Romeo and Juliet: Act III Song analysis

Act III of Romeo and Juliet is the time where everything goes wrong for Romeo and Juliet. The first scene is a fight that breaks out in the streets, in which Tybalt kills Mercutio, and Romeo kills Tybalt. As a result, Romeo is banished from Verona, and Juliet is forced by her father to marry Paris in three days. In this article, I will be comparing “The Banishment” by Prong, and “Beat it” by Michael Jackson, on which one better represents Act III.

Beat It by Michael Jackson

In this classic Jackson song, someone gets into a fight and is forced to “Beat it” or run away. 

 

They told him, “Don’t you ever come around here.

Don’t wanna see your face. You better disappear.”

The fire’s in their eyes and their words are really clear

So beat it, just beat it

 

In this section of the lyrics, the unnamed person is “banished” and forced to leave, this reflects Romeo’s banishment in Act III. Romeo, is told that he will be killed if he is ever seen in Verona again, this is similar to the song,

 

They’re out to get you, better leave while you can

Don’t wanna be a boy, you wanna be a man

You wanna stay alive, better do what you can

So beat it, just beat it

 

This section shows that the man in the song will be killed if he stays in the town and is caught, this is similar to Romeo’s banishment. In Act 3, Sc 2, Ln 205, the Prince says

 

Else, when he is found, that hour is his last.

 

Saying that Romeo will also be killed if he is found in Verona.

Finally, in the song, the chorus says

 

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it

No one wants to be defeated

Showin’ how funky strong is your fight

It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right

 

The last line of this reflects the confusion of Romeo’s Banishment. In the Play, Romeo is not responsible for starting the fight, he was largely not at fault. In the song there is also this doubt, but in both it is irrelevant, either way all the man can do is run away.

Overall, the song “beat it” does a good job reflecting the banishment of Romeo, and the need to run away, it also briefly mentions the confusion of the situation. The song however, does not mention other key elements of the act such as Juliet being unsure whether to be angry or sad for Romeo, or Juliet’s family forcing Juliet into marriage. However, I would say “Beat It” does a good job reflecting Romeo’s Banishment in Act III.

The Banishment by Prong

Despite being called “The Banishment”, this song does not reflect an actual banishment like in Romeo and Juliet and “Beat It”.

 

Cos I’m bored

So I left

No reason for me to hang around this place

I get more and more stress

Nothing anyone can offer more or less

Done grieving, closer to the end

Done grieving, closer to the end

 

In this section of the film, the singer says he left simply because he was bored, and there was nothing there for him. In “Beat It” and Romeo and Juliet, they have to leave or risk being physically killed, this is the exact opposite.

Other elements of the song show themes that simply don’t exist in the play during this act. For example,

 

Drinking away the pain, crying until it rains

No reason to live or die with dignity

Put myself to rest with the curse I’ve always been with

A laughable life, mundane with drudgery

 

This section says the man drinks his problems away, while Romeo does not drink, and says he has no reason to live, while Romeo, even after being banished is still hopeful and cares about his family and Juliet, it is only after he hears Juliet is dead where he loses hope in life.

Imagery

In Beat it, the music video consists of a group of thugs forming a gang as they walk through the streets, eventually leading to a knife fight between two gangs. This gang violence somewhat relates to the rival family relationship between the Montagues and the Capulets. The families act similar to feuding gangs. Meanwhile the music video for “The Banishment” is just a rock concert, and has little to do with the play.

Conclusion

In conclusion, “beat it” by Michael Jackson does a far better job reflecting Act III of Romeo and Juliet then “The Banishment” by Prong. “Beat it” tells the story of an actual banishment similar to the play, and shares many similar themes to the video and the lyrics. “The Banishment” tells a much more convoluted story that does not apply to Romeo and Juliet in both its lyrics and its music video. That is why I believe “Beat It” by Michael Jackson, does a better job reflecting act III, then “The Banishment”.

 

I found the lyrics for these songs at

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/michaeljackson/beatit.html (Beat It)

http://www.lyricsmania.com/the_banishment_lyrics_prong.html (The Banishment)

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