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Comparing Mercutio Character's Portrayal in Two Film Adaptations

Numerous film adaptations of William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of “star-crossed lovers” have been made, both in the original setting and a lot more modern day ones (Shakespeare Prologue. six). Two motion pictures that exemplify this are Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1997). Even although the plot and script are identical, each and every director’s vision for his film produces an person, special film. For example, the events of Act three, Scene 1, of the play are incorporated in each films, but how they are presented contrast greatly. In this scene Romeo’s friend, Mercutio, crosses paths with Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin (Shakespeare three. 1. 1-88). A fight ensues, resulting in Mercutio’s death (Shakespeare three. 1. 89-127). A vengeful Romeo then seeks out Tybalt and kills him (Shakespeare three. 1. 128-146). Zeffirelli portrays Mercutio as easygoing and playful, whereas Luhrmann’s Mercutio is short-tempered and violent.

Zeffirelli took a standard strategy to his adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. His film is set in 14th century Verona, Italy, the original setting of the play. In the starting of the scene, Mercutio is taking a stroll with Benvolio, an additional pal of Romeo. Mercutio, playfully angry, declares loudly how Benvolio picks fights with every person: “Thou art like one particular of these fellows that, when he enters the confines of a tavern, claps me his sword upon the table and says ‘God send me no need to have of thee!’ and by the operation of the second cup draws him on the drawer, when indeed there is no need” (Shakespeare 3. 1. five-10). Mercutio accuses Benvolio of being fast to fight with other individuals, even when there is no purpose to. This is ironic, since Mercutio is the 1 who a lot more accurately fits this description. The two come across a little fountain, and Mercutio proceeds to jump in to cool off from the hot weather.

Tybalt then enters onto the scene with a number of other people and approaches Mercutio, who is still in the fountain acting facetious (Zeffirelli). They banter jokingly, but some tension is designed when Tybalt grabs his sword and holds it at his side. Mercutio counters this by taking his own sword out of the water and pointing it at Tybalt. Romeo appears bounding happily towards them, as he has just come from his wedding to Juliet. Tybalt challenges him, but Romeo refuses to draw his sword, rather taking Tybalt’s hand in his and shaking it earnestly. Mercutio, appalled at Romeo’s passivity, instigates a sword fight with Tybalt. The two appear to be fighting playfully, with no ill intent. Nevertheless, Romeo attempts to intercept the fight, standing in between them and holding back Mercutio. Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo’s arm and is surprised to see blood on the end of his sword when he pulls back. He seems concerned, but is rapidly pulled away from the scene by his pals. Mercutio acts as if he was hardly wounded. “What, art thou hurt?” Benvolio asks (Shakespeare 3. 1. 97). Mercutio replies, “Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch” (Shakespeare three. 1. 98). Mercutio, perhaps hoping his wound is not extremely severe, plays it off as absolutely nothing more than a scratch. Nonetheless, as the scene progresses, he becomes a lot more conscious of his imminent death. The other folks think what he says and laugh as he curses the Capulets and the Montagues. He whispers to Romeo privately that he was stabbed when Romeo came between them and asks why he did so. “I thought all for the ideal,” Romeo responds (Shakespeare three. 1. 111). Romeo, considering only of preventing a tragedy, inadvertently causes 1. Mercutio continues to shout more curses on the two homes, resentful of the reality that their feud has essentially killed him. It is only following he lastly collapses that the other people think about something is incorrect. Romeo removes the cloth covering the gash in Mercutio’s chest, and reveals that he has died from Tybalt’s blow. Romeo runs, yelling, soon after Tybalt and begins another sword fight, this time resulting in Tybalt’s death.

Luhrmann takes a various strategy to this scene. His film is set in 1990s Los Angeles, which is referred to as “Verona Beach.” This is drastically different from Zeffirelli’s standard setting. In the beginning of the scene of Luhrmann’s film, Mercutio is noticed wading in the ocean, the dilapidated stage on the beach in the background. Since this film is set in contemporary instances, alternatively of a sword, he carries a gun, which he shoots a couple of instances into the water. Later, he joins Benvolio on the beach, and they joke with every single other, playing nonchalantly with their loaded guns.

A dark car pulls up near them, and Tybalt, clad in black, methods out with this followers (Luhrmann). Tybalt addresses Mercutio calmly. They joke back and forth, but with an underlying hostility. Their words alone are not threatening, but every single man’s tone hints at his true intent. “Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo,” Tybalt states, referring to the truth that Mercutio is friendly with Romeo (Shakespeare three. 1. 47). Mercutio responds, enraged, “Consort? What, dost thou make us minstrels” (Shakespeare three. 1. 48)? Mercutio misunderstands Tybalt and is offended by his apparent insult. Mercutio reveals his gun, when Romeo arrives. Tybalt prepares for a gun fight, but Romeo insists he will not participate. Confused, Tybalt pushes Romeo to the ground and kicks him repeatedly, attempting to provoke him. Romeo nonetheless refuses, even though, remaining peaceful. “O calm, dishonorable, vile submission!” Mercutio hisses below his breath, just as baffled by Romeo’s surrender as Tybalt (Shakespeare three. 1. 76). Mercutio attacks Tybalt and throws him onto a pane of glass, shattering it. Romeo tries to terminate the fight by standing between them. Tybalt, crawling to his feet, grabs a shard of glass beneath him and thrusts it into Mercutio’s side. Soon after seeing what he has accomplished, Tybalt hesitantly leaves, driving away in his auto. Mercutio denies that his injury is excellent, but turns away from the other folks to examine it. Upon observing the ghastly tear in his abdomen, he appears up to the sky gravely and closes his eyes, quietly acknowledging his grim future. He turns back to the other folks, covering his wound, and screams, “A plague o’ each your houses” (Shakespeare 3. 1. 113)! Thunder roars as he says this, and his voice echoes. These two sound effects heighten the severity of the predicament and emphasize Mercutio’s anger. The others around him now realize that Mercutio is critical. The climate becomes increasingly tempestuous as Mercutio comes closer to death. He falls onto the sand and dies, covered in blood. Romeo wails over Mercutio’s dead physique, obtaining himself bloody. He drives soon after Tybalt with tears operating down his face and causes Tybalt’s vehicle to overturn. When Tybalt crawls out, Romeo shoots him a number of times, still crying. Tybalt falls back into a fountain, dead. The positioning of his outstretched arms in the water mimic the statue of Jesus above him.

Franco Zeffirelli’s version of Act 3, Scene 1, of Romeo and Juliet is a a lot more traditional a single that follows the original play really closely. Meanwhile, Baz Luhrmann modernizes all the components of the scene but the script. Zeffirelli’s characters battle with swords and flee on foot, whereas Luhrmann’s employ guns and cars. Given the exact same material, these two directors designed two really distinct items, particularly their portrayals of Mercutio. Zeffirelli’s Mercutio remains very friendly with Tybalt, up till he is stabbed fatally. Luhrmann’s Mercutio, on the other hand, is short-tempered and eager for a fight. Thus, Mercutio’s character as presented in Romeo and Juliet can be interpreted in more than 1 way, as these two motion pictures illustrate.
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