Sample Essay on Star Cross’d


William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is about “Two star cross’d lovers” who take their lives. It is a famous tragic love story directed in 1997, which is as popular today as in Shakespeare’s time. Romeo and Juliet is the most tragic love story in the world and the most well known Shakespeare play. This play was set in Italy, which during the sixteenth century was considered as an affluent and amorous country.

Shakespeare’s language brings the story to life, making each character distinctive and reveals the chaos of emotions that Romeo and Juliet experience throughout the play.

In Romeo and Juliet many themes are brought forward like love, conflict, fate, life and death, power, time and two worlds. The reason why this play has such dominant genres is because this play shows the downfall of the two protagonists. However, the liability for their breakdown lies outside the characters, it is the workings of fate.

Baz Luhrmann directed the modern film ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in 1997.

When he was directing the new version of Romeo and Juliet he didn’t know whether there would be an audience for Shakespearean stories in a modern culture. So Luhrmann didn’t make this film with the old-fashioned, Shakespeare in mind. Instead, by using lively, modern images (swimming pool etc.) with a modern rock soundtrack and young good-looking popular actors. He will have an action film that is exiting and fun to watch, and a more romantic version. For this reason things would have to be edited.

Get quality help now
Dr. Karlyna PhD

Proficient in: Love

4.7 (235)

“ Amazing writer! I am really satisfied with her work. An excellent price as well. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

By casting young popular actors/actresses like Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes, Baz Luhrmann has brought in a younger audience who would not otherwise go to see a work by William Shakespeare, and the fact that the film is set in modern America and has scenes of violence involving guns and fighting would draw in more of a male audience than if it was set in 16th Century England. I think that by incorporating modern issues such as homosexuality, drugs and violence he has made the film more relevant to today’s society.

Baz Luhrmann uses many different techniques in the modern version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, to make the opening sequence effective to the audience. Straight away we are introduced to the “Montague Boys” they are a “gang” of punks, dressed similarly cruising in their car with the music rowdy. In just this minute into the story we can see so many areas that put forward the fact that this is a modernised version of the play. For example the Montagues are driving a car, which has a private number plate, and they have loud music on. These points make the opening scene very effective to me as a teenager and I think to anybody else who has been brought up in a modern lifestyle.

The modernising allows you to understand what is happening easier as you can relate it to something that would happen nowadays near you. The picture freezes as the “boys” are introduced as Montagues and the camera uses a shot of the whole car (medium shot) to make the freeze more effective as everyone can be seen easily. The Montagues drives into a petrol station to fill the car up with petrol, but soon to follow them in are “The Capulets”. The two households are now together in one petrol station. The tension created at this scene is immense as the audience panic about what is going to happen next.

The Capulets are portrayed as the mean people and they come across as much tougher and violent people than the Montagues. The different images that the two households have are very effective and help the audience to understand who is who. Tybalt the “Prince of Cats” is introduced to the audience with great effect. As he gets out of the car the camera focuses only on his steel heeled leather boots. He walks towards the Montagues and every stride he takes is emphasised as his steel heeled boots clang as they hit the ground. The camera is still only focused on his boots and the audience don’t actually know who this man is yet, he has not yet been introduced as Tybalt.

This creates tension and helps to make the opening scene effective because the audience don’t know whom he is or what is going to happen next. All they know is that the boots come across as something an aggressive person would wear and that the man is a Capulet, so an aggressive Capulet could mean a fight. To increase the tension the music has stopped playing so all the audiences’ minds are focused on are Tybalt’s boots. The camera now introduces Tybalt and focuses on all his body. He drops a cigar that he was smoking on the floor and again the camera changes its shot to one that is zoomed in on Tybalt’s feet and the ground beneath them. He grinds the cigar out with the bottom of his heel and the sound effects are loud so that the audience can here. The scraping sound that the steel heel makes as he crushes the cigar gives the audience the feeling that he is ruthless and that he probably treats people in a similar way to his cigar. He just grinds them beneath his feet if they get in his way. Extinguishes them! The fact that Tybalt was smoking in a petrol station shows that he is ruthless and that he doesn’t obey rules.

Once the camera has finished focusing on the cigar it zooms in on a signpost that reads “Careful fire hazard” on it. This is again to create tension and for the audience to think about what is going to happen next. The opening scene of Romeo and Juliet is definitely based on tension build-ups. Humour follows this tense scene to help to break it up a little. One of the Montagues hides behind an old woman’s car door, as he is scared about what is going to happen next. He has pink punk style hair and is wearing a garish t-shirt. He looks so ridiculous that anyone would have to have at least a slight giggle at the sight of him. To add to that the lady whose car it is panics and thinks that the Montague is going to hurt her so she begins hitting him with her handbag. This is just comical and when you can actually watch his face and hers you have to laugh. These little acts of humour do make the scene effective as they break up the tension and then this allows it to be built back up again without the audience getting bored. The weapons in this film are guns with the brand name “sword”. It should be noted that the engraving on the guns is “SWORD” therefore when “put up your swords” is spoken it is meant as guns.

In Act 3 Scene 1,the ‘Capulet boys’ appear; in the background, you can hear western music. Which suggests there’s going to be a duel. The Capulet’s have come to find Romeo because Tybalt had seen him at the Capulet’s party the night before. This scene is a key moment of tension as this scene leads to Mercutio’s death. Mercutio’s role in this play is very imperative because his death is the turning point when the play becomes a tragedy. Tybalt insults Romeo and uses the party as an excuse to fight: “Turn and draw.” Romeo’s love for Juliet and the fact that he has married a Capulet causes him a great deal of discomfort during this scene. He does not want to fight Tybalt. Romeo tries to flatter Tybalt to diffuse the situation.

The shot sequence in the Baz Luhrmann movie is very meaningful for the tension of the scene. He has a variety of camera shots implied. He first uses a Medium Shot on Tybalt’s face. He uses this type of shot to illustrate Tybalt’s body language. This is an establishing shot because it sets the scene. In this scene he shows Mercutio’s face repeatedly as a close up shot and also as a reaction shot. This shot tells us that he is going to do something astonishing and shocking in the fight. The close up also shows his individual emotions. His facial expressions are very angry and frustrated.

Women played a completely different role in society in Elizabethan times than they do today. Wealthy upper class women like Juliet were expected to obey their fathers’ wishes and marry at their command. Loving someone was not an excuse to marry someone. Fathers arranged marriages mainly for social reasons like wealth. In the case of Juliet she was forced to marry when secretly she was already married to her true love Romeo. Juliet at the time fought passionately to stop the arranged marriage. This would be most unusual at the time for young a woman to fight back against her father’s wishes. This event would have surprised and stunned the crowd watching.

When Lady Capulet arrives bringing good news in Act 3 Scene 5 saying, “Marry, my child”. Juliet’s horror was observed and the response of the audience was shocking. By this time in the play the audience would be completely involved in the play and on their edge of their seats, some must be sympathetic towards Juliet, some laughing with the dramatic irony, but all truly sunken in the story. Capulet is extremely angry at Juliet’s direct refusal of the generous offer he has made. There is also a fear in the atmosphere for Juliet. While directing this film Baz Luhrmann used many theatrical devices like the music. The tempo of the music upsurges when Capulet walks in; this builds up tension because he has brought good news that Juliet can’t accept.

His movement is emotional and poigient. The body language is very important for this scene as it is an aggressive scene and there is a lot of physical movement. Juliet has a defensive posture while Capulet has an angry and fuming posture. The movement of Capulet is very mystified and confused, he is also angry because he cannot take that Juliet rejected an offer from a noble family. The speed of the mother slows down at the end of the scene. The facial expression for each character is diverse. Capulets is negative while Juliet’s is defiant and angry and Lady Capulets is horrified and pale. The little detail of everything by Luhrmann helps create a tense environment.

The filming of the shots help work out the mood of the characters. It also can tell another characters point of view. The Fathers face has been repeatedly zoomed in this helps work out the facial expression and the body posture. The close up of the father is very effective because it shows power and anger and also we could see that he’s more dominant than the rest. The High angle Shot of Juliet on the bed shows the weak and defensive body posture. This also shows how controlling her father is. The low angle shot of Capulet and Lady Capulet shows how prevailing and ascendant they are. The effect created could be the audience sympathising Juliet. The medium shot of Lady Capulet and Capulet together shows that they are together and they both feel the same way. The effect created is that Juliet is gone weak because two authoritative and prevailing bodies have gone against one.

By the end of the harsh fight of words and angry exchange of feelings Juliet is left shattered and exhausted weeping with despair. The audience feel immensely upset and probably want to comfort Juliet.

In conclusion, Luhrmann has created an exciting and highly rated adaptation to the original story in many ways including visual imagery like his powerful music, vivid colours, contrasting costumes and exciting camera techniques. Generally, the first scene has established the mood and set the scene in many ways. In the first scene he has mixed comedy with action successfully enough to capture the modern day audience. I think that by incorporating modern issues such as homosexuality, drugs and violence he has made the film more relevant to today’s society. I also think this film is an accurate insight of Shakespeare’s themes and ideas. This film, in my opinion, is complex yet simple. That is why it is so successful and can be watched and understood by everybody.

Cite this page

Sample Essay on Star Cross’d. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Sample Essay on Star Cross’d
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7