrence is not pleased with Romeo’s request. T or F
- Tybalt has written to the Montague house asking for Romeo’s friendship. T or F
- Mercutio doesn’t trust Tybalt and says “ he is more than the Prince of Cats...”. T or F
- Mercutio trades words with Juliet’s Nurse when she comes to deliver a message from Juliet to Romeo. T or F
- Nurse calls Mercutio a “saucy merchant”, a “Punk Rampant”, and a “scurvy knave”. T or F
- Nurse warns Romeo that if he “lead her [Juliet] into a fool’s paradise...” he will have to contend with her [Nurse]. T or F
- Romeo shares his honorable intentions and shares that he has made arrangements with Friar Lawrence already about a marriage to Juliet. T or F
- Juliet and Romeo meet up again with Friar Lawrence in Act II, Scene VI. T or F
III. Exit Ticket