The piece of art I have chosen for this formal paper is Romeo and Juliet, a play written by William Shakespeare. It is a play based on an Italian fable by Arthur Brooke, Romeus and Juliet, dating back to 1562. It is a story about two teenagers, who are so deeply in love but hail from two families that resent each other. The story ends with the tragic deaths of the two lovers, who commit suicide. I select this play for a couple of reasons, which I will explain. First, Romeo and Juliet is a well-liked and very famous play all over the world. It is so well-known even to people who have not had the opportunity of watching it, or reading the play. Ask right about anyone whether they have heard about Romeo and Juliet; it is given that the person will have a rough idea about what the play entails.
Many people know that the play is about two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, and that it ends with their deaths. On the flip side, even if many people know about the two characters, fewer people know the actual background of the creation, its social impacts as well as its artistic value. Since this is the case, there are numerous cases of distortions and misunderstandings about the whole storyline and the tragedies in the play. I chose this play not only because of its popularity, but also because of the great distortions, misunderstandings, and unpopular artistic value of this piece. Lastly, I chose this piece by William Shakespeare because of the intriguing storyline, which is very scintillating. By going through this creation process, I can have better comprehension about all the aspects of this piece of work, so that I may be in a position to eliminate some general distortions and misunderstandings about the play.
Birth of Romeo and Juliet
The piece “Romeo and Juliet” dates back to 1596. This information comes from Nurse’s reference in I.iii.22 of the earthquake that happened ten years before in England in 1580. The earliest and probably the first show of Romeo and Juliet was staged by Davenant William in 1662. William was a playwright and poet, who emphasized he was the illegitimate son of the Shakespeare. The play remains admired all the way through the centuries; although some playwrights have altered the plot, in which case both Romeo and Juliet survive to live happy and fulfilling lives ever after.
In the nineteenth century, the play was performed with little or no dramatic alterations, making this particular piece one of Shakespeare’s most produced and appreciated piece by the author William Shakespeare. With the emergence of motion pictures, the play has been able to reach a massive number of audiences with over eighteen film translations of the play Romeo and Juliet. With the emergence of new producers and technology, many have recreated the play with an intention of merging the old era with the modern era. A perfect case in point is the movie that features Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as “Romeo and Juliet” consecutively.
The playwright William Shakespeare is habitually passed on as the national poet of England. His existing works comprise of 38 plays, various poems and 158 sonnets, some done in collaborations. He was born and raised in Stratford, his birth date not properly documented but celebrated on the 23rd of April. He got married to Anna Hathaway, and they had three children. He produced his works between the years 1589 and 1614, producing works like Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello. Although there’s not much prove, it is believed that William was educated at the Kings new School in Stratford where he gained his Elizabethan writing skills from.
Although it is not well known exactly when William began to write, contemporary records prove that several of his works of art were staged in London as early as 1592. His first recorded works are Richard III and the three portions of Henry VI, all written in the early years of 1590’s. William Shakespeare, aged 52, died on the 16th of April 1616. Just as most of his facts are anonymous, the cause of his death is still unknown because he was in perfect health prior to his demise. He is the most celebrated playwright of all time, with his creative pieces still eliciting an impact in the contemporary theatres.
My point of view about Romeo and Juliet
The piece is a very scintillating play. It is about a Capulet, Romeo and Juliet, a Montague. These two families are not in good terms. They accidently meet at a party where Romeo, uninvited, attends with the hopes of meeting a girl by the name Rosaline. They fall in love the first time they meet, and it blossoms. The problem arises when Romeo kills Tybalt, after unintentionally killing Mercutio in quarrel leading to his banishment. Juliet learns about this, but still keeps her love for Romeo strong and proceeds to organize a meeting with Romeo by means of the assistance of her help Lawrence Friar. All along, Juliet is supposed to get married to Count Paris but is not for the idea.
Juliet launches a plan with Lawrence, and is given a sleeping portion so that everyone can think she is dead. Lawrence sends a message to Romeo to come rescue her sleeping wife, but instead is told that Juliet is “dead”. He purchases poison in Mantua, returns to Verona where takes the poison after seeing Juliet’s body. Juliet awakens moments later, and on realizing what has transpired, stabs herself next to Romeos’ body. The deaths of these two children make the Capulet’s and Montague’s bury the hatchet, promising to erect a monument in their beloved memory.
This play has a very scintillating plot. This is a love story, one expected to have happy ending just like similar plays but rather ends up in a gruesome manner. Romeo and Juliet learn from the instance they meet that one is a Capulet and the other is a Montague. These two families are not in talking terms. Despite this gruesome fact, they do not falter from their love. Even after Juliet discovers that the love of her life has been banished for murder, she still does not give up her love for Romeo. To add to this, when Romeo learns about the death of Juliet, he takes his own life; Juliet the same when she realizes that Romeo is dead. This is a very captivating story that not only entertains, but transmits a lesson of determination and sacrifice for the people we love. Determination to stay on course in the search of our dreams, and sacrifices required to make to attain our dreams. It has the themes of love, forbidden love, selflessness and determination, all wrapped up to coin the masterpiece that is “Romeo and Juliet”.
Guide for creating Romeo and Juliet from my perspective
Since the play is set in the 1500’s, I will strongly preserve its timing. This means that everything in the creation of Romeo and Juliet will be set in those times, ranging from the attire, stage settings and furniture. The stage props will feature a depiction of homes cobbled together, as they were in the early twentieth century. The arm chairs used will be those from the 1920’s, alongside tables with Formica and table lamps from the 60’s. Since the play has two families at the heart of it, the Montague’s will be humbly dressed in torn tartan attire and barefoot too. The Capulet’s will be the direct opposite; wearing silk gowns, clean & ironed pyjamas and smart carpet slippers. The main reason for this disparity is to clearly highlight the visible differences between these two families. This also, will go to show that the union between the two is a complete mismatch.
The stage on which the play will be performed is also a factor in the creation of this play. The colors used will be dull colors, to depict the eras of the Elizabethan period. Shades of grey, black and brown will be perfect colors to bring out the medieval times. To make the story more interesting, I plan to add a few more characters in the production, who will serve as props for the elongation of the play. They will be used in plot continuity. The English used will also be medieval, using the words like “hath, thou, wilt”. This will bring out the era within which the play was written with the context within which it is being placed.
In the play, the root conflict of Romeo and Juliet is forbidden love. Forbidden love is one which neither the family of the man nor woman endorse the existence of any form of association between the two parties. In the play, Romeo and Juliet set off with a conflict right off from the moment they meet after discovering that they come from families that have deep rooted conflicts. For decades, their families have not been in talking terms and thus their union is a source of conflict.
From Juliet’s point of view, the much planned marriage to Count Paris is also forbidden love. According to Juliet, the only person who she loves is Romeo, despite the fact that they come from totally different backgrounds. The union with Count Paris would be conflicting to her, because the union with a person she does not like conflicts and contradicts the love she has for Romeo. To Juliet, this would be forbidden love, which drives her to taking a sleeping portion on the day of her wedding with Count Paris. Juliet goes to this extent to see to it that she her proposed and much anticipated union with Count Paris does not materialize.
The conflict of forbidden love comes out clearly from the relation of the two families from which the two hail from. Hatred is what rules the day, with the families working so hard for Romeo and Juliet not to become a couple. The families have this resentment for one another, which eventually dies off after the tragic demise of Romeo and Juliet. This is forbidden love, because the Montague’s and the Capulet’s are not on the same page.
I have chosen the medieval setting in this re-creation of Romeo and Juliet. Many artistes have recreated the play “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, some incorporating contemporary instrumentations like computers, sophisticated electronics and modern housing as well. On the contrary, I chose to maintain and preserve the settings to those of the 1500’s to give the audience an insight into how life was back in the days. During these eras, marriage unions were strictly regulated by the parents of the teenagers involved, which explains why Juliet was being coerced into marrying Count Paris forcefully by her parents.
On contrary, the contemporary unions are rarely interfered with by the parents of the duo wishing to join the marriage institution. Thus, I chose to preserve this “sweetness” of the 1500’s, in order to put our audience in the shoes of those that lived in those times to give them a taste of how life used to be back in those dark days. In my own point of view, adding any contemporary touch to the piece makes it loose its originality, and consequently distortion of the message that was initially meant to be conveyed to the audience. I believe the choice to maintain the initial timing of the play preserves the play itself, avoids distortion and depicts the disparities of the lives we are currently living from those of the medieval era.