Romeo is to Jesus

Romeo is to Jesus as Juliet is to the Virgin Mary. What an odd title!! I know. I figured that “Romeo and Juliet Ending Scene from the 2013 Movie Looks So Much Like the Virgin Mary Holding a Dead Jesus In Her Arms” may have been a bit too long. “Romeo is to Jesus” will suffice.

This past week for my Shakespearean Afterlives class we were looking closely at the various death scenes in the play. We watched several film adaptations of the death scene of Romeo and Juliet and there was one that just made me weep! I have read this play multiple times, have seen it several times in movies, and since it is a shared cultural history of sorts, understand exactly what happens in it through the many allusions to it in pop culture. There was nothing surprising happening here! I was trying to put my finger on why it moved me so. Was it the acting that was different? Was it the third time I’d seen this scene that day and the emotions were just starting to hit me? Both are totally plausible, but I realized that it was the art of it that made me teary-eyed.

I had never seen the 2013 adaptation of this play, so I truly wasn’t prepared for the art of this scene. The camera angle coupled with the set design, costumes, lighting, and blocking of the scene culminated in a really powerful shot.

Romeo and Juliet 2013 Death Scene

I paused it to look at it longer because something about it seemed so familiar to me. Then I realized that it shares visual similarities to images of the Virgin Mary mourning Jesus! As another classic example of dying for love, the two are composed very similarly: the male lies on his back, facing up towards the woman he loves while she looks down at him, mourning his death (and in Juliet’s case, shares in it).

I just had to share this experience I had! I’m not sure if the staging of this was wholly intentional, but either way I was extremely inspired. I hope you have a great week!

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