Appropriation of 'Romeo and Juliet' by Shakespeare and 'Romeo+Juliet' by Baz Luhrmann Essay

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Discuss the appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare and ‘Romeo+Juliet’ by Baz Luhrmann
Texts and ideas from texts are appropriated and transformed into other text forms and other compositions in a different context. An appropriation is a text that is appropriated or taken over by another composer and presented in a new way. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a well-known high culture text that is a tragedy about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. In the 1997 film, Baz Luhrmann has taken what is valued about the original play of ‘Romeo and Juliet’; the themes, evocative language and poetry, the timeless storyline and humour, and has placed it in a context which is accessible and
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This shows that the variation in context has led to new values which Luhrmann has incorporated in his film, proving his appropriation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is much more superior to Shakespeare’s play for a contemporary audience.

A vital component and similarity in Shakespeares’ play and Luhrmanns’ film are the themes. Baz Luhrmann has kept the same themes and ideas from the original play in his film which shows they are actually timeless and can impact on all audiences, no matter what age they are a part of. One of the key themes in the play and film is love. When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, he forgets his former love Rosaline and falls genuinely in love with Juliet. She in turn responds to him with a love that is innocent and eager. Another important theme in the two texts is hate. Peace is destroyed by the hatred that the Montague’s and Capulet’s feel for each other and the causes of this are not important, the results are. The love of Romeo and Juliet provides a strong contrast to the hate and are aspects of the play that do not have to be “modernised”. Hate and love can be interpreted as the duality of human life; hence even though the context of the film has differed from the play, these two themes remain to be just as relevant today as they were in Shakespeare’s time.

Furthermore, Baz Luhrmann has taken a modern perspective on each character, giving them character traits that may have only been hinted at in Shakespeares’ play. An example is