Romeo And Juliet Violence Essay

But the ingredients that make up are perhaps more universal than most: young love, bitter hate, feuding communities, tragic and undeserved death.

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Other conflicts have provided divisions even starker and more dramatically potent.

In 1994, the Romany company Pralipe (Brotherhood), forced to perform in exile from their native Macedonia, set the play in Bosnia with a Muslim Juliet and a Christian Romeo, and closed the play not with reconciliation but spatters of gunfire.

It is an amusing thought that for at least some of these artisans and apprentices, the lovers and their all-consuming passion might have seemed almost incidental.

For greyer heads in the audience, the image of young men on the prowl and a city slipping into mayhem would have been only too familiar.

In the legal action that followed, the rioters were accused of intending to ‘robbe, steale, pill and spoile the wealthy …

and to take the sworde of auchthorytye from the magistrats and governours lawfully aucthorised’. Ever-attentive to the world around him, Shakespeare responded to this atmosphere of what Benvolio calls ‘the mad blood stirring’ (3.1.4) by putting a version of it on stage: has barely been off stage or screen since – it may well be Shakespeare’s most performed and adapted play – it takes on a particular intensity in places and periods where violence is more than a mere literary device.

Set on the mean streets of New York’s Upper West Side, it portrayed the violent gang warfare between the Puerto Rican Sharks and the white Jets.

That Robbins’s original concept suggested a conflict between Irish Catholic and Jewish families located in the entirely different community of the Lower East Side suggests how adaptable the story can really be.

That same year, Palestinian and Israeli theatremakers came together to create a joint production in Jerusalem, with the Montagues as Arabs and the Capulets as Jews; the balcony scene was conducted in a mixture of Arabic and Hebrew, and the brawling families threw rocks in a deliberate echo of the intifada.

story has inspired multiple versions, notably in cinema: in 1947, the year of partition, a version starring the great Indian heroine Nargis was released (the film is now unfortunately lost), while in 1992 an adaptation called (1957), which united the considerable talents of Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins and Stephen Sondheim.


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