Presentation on theme: "Romeo and Juliet Chapter 14. Background ROMEO AND JULIET is the least Aristotelian of the tragedies. It does end unhappily, but shares many traits of."— Presentation transcript:
Background ROMEO AND JULIET is the least Aristotelian of the tragedies. It does end unhappily, but shares many traits of comedy--especially the exploration of romantic love Romeo and Juliet is dated 1594-96 because the first quarto was published in 1597 Romeo and Juliet are young lovers...she just 14. He is a bit older, changeable as his momentary infatuation with Rosaline demonstrates.
Sources The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (1562) Sleeping potion element from a romance by Xenophon of Ephesus Il novellino by Masuccio of Salerno Pyramus and Thisbe from Ovid’s Metamorphoses
Language and structure...the play’s structure contrasts violent enmity with passionate love and scenes of public brawling...The death of Mercutio and Romeo’s slaying of Tybalt change the course of the play
O’erhasty marriages Passion and Impetuousness One pattern of imagery in the play suggests a theme of sudden and violent actions--fire, gunpowder, hot blood, lightning and the stormy sea
Blood fueds: Self- perpetuating revenge: The mindless feuding of the two families is so ancinet that we never learn its cause, only its consequences Shakespeare creates three large public scenes which contrast strongly with the private scenes
Fortune’s Fools: Tragic Heroes or Victims The star-crossed lovers are more than mere victims...they are active participants and responsible for the choices they make
Personal identity and women’s roles In the 16th century, women were viewed much differently than today A woman’s identity derived almost exclusively from her relationship to her father or her husband The play depicts a young woman who has become an autonomousd desiring self is a radical statement of romantic individualism within patriarchal culture Romeo’s ties are to his mates and Juliet’s to her family
STAGING CHALLENGES The play is a challenge for producers with a large cast, many props, a good deal of physical action and specific staging requirements
Duels and swordplay Included in the text despite Tudor edicts against street fighting
Two hour’s traffic Swift events...action is compressed to little more than 4 days
The Tomb Scene The Tomb Scene poses several challenges and problems, not the least of which is the fight between Romeo and Paris (omitted from the Zeffirelli and Luhrmann films)
The Elizabethan Era featured Swift Transitions, performed on an open platform without scenery. The structure of the play required a large forestage for the swordplay...and the gallery and inner below...the forty speaking roles required double casting
The Restoration & 18th Century featured many productions of the play...it was among the first to be revived after the Civil War, in 1662, a production (viewed by Samuel Pepys) was staged at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Thomas Otway altered the play The most memorable productions were those of David Garrick whose stagins were popular at Drury Lane and Covent Garden from 1748-1778 James Howard turned the play into a tragi-comedy allowing the lovers to live
The 19th Century Breeches Romeos and Admired Juliets Several actresses emerged as memorable Juliets, notably Maria Isabella Nossiter at Drury Lane in 1753 In the Romantic Age, Eliza O’Neill was a famous Juliet
Charlotte Cushman The American actress Charlotte Cushman played Romeo to her sister Susan’s Juliet from 1837-1860. She started a vogue for “breeches” Romeos
The 20th Century Romeo and Mercutio Return In his famous 1935 production at the Old Vic, John Gielgud alternated with Laurence Olivier in the roles of Romeo and Mercutio. Peggy Ashcroft played Juliet and Edith Evans was the Nurse...The production is noted for its simple staging and its Italian Renaissance design...In 1947, Peter Brook staged a memorable production with a young cast...
OLD VIC 1960 The 1960 Franco Zefferilli production at the Old Vic became the basis for his 1968 film It was strongly influenced by LOOK BACK IN ANGER (1956) and WEST SIDE STORY (1957) Mercutio was characterized as the angry young man Like the film it influenced, it was noted for its youthful cast and visual realism...
RSC 1986 A memorable 1986 production directed by Michael Bogdanov at the RSC was set in contemporary Italy and the Montagues and Capulets were warring crime families