Comparison Essay Between Romeo And Juliet And West Side Story

Romeo and Juliet / West Side Story - A Comparison / Contrast

1008 Words5 Pages

     Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story both have a lot in common as well as major differences that set them apart. Although West Side Story is a direct rendition of Shakespeare's original play, many of the themes and symbols are altered to fit the modern perspective. The characters have a direct correlation to each other, yet racial issues give them a new light. Many of the events also reflect each other, yet small differences give them uniqueness. West Side Story differs from Romeo and Juliet in characterizations, plot sequences, and themes.
      The characterization of the protagonists and antagonists have many differences. The Montagues and Capulets are from the same…show more content…

Although Juliet seems more serious and mature at the beginning, Maria grows up during the course of the movie. Tony and Romeo are just the opposite. Tony knows whom he loves, and that's Maria, while Romeo had a very idealistic view of love in the beginning of the play, maturing as the end neared and he had to deal with Juliet's death. Tony and Maria are also less preoccupied with the bonds of marriage and love in their society, while it's almost like a sin for Romeo and Juliet to be together before being married. This is further emphasized by the fact that religion plays a substantially lesser role in West Side Story than it does in Romeo and Juliet.
     The plot sequences are also different in West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet. Prince Escalius is completely neutral about the Capulet and Montague brawls as well as all public disputes. He is the voice of reason in their turmoil, and serves as the peacemaker. Lieutenant Schrank, although he tries to stop the brawl, is more biased towards the Jets. His prejudice almost permits the brawl to go on, and the Jets certainly take the hint. Romeo and Juliet marry each other secretly, and that in itself binds them together. It was because that Juliet couldn’t marry Paris for fear of bigamy that she had to go to Friar Lawrence for help. This ultimately led to both protagonists' death. Tony and Maria never

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"Romeo And Juliet" And "West Side Story": A Comparison

Introduction

In the mid 1590's, a masterpiece was written and performed as a play. It was a tragic story, but it was a beautiful story. I'm obviously talking about Shakespeare's The Most Excellent and Lamentable "Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet" or for short, "Romeo and Juliet". Over 300 years later, a man named Arthur Laurents, took that same masterpiece, changed the setting, the dialogue and the characters, and got a story called West Side Story as his result. Than, with the help of Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sonheim and Jerome Robbbins, it thrived into a famous Broadway musical.

In this paper I will go into detail about the differences and similarities of the two stories. Before I start, I will state this difference: West Side Story, being a musical and Romeo and Juliet, being a play, changes the extent of dialogue that can be had, because a musical needs to be altered for songs to fit into it. Romeo and Juliet's dialogue can extend further, since it's a play. As you will see, nearly every aspect of the stories can be compared or contrasted to another.

"Romeo and Juliet" is set mainly in the city of Verona, Italy, where the two households are located, and in Mantua, Italy where Romeo was exiled. There never was a date set in the play, but many say that it takes place at the same time Shakespeare wrote it. We can aproximately calculated when the book was written, because Nurse gave reference to an earthquake: "'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years," (Romeo and Juliet, 1.3.23). This points to a violent earthquake in London, where Shakespeare is speculated to have lived when the book was written. What we do know about time in the story is that it goes through a course of four days. West Side Story takes a course of only two days. It also takes place in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, NY in the 50's, where a lot of Puerto Ricans moved to the US to start a new life.

West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet: A comparison

Characters (Related to personality, not plot)

To start off my contrary/contrast of Romeo and Juliet's and West Side Story's characters, I will begin with the male counterparts. Both Romeo and Juliet's Romeo and West Side Story's Tony express their love for Juliet/Maria in similar ways. Both show their love through sensuality. In other words, their love towards Juliet/Maria is the opposite of platonic. One difference between the way Romeo and Tony express their love is that Romeo uses more metaphors and similes and really goes into detail with his romantic ramblings....

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