Crash Course – Romeo and Juliet Part One

In this video John Green Iexamines Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare. John delves into the world of Bill Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers and examines what the play is about, its structure, and the context in which it was written.


The Masked Ball

On one level the masked ball is a way to get Romeo to meet Juliet. The ball would also have been something that Elizabethan audiences would have enjoyed for the costumes and a glimpse of upper class life. In both films that we watched it provides a musical interlude and a break from the violence. We also see that when there are clear rules of behaviour both families can co-exist.

We have talked a lot about identity lately and the masked ball shows us that if the family name is taken away that Romeo and Juliet can fall in love like any other teenagers. The masks help us to understand that.

Find out three things about the use of masque in Shakespearean times and add as a comment. Go here for information.

Romeo and Juliet on film

We have now seen two highly regarded film versions of Romeo and Juliet. The last one we saw was the Zeffirelli film from 1968 and it has been popular with viewers for many years. In that film the use of  16 and 17 year old actors to play the title roles has been well received. Another factor in Zeffirelli success is his acknowledgement of the historical and geographic locations of the original play. We expect Shakespearean language and many of you preferred this version because it seemed more believable to you as a result. I know that lots of you found this film easier to watch and understand than Luhrmann’s version.

Some people would argue that because you have to listen closely to the language in Baz Luhrmann’s version because of the contrast between the words and the modern dress and setting that it shows Shakespeare’s intention more than Zeffirelli’s. What do you think? Write a comment in response to this. Go here for some reading that may help you.