On Twitter we’re discussing an apparent trend toward cutting out the Romeo/Paris confrontation at Juliet’s tomb.
@WhitneyJE got us started earlier today, and it’s been going from there:
What do you think? Check out the link to see the whole conversation as of this posting. Is it just an easy place to cut an unnecessary scene? Does it break the momentum of Romeo getting to Juliet? Do we not care enough about Paris at that point?
While I agree that the audience doesn’t have much opportunity to feel for Paris one way or the other, I don’t think that makes him a bad guy who needs to die. He’s an innocent in this. From his point of view, he’s doing everything right. His betrothed died, he’s gone to the tomb, he thinks Romeo is going to do something bad, he tries to do the right thing and pays for it. Is it necessary? Maybe not. But it’s still a good scene.
I think it adds to Romeo’s character, though. Just like we have to stop and consider that Hamlet sent Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (again, two relative innocents) to their death, Romeo plows right through this guy who gets in his way. It’s not as if Romeo has time to say, “Aha, Paris! You’re the one who caused this whole problem, and I shall take my revenge!” I’m pretty sure that Romeo doesn’t even recognize him until after he’s dead. This is one of the reasons I like this scene in the Luhrman version of the movie, because DiCaprio’s “Tempt not a desperate man!” scream really does make me feel like he’s a guy that knows exactly what he’s doing, he just isn’t going to let anything stop him.
What do you think? I won’t ask “Keep it or cut it” because who voluntarily cuts Shakespeare? Instead I’ll ask, “When you go to a production and discover that it’s been cut, how upset are you?”