Is ‘Titanic’ (the film) inspired by ‘Romeo & Juliet’?

27 Aug

As part of a unit on Romeo & Juliet my students will be required to locate, explore and analyse related material.  A recent discussion with a colleague prompted me to reflect upon contemporary films which reimagine the central ideas and relationships in Shakespeare’s play.

One film that immediately came to mind with Titanic.  Jack and Rose are, of course, “star cross’d” lovers in that they are divided by class and the disapproval of Rose’s family and peers.  The question I would pose to students is as follows:

Does the ending of Titanic (which deviates substantially from that of Shakespeare’s play) compromise the characterisation of that text as an appropriation of Romeo & Juliet?  Discuss.

The purpose of this question would be to facilitate deeper critical engagement with the two texts.

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