Romeo and Juliet (Film 1968)

Mercutio in Two Romeo and Juliet Films 9th Grade

Many film adaptations of William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of “star-crossed lovers” have been made, both in the original setting and more modern ones (Shakespeare Prologue. 6). Two movies that exemplify this are Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1997). Even though the plot and script are identical, each director’s vision for his film produces an individual, unique movie. For example, the events of Act 3, Scene 1, of the play are included in both films, but how they are presented contrast greatly. In this scene Romeo’s friend, Mercutio, crosses paths with Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin (Shakespeare 3. 1. 1-88). A fight ensues, resulting in Mercutio’s death (Shakespeare 3. 1. 89-127). A vengeful Romeo then seeks out Tybalt and kills him (Shakespeare 3. 1. 128-146). Zeffirelli portrays Mercutio as easygoing and playful, whereas Luhrmann’s Mercutio is short-tempered and violent.

Zeffirelli took a traditional approach to his adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. His film is set in 14th century Verona, Italy, the original setting of the play. In the beginning of the scene, Mercutio is taking a stroll with Benvolio, another friend of Romeo. Mercutio, playfully angry, declares loudly how Benvolio...

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