Romeo and Juliet- Common Assessment Task –Scene Analysis
The balcony scene is the most famous of the play, it’s the scene where the two lovers come together, take an oath for their love and plan to marry foreshadowing the next scene. Baz Lurhmann takes this highly renowned play and puts a modern spin on it still retaining the original essence of the play.
The main theme explored in the scene is love, Romeo and Juliet’s love is forbidden but they are still risking their lives to be with each other. The poetic language in the scene and passion serve to convince Juliet of the power of love. The disclosure in the scene where they both discover each other’s feelings leading to their decision of marriage. We see in Juliet that she doesn’t see Romeo any differently because of his name she says ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/ By any other word would smell as sweet’. There is also a theme of fate or destiny in the scene that they are meant to be together despite the fact they have only known each other for a few hours.
Romeo’s character is presented in the scene as being very romantic, we see this as he is wearing a shining knight costume. Romeo is also presented as being quite clumsy as we see at the beginning of the scene he breaks into the garden and almost knocks over a statue which could have led to him being caught. He is very irrational and spontaneous compared to Juliet and it is clear to see that he has completely moved on from Rosaline who he was professed to love. When Romeo goes up to the balcony expecting to see his love, Juliet he sees an ugly nurse. This is very humorous and something very unlike what happens in the original, Baz Lurhmann has included this as a way to engage a modern audience and also to distract the audience from what they predicted to happen.
Juliet is a lot more cautious and realistic we see this through her fear of Romeo getting caught emphasised in the presence of the security guard. Juliet is also extremely intelligent we see how she thinks when she says to Romeo ‘o swear not by the moon, th’inconstant moon, / That monthly changes in her circled orb’ Romeo was trying to swear his love to her on the moon but Juliet says not to swear on the moon as the moon is constantly changing and that they don’t want their love to be like that. Baz Lurhmann does make Juliet’s character quite cheeky and eager to experience love this is very unlike the original where her character is very pure and innocent.
The Capulet’s mansion in both adaptations are portrayed as being enormous. Baz Lurhmann makes the balcony area look very luxurious and romantic where as in the original it is more castle like with towering stone walls this is quite plain and simple but represents the limits that separate them. Both settings bestowing different emotions. The Balcony in Lurhmann’s version is quite small and is only used briefly as Juliet descends in an elevator bringing them down to the same level. In the original play the balcony is very large and is used for the entire scene. Lurhmann includes a pool in his version water has a symbolic meaning throughout the movie like when they first met through the fish tank, the water puts out the fire in the feud between their families. Waters also a symbol of rebirth Romeo says to Juliet ‘call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized’ Romeo is saying that Juliet’s love is going to make him