Romeo and Juliet, a tragic yet passionate play written by William Shakespeare, tells the story of two teenage lovers who get caught in the clash of their family’s ongoing conflict. One of the most profound and famous scenes in literature takes place in Romeo and Juliet, as the two young lovers are seen on a balcony, passionately declaring their unconditional love for each other. Released in 2011, a British-American Disney animated film titled, Gnomeo and Juliet tells a lighthearted and simplified version of Shakespeare’s famous play.
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Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet takes an interesting approach in showcasing Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene.
When comparing Shakespeare’s original balcony scene and Disney’s remade cartoon, there are many topics worthy of being discussed, such as: setting, characterization, and language. In Shakespeare’s original play, the famous balcony scene takes place in the Capulet family’s garden. Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet also takes place in a garden: however, it is modernized and occupied with living gnomes instead of humans. The time period is also significantly different. As Romeo and Juliet takes place in the 1600s, Gnomeo and Juliet takes place in modern time. These small differences make a huge impact in modernizing Shakespeare’s classic play, especially for the impact and understanding of younger audiences. Although Gnomeo and Juliet displays a much simpler approach to Shakespeare’s tragedy, the traits of the characters are overall quite similar. In both scenes, Romeo is portrayed as being quite impulsive and immature, where Juliet appears to be more cautious and reserved. Juliet’s reaction in both scenes is also quite similar, as she is embarrassed, yet relieved that Romeo feels the same yearning passion that she does.
Although this is true, these is a noticeable difference in these two scenes; the contrast in the emotions expressed by the characters. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet showcases the love between the two teenagers as an ecstatic and overpowering need to be together; however, Gnomeo and Juliet lacks the intense yearning and overwhelming love the two share. The language expressed in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is very complex, surreal, and passionate; however, in the animated remake, Gnomeo and Juliet, the language is simplified, childlike, and displays a more innocent theme. Although this is a noticeable change, it is beneficial to a younger audience, as Shakespeare’s language can be difficult to understand.
In conclusion, Disney’s approach to Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene is lighthearted and entertaining, yet lacks the deep emotions and unconditional love that the original displays. Since “Gnomeo and Juliet” is an animated film created for children, Shakespeare’s incredible language lacks greatly. Although there are significant differences in the two, the characteristics and the overall message of the story are similar: love that is so intensely passionate will break all morals. Works Cited Shakespeare, William and Alan Durband. Romeo and Juliet. Hauppage: NY: Barron’s, 1985. Print. Accessed 4 January 2019. Asbury, Kelly. Gnomeo and Juliet. Hollywood: Walt Disney Studios. 2011. DVD. Accessed 8 January 2019.
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