The Balcony Scene In Zeffirelli's Romeo And Juliet

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The balcony scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in Zeffirelli’s version uses diegetic sound and lighting to convey the characters’ impulsivity less effectively than in Luhrmann’s version. Zeffirelli’s use of apprehensive diegetic sound in his balcony scene conveys the characters’ impulsivity less effectively than Luhrmann’s use of rash diegetic sound. During Zeffirelli’s version, when Romeo jumps out of the bushes, calling “I take thee at thy word” (II.ii.53), Juliet nervously exclaims and quickly rushes up the stairs, distancing herself from him. Since she had just practically proclaimed her love for him, his presence mortifies her rather than making her want to interact with him, much less rashly reveal their budding relationship.…show more content…
The secretive lighting in Zeffirelli’s scene less effectively characterizes Romeo and Juliet as careless than the romantic lighting in Luhrmann’s version. When Romeo delivers his “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks” (II.ii.2) monologue in Zeffirelli’s version, he cannot yet see Juliet and is in a dark, wooded area. Once he sees her, he stays back so she cannot see him and watches her from afar, staying hidden despite his initial impulse to reveal himself once she begins speaking. The secretive nature of the darkness allows him to eventually reveal himself, but the two rely on this darkness as a disguise from any onlookers. Near the end of the scene, the sun has risen and Romeo and Juliet have to separate. A shot of their hands pulling apart with a background of the dawn light expresses that neither of the couple wants to part, but they know they must and unwillingly but sensibly separate, returning to their lives until they meet for their wedding. There is less intensity in the scene because the shadows in the sky have retreated and the sanctuary that the darkness provided is gone. Without this secrecy, they carefully choose to part so they are not caught. On the contrary, Luhrmann’s balcony scene lacks any careful considerations of the ramifications afforded if caught. When Romeo says, “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks” (II.ii.2), half of his face is lit by the light of the pool, while the other is darkened next to the wall. Romeo is divided on how to proceed, hanging on the wall in an attempt to hide from Juliet as she descends with the elevator. She eventually leans down in front of the pool, the light reflecting off Juliet’s face as she looks into the water. Once he decides to come off the wall, he follows her as she walks, taking few measures to hide himself from her. Romeo’s inner conflict between being with Juliet or staying hidden
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