GCSE Shakespeare Coursework Assignment

Task: Study how Romeo changes in Act 3, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, by looking at how different directors have chosen to dramatise the scene.Act 3, Scene 1 is the scene that seals Romeo and Juliet’s fates. At the beginning, Romeo is calm and controlled but by the end he is in despair at what he has done. Blaming himself for Mercutio’s death he believes that love has made him soft. Without thought he kills Tybalt and utters ‘I am fortune’s fool’.Romeo changes a lot in this scene. He begins to act as if the Capulets are not his enemies. After his marriage to Juliet he now thinks fighting is a pointless activity. Romeo is now acting as if Tybalt is his family and thinks that life could not get any better. ‘And so good, Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as mine own, be satisfied.’Romeo is horrified while Mercutio and Tybalt are fighting. ‘Tybalt, Mercutio, the Prince expressly hath forbid this bandying in Verona streets.’ Romeo is completely devastated when Mercutio is killed after he tries to stop the fight. ‘Now Tybalt, take the ‘villain back again’.’We watched two versions of the scene from different directors’ adaptations. The older version, directed by Franco Zeffirelli (1968) and the more recent, directed by Baz Luhrmann (1997). I preferred the version by Franco Zeffirelli. It portrays the scene as an accident like the original play. The horror on Tybalt’s face when he realizes what he’s done is very effective. This version shows that Mercutio probably would not have died if Romeo had not got in the way. I think it was a clever idea for everyone not to know that Mercutio had been stabbed and to think it was a joke until he actually died.In the film adaptations of the scene they are both directed very differently. The older version directed by Franco Zeffirelli stays more faithful to the original play. The more recent version directed by Baz Luhrmann contains cars, guns (that are referred to as ‘longswords’) and much more modern styles of clothing.The setting in both versions is different. Zeffirelli’s version is in a town square while Lurhmann’s version is on a beach. Both show the heat with dust, sand and the sun visible in many shots. The costumes of both houses are very different in both versions. The colours of the Capulet costumes in Zeffirelli’s version are mostly red and the Montague’s in blue. Tybalt also has horns on his head to even greater represent his devil image.The characters are portrayed in a similar way. Romeo is a lovesick person who hates fighting. Tybalt is in the mood for fighting and Mercutio is insulting Tybalt but fights him. In Baz Lurhermanns version Tybalt has a hoarse voice, pointy teeth and long sideburns to give the impression of an evil character.For both versions there is no music playing right the way through. There are in fact, a few sound effects to make the scene more interesting. In the Franco Zeffirelli adaptation, church bells sound at the beginning of the scene, a premonition of what is to come. During the fight, only men cheering can be heard to add to the excitement of the fight. Music starts playing when the Montagues realize Mercutio is dead and it automatically turns into a fast paced music while Romeo chases after Tybalt. When Romeo finally catches up with him the music stops in mid-note.In the Baz Lurhmann version there is again no music as such but some quick sound effects during important parts. When the Capulets arrive at the beach, a quick tune plays which sounds like trouble is approaching. When Tybalt is threatening Mercutio a drum roll plays as he turns his head to look at Tybalt. At the end of the scene right after Mercutio has been stabbed, he is stumbling along the beach as the storm approaches and funereal music is played.There are hardly any props except for the swords of course and the guns in the modern version. In the Zeffirelli version the Capulets all have swords on show whereas the majority of the Montagues have no swords or none by their sides. The atmosphere is more dramatic in the modern version. I thought the idea of a storm approaching was a good idea showing that something bad was obviously going to happen.If I had to direct Act 3, Scene 1 I would direct it in a futuristic setting. It would still keep the story and the language but set in about a hundred years time.Romeo changes from good humoured to rage in an instant. He quickly dispatches Tybalt and immediately realizes what he has done and how he and his wife, Juliet are now doomed.