In honor of Shakespeare Syndrome finishing I thought I'd highlight our main man and my favorite character in the play (outside of Tybalt who has a special place in my heart thanks to Romeo X Juliet) - Benvolio! Now, with adaptations of Romeo and Juliet come changes to our dear honest cousin of Romeo Montague. Whenever I watch adaptations of the classic play (which I admit is my least favorite of Shakespeare plays that I read so far) I am always on the lookout for this small but vital character.
So who is Benvolio Montague? He is the cousin of Romeo who is honest, good, and is somewhat of a look out for Romeo. Unlike Mercutio, Benvolio isn't exactly a wise crack and doesn't engage in battle. He is often seen as Romeo's mentor in remakes and still shows a bit of his honest kindness in remakes.
Who can forget the musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet? Personally I was always really into Bernardo (a.k.a. Tybalt) and I never understood how Maria could sleep with Tony after he just killed her brother. And Riff (Mercutio no doubt)! My gosh he was annoying. But what about Benvolio? Who was our Benvolio in this story?
I've heard a lot of different ideas on who could be Benvolio, but none speak out better than Ice. Firstly, he has a cool personality, which is just like Benvolio in the play. Secondly, he was friends with Riff and Tony, and since Riff dies, he takes over to help the gang cope. Does this not sound like Benvolio to you? Well I certainly think so. Ice "cools" down the gang (if you pardon my pun) and is a fair just leader, even kind to Anybody. All in all, a very nice remake of Benvolio.
2. Romeo and Juliet (the 1968 version)
3. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
I didn't care for this movie at all. In fact I rather hated it. While I appreciate the use of the original script, I just couldn't stand this movie. I think it partially fueled my dislike of the play, but from what I've seen a lot of teen liked it and it helped them to understand and appreciate the play so I guess that's okay. Anyway, Benvolio in this is played by Dash Mihok (cool name, right?) and in this they have guns and modern stuff that honestly bored me. They also rap some of the lines.
Ick. Anyway, there's not really much to be said here other than the fact that Benvolio now carries a gun and has red hair. Pretty sweet. Moving on!
4. Romeo x Juliet
In this play Benvolio is like Romeo's confedont. He looks out for him and let's him share his feelings for the mysterious red haired girl (Juliet). Benvolio isn't particularly amazing in this adaptation (honestly it's Tybalt that swoops in and just steals your heart), and I thought he was kind of boring, but still good. He's one of the few good guys on the Montague side and his little thing with Cordelia is very cute. All in all, I just have to say, the Japanese have done the BEST adaptation of the play yet. You know, besides the actual play itself. This one though, ugh! So good. So creative, yet still sticking to its roots.
5. Gnomeo and Juliet
I didn't watch this movie. I didn't see a point in doing so. It's a kids movie so I knew right away that Gnomeo and Juliet would end up together. And I've seen so many remakes of Romeo and Juliet it just seemed pointless to me. However, I had become curious as to who it was that was Benvolio, and was pleased to find out he was even named after one of my favorite Elton John songs - Bennie and the Jets! Do you get the pun? The Jets? West Side Story? Bennie? Benvolio? Clever. I did approve of that.
And finally, because we're nearing the end, Shakespeare Syndrome. Now it's not a remake of the play (oh no there's enough of that), BUT it does feature Romeo and Benvolio.... Along with a bunch of other men from Shakespeare's plays. And Benvolio is our leading man!
So those are the different faces of Benvolio. Maybe one day I'll do more. There are certainly plenty more out there! Well, have a great day!