Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II- Compare and Contrast

*Revised on May 29, 2015
*Revised on June 13, 2015
*Revised on June 16, 2015
Act II Scene II is seen as one of the most crucial parts of the entire Romeo and Juliet story, and since there have been many different adaptations of this story since it was originally written, this scene has been portrayed in many different ways. The three renditions mentioned here are the graphic novel, and the film adaptations from 1968 and 1996.
Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel cover Romeo and Juliet 1968 cover Romeo and Juliet 1996 cover
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Between all three adaptations of the story in question, all three stay very true to the original dialogue of the play. The best representation of the lines was the comic book version, since it was just the play written out in a visual form. However, I did notice that the line, “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.” (II.ii.1), said by Romeo, was missing in all three versions of the story. Both film versions of Romeo and Juliet stayed fairly true to the original text, leaving specific lines out, but not too many that the idea of the scene is lost to the viewers; no new dialogue was added, the scene purely depended on the manipulation of the preexisting lines from the play. For example, in the film from 1968, some lines such as, “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief that thou, her maid, art far more fair than she. Be not her maid since she is envious. Her vestal livery is but sick and green, and none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.” (II.ii.4-9) and, “What if her eyes were there, they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars as daylight doth a lamp; her eye in heaven would through the airy region stream so bright that birds would sing and think it were not night.” (II.ii.18-23) were not included.
Romeo and Juliet Quote 1
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Some lines left out of the 1996 movie adaptation were, “Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye than twenty of their swords. Look thou but sweet. And I am proof against the enmity.” (II.ii.76-78) and, “Or, if thou thinkest I am too quickly won, I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay, so thou wilt woo, but else not for the world. In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond, and therefore thou mayst think my havior light. But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true than those that have more coying to be strange. I should have been more strange, I must confess, but that thou overhears’st ere I was were my true-love passion. Therefore pardon me, and not impute this yielding light to love, which the dark night hath so discovered.” (II.ii.100-111). Although, in many cases, the lines taken out of one movie adaptation were present the the other; it just depends what the director found relevant and the most important to the plot itself.
Romeo and Juliet Quote 3
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As far as the actual scene itself, the graphic novel version and the 1968 film were incredibly similar, to the point where I question if the drawings in the novel were based off of the film. How the characters moved and interacted with each other were uncanningly similar. In both versions, Romeo sneaks into the Capulet’s back garden outside Juliet’s balcony, and he whispers to himself as he watches her stand there and talk to herself. He makes his presence known to her and then she panics, but is relieved after she realises it’s him. After discussing their situation, Romeo climbs a tree and meets Juliet on her balcony and they kiss and pledge their love to each other, and Juliet purposes that they get married the next day. After being called back by the nurse several times, Juliet eventually goes to leave, but then she calls Romeo back up to the balcony and they kiss again before they both exit.
Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel photo 1 Romeo and Juliet 1968 photo 1 Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel photo 2 Romeo and Juliet 1968 photo 3 Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel photo 4 Romeo and Juliet 1968 photo 2
(Screenshots from Romeo and Juliet – Balcony Scene – Compare and Contrast)
The film from 1996 was, in some ways, very different from the other two adaptations. In the beginning of the scene, Romeo enters over the fence and into the area near the pool behind Juliet’s house. Startled by a noise, Romeo then panics and, in attempt to hide, crashes into things knocking them over. Romeo then hides by the wall outside Juliet’s window in effort to remain unseen by the nurse; Juliet enters via elevator, and walks around the pool talking to herself as Romeo, unnoticed, listens. As Juliet is talking, Romeo sneaks up behind her, and then replies to her thought. Juliet is spooked by Romeo’s sudden appearance which causes her to scream and grab onto him as she falls into the pool, bringing him with her. Romeo then hides under the water as a guard comes in to check on things, and, upon only seeing Juliet in the pool, leaves shortly after. Romeo and Juliet, still in the pool, discuss their situation and feelings towards one another. After much discussion, Juliet starts to leave the pool, but, in a response to Romeo, runs back and falls back into the pool, again, bringing him with her. The scene ends similarly to the other renditions, as the nurse calls Juliet back to the house, and she eventually says her goodbyes to Romeo; after planning their wedding for the next day, and giving him a necklace before she leaves.
Romeo and Juliet 1996 photo 1
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In any story, the atmosphere is very important to setting the overall mood of the story; many factors can contribute to a story’s atmosphere such as setting, music, pace, character behaviour, colours/lighting, etc. In the graphic novel, the pace was a lot slower than that of the movies, because it’s a novel, but it wasn’t too slow as to bore the reader. The House of Capulet seemed very large, as if belonging to a wealthy family, which the Capulet’s were. The colours used, around the setting and on the characters, seemed very fitting of the characters themselves and of the surroundings. Overall, the general atmosphere of the novel very well represents the intended feel of a theatre production of the same story.
Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel photo 5
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The 1968 film version was also successful in building a suitable atmosphere. The house very much suited the family it belonged to and the style of the time period, as did the clothes both characters were wearing. Of course, there was little lighting, as the scene took place at night, so the moodiness of the nature light from the moon and from the house lights set the scene very well. The music was well suited for the time period, and for what was happening during the scene. The pace was a little bit quick, but, considering the emotion happening at the time, it did not seem unnatural and, since the scene is rather long, it did not feel too rushed.
Romeo and Juliet 1968 photo 4
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Since the 1996 film was set in a different time period, the overall atmosphere was a bit different. The whole scene was a lot more modernized than the other versions, so the set had a lot more modern things like elevators; the house was also a lot more obviously fancy from the outside. The music very well complimented the scene itself and the emotions happening in the scene, changing when something different was experienced. The only issues I personally had with the mood of this rendition was that the dialogue did not really fit with the modernized feel of the movie. Everything was modernized apart from the dialogue, so it seemed very unnatural. Overall, the atmosphere got the general idea across.
Romeo and Juliet 1996 photo 2
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All of the differing portrayals of this scene work wonders for different aspects of it, and whichever you prefer depends on what you’re looking to get out of it. If you’re looking for a more authentic rendition to the original play, then the graphic novel would suit that well, whereas if you were looking for a more engaging, creative way of telling the same story, the 1968 version may be better suited for you. If you wanted to see a different take on the original story that has already been told in many different ways, then I would suggest the 1996. Most importantly, all forms capture the general feel of what Shakespeare was originally trying to portray, and set up the upcoming scenes perfectly.

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