Romeo x Juliet: The Balcony Scene

Topic started by John_Martone on Oct. 7, 2009. Last post by John_Martone 5 years, 5 months ago.
Post by John_Martone (2,992 posts) See mini bio Level 10

Save the finale the show, in which

No scene in Romeo and Juliet is as iconic as the balcony scene. The balcony, an actual place in Verona, is treated as a mecca of young love. The scene in particular uses the "A rose by any other color would smell as sweet...," but the balcony is used twice. Once in act 2, as Romeo sneaks glances of his love/show their earliest expressions of love, and another after they have consummated their marriage/Romeo sneaks off in the morning.
So, for purposes of comparing and contrasting, I've included Romeo x Juliet's balcony scene, which combines these two purposes together. In addition, I've included an Italian fandub of the same scene just because I like the way Italian sounds.


Post by Lan (621 posts) See mini bio Level 13
The english dub of this scene isn't that bad. No Baz Luhrman Romeo + Juliet though? For shame! Great concept, poor actors....or rather actors who had no idea what they were saying. Oh Franco Zefferili's version of Romeo and Juliet makes me so nostalgic...freshman year of high school. Only got to see the balcony scene in class, but rented it from the library and cried pitifully at the end. Also, drooled a whole lot over Leonard Whiting and could not get over how HUGE Oliva Hussy's (haha) breasts were. Back to the subject at hand, I really like the balcony scene in R X J. It's interesting to note it's Romeo's mother who (re)unites the two; she's a nun who replaces the friar. Hmmm...wonder what that says...I'm sure there's some deep intellectual analysis I could do, but don't feel like doing right now. 
I think this scene is a combo of the first balcony scene and the morning after their wedding. It's incredibly moving. There's a role reversal that goes on here because in the original Juliet is the first to renounce her identity, well provided Romeo first swears love. In this version, she's still very tied to her family name. You could attribute that to the fact that she's still trying to cope with her newfound identity and wanting to abandon it. Romeo's love is cemented by the fact that he denounces his family. Then you can into love is give and take on both sides, and that's getting into some other stuff. In the little reading I could find and actually read (in English) on Romeo and Juliet in Japan, I learned that Shakespeare is pretty popular and widely performed in Japan. However, Romeo and Juliet is an exception. Satoshi Sakai writes, "This is perhaps because in Romeo and Juliet there is something too pure, and too rapid, or rather something too modern in a way, which the Japanese in those days had some difficulty in understanding." Granted, he is talking about Meiji era Japan. In our modern, 21st century, individualist American society, Romeo and Juliet is a cliche and a joke and dead horse. I still think though, that someone part of a collectivist culture like Japan would find the message powerful. All the criticism on Romeo and Juliet from 2000 to the present is very much focused on how Romeo and Juliet is interpreted in different cultures, how the play is portrayed in film, or its influence on different plays. No one has critically touched on R X J yet. That could because knowledge of it is limited to certain circles. In thinking about and comparing all the different balcony scenes I've seen, what makes this different? What is the focus? How does it stand out and does that tie into the different context of the whole story? Just some food for thought. 
Post by John_Martone (2,992 posts) See mini bio Level 10
@Lan: Curious. I would question how likely it is to receive critical analysis in different cycles partially because of its medium, and partially because undeniably the story is just so different.
A different cutting, directoral skews, making Mercutio look like a queen, these things significance of the story without changing the actual text/action (well, significantly). By nature of being an entirely different story, no matter how much of an allusion to the original, I'd find it unlikely the social circles outside our own would jump at the opportunity to pick it apart. Yes, I agree with you that it is a combo, but in the actual context of the entire anime it felt rushed and way too short.
Granted. The play runs 2, 2 1/2 hours... while the anime clocks in around 8, so of course a 2 minute segment will have such a lesser visual part... but in the play, this sequence is so heavy. I just don't know.
Elements of the original balcony scene:
Fear of rejection
Fear or reprisal (for being caught by the guards)
Love inspite of logic
Acceptance of love
These elements are seeming non-present in the anime version, since their feelings (and the honest of them) is made widly apparent by now. There is no fear of reprisal, which I think is vital since it makes the entire sequence seem brave in the play, and all you have here is the obstintant acceptance that while illogical, this is the course they will take. No matter what the obstance, or how unlikely, they are set down this road.
Plus it lacks that post coital moment of the morning after the wedding. Nothing of "true" significance has just happened, and this isn't the last happy moment Romeo and Juliet share in the Anime. This seems decidedly more of a place holder, and gone too fast. It just lacked the significance that the its opposite held in text
P.S. I too got all warm and fuzzy about Zefferilli's Romeo and Juliet and freshman english. Except the balcony scene was the ONLY scene we didn't get to see. Our teacher (in a wacky way) thought it was too racy for us highly animate pile of hormones, so she took sticky notes and covered up whatever segment of screen Juliet was on during this sequence.
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