The Motif Of Luhrmann 's Romeo And Juliet Essay

1141 Words Sep 29th, 2016 5 Pages
The Motif of Water in Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet
Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers does not feature scenes of characters swimming, looking out at the ocean, or dunking their heads into the sink. Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 cinematic interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, however, depicts water throughout. Water connotes purity and sincerity. Thus, Luhrmann’s use of water allows contemporary audiences to visually understand the themes of love, purification, and truth present in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Water is first present in the film with a shot of Romeo staring out to the ocean during a bout of depression. For reasons understood retrospectively, Romeo is drawn to the ocean in his time of bewilderment and heartache. Shortly after this scene, the audience first meets Juliet underwater in her bathtub. Again, although the significance of these two characters and water is a retrospective realization, it is important to point out both Romeo and Juliet are introduced to the audience with a connection to water. Meaning is derived as the images of water turn into a pattern.
The next time the audience sees water it begins to become clear water is in some way connected to clarity, rejuvenation, and truth. At the Capulet’s costume party, after taking a drug from Mercutio, Romeo, with his mask on, dunks his head in a sink. Up until this point, Romeo’s experience at the party was severely altered due to the powerful effects of the drug; however, the water brings him back to a…

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