Side Story Essay, Research Paper

Contrast of Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story

Essay submitted by Bob Garrard

Three Hundred Fifty Years of Blind Love: A Contraposition of Shakespeare and

Robbins? Romeo and Juliet

Andy Warhol one time said, & # 8220 ; They say that clip alterations things, but really you have to alter them

yourself. & # 8221 ; Two hundred 50 old ages passed between the original Romeo and Juliet and the premiere

of West Side Story on Broadway in 1957. However, clip did non alter the message of the

narrative, merely the Godheads? alone visions evolved. Shakespeare? s bringing of the dateless narrative of

despairing love in his authoritative Romeo and Juliet proves to merely escalate through retelling and

modern reading. Audiences cherish Romeo and Juliet as one of the most darling dramas of

all clip from the Elizabethan Age to the present. Romeo and Juliet have attained the function as the

quintessential lovers, and the noun, & # 8220 ; a Romeo, & # 8221 ; is synonymous with & # 8221 ; lover. & # 8221 ; Shakespeare? s

Romeo and Juliet is closely based on Arthur Brooke & # 8217 ; s narrative, The Tragicall History of Romeus and

Juliet. The linguistic communication, attitudes, and imposts detailed in the drama are by and large English, in malice of

Brooke? s original Italian scene. In 1949, choreographer Jerome Robbins decided to recite

Brooke and Shakespeare? s romantic calamity utilizing vocal and dance, elements of racism and

patriotism, and a modern slang. Robbins called upon the musical endowments of composer

Leonard Bernstein and the words of Arthur Laurents for the book and book. The love narrative

proved to hold cosmopolitan entreaty throughout all artistic signifiers, as it had already been adjusted for

opera and concert dance. The modern-day version of this timeless authoritative alters inside informations and deepens

the message of hatred, but maintains Brooke and Shakespeare? s vision. The relationships

between the characters, secret plan sequence, and subject of hatred in West Side Story and Romeo and

Juliet intertwine ensuing in two similar, yet changing versions of the most celebrated love narrative of all


The relationships between the characters of West Side Story and Shakespeare? s Romeo and

Juliet are brooding of their several clip periods and the original narrative. Maria and Juliet

stand for a somewhat practical opposite number to both Tony? s and Romeo? s idealistic nature. Maria? s

brother Bernardo and Juliet? s cousin Tybalt portray impetuously obstinate and violent characters

who both die from lesions inflicted by the male lead. Lieutenant Schrank is similar to Prince

Escalus, although Schrank is unjust in his intervention and attitude towards one gang- the Sharks.

Anita and Nurse both take on the function as Juliet? s intimate and trusted friend, frequently fiddling

with their functions as couriers. The badly hoydenish Anybodys, who urgently wants

to be a Jet, would outdo tantrum into the function of Balthasar, since it was she who aided Tony in get awaying

after the rumble, every bit good as subsequently informing the other Jets that Tony was being hunted. Finally, the

character of Doc appears to carry through the function of Friar Laurence because both possess somewhat of a

peacekeeping nature. Doc attempts to acquire through to Tony by dramatically pleading, & # 8220 ; Why do

you live like there? s a war on? Why do you kill? & # 8221 ; ( 2.5 ) . All of the characters are consistent to the

bosom and psyche of the narrative every bit good as the somewhat differing secret plans.

West Side Story maintains Romeo and Juliet? s intricate and exciting secret plan utilizing appropriate

versions to suit mid-twentieth-century pop civilization. For case, both artistic signifiers

portray common discourtesy between the parties. At the morning of Romeo and Juliet, Capulet? s

cohorts harass Montague? s. & # 8220 ; I will seize with teeth my pollex at them ; which is a shame to them, if they

bear it, & # 8221 ; self-praises Sampson ( 1.1.42-43 ) . In the opening scene of West Side Story, several members

of a Puerto Rican pack abuse A-rab, a member of the opposing pack. It is here where Lieutenant

Schrank becomes cognizant of the possible rumbling. In Romeo and Juliet Escalus, Prince of Verona,

threatens, & # 8220 ; If of all time you disturb our streets once more, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace & # 8221 ;

( 1.1.103-104 ) . In West Side Story, Schrank mediates in his ain manner when he declares, & # 8220 ; I got a

hot surprise for you: you hoodlums wear & # 8217 ; t own the streets & # 8221 ; ( 1.1 ) . Later, another similarity takes

topographic point. Riff convinces Tony to go to the dance at the gym merely as Benvolio persuades Romeo to

go to the Capulets? mask. Tony confesses to Flick that he & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; reachin & # 8217 ; out for

something & # 8221 ; ( 1.2 ) , merely what, he doesn & # 8217 ; T know. Riff encourages Tony by suggesting, & # 8220 ; Maybe what

you & # 8217 ; re waitin & # 8217 ; for & # 8217 ; ll be twitchin & # 8217 ; at the dance! & # 8221 ; ( 1.2 ) . Shakespeare and manager Jerome Robbins

choose to pull the audience? s attending to the dramatic lovers by giving them alone and high

qualities. At the Capulet ball in Shakespeare? s Romeo and Juliet, all of the characters speak in

clean poetry, but when Romeo and Juliet converse, they speak in sonnet signifier. Throughout the

dance at the gym in West Side Story, both of the packs? members dance a mambo, but Tony and

Maria dance a cha-cha. Bernstein and Robbins translated Shakespeare & # 8217 ; s talk word into

modern dance techniques ( Gravely 1 ) . Along with the dance atmosphere, the find of the

doomed love matter is interpreted in a alone manner in West Side Story, perchance losing passion in

the version. Uracil

pon the disclosure by Juliet? s family of her new love for the enemy in both

versions, the taking lady responds in similar manners. & # 8220 ; Couldn & # 8217 ; t you see he & # 8217 ; s one of them? & # 8221 ; ( 1.4. )

Bernardo asks Maria, his sister. & # 8220 ; No ; I saw merely him, & # 8221 ; ( 1.4 ) she replies. Sixteenth-century Juliet & # 8217 ; s

exclaiming was starkly more facile:

My lone love sprung from my lone hatred!

Excessively early seen unknown, and cognize excessively late!

Colossal birth of love it is to me,

That I must love a loathed enemy. ( 1.5.140-143 )

& # 8220 ; The balcony scene & # 8221 ; is mirrored in West Side Story as the & # 8220 ; fire flight scene. & # 8221 ; Romeo

metaphorically asks Juliet to & # 8220 ; arise, just Sun, and kill the covetous Moon & # 8221 ; ( 2.2.4 ) . During the fire

flight scene, Tony and Maria sing Leonard Bernstein? s? s tune, & # 8220 ; Tonight & # 8221 ; :

Tonight, tonight,

The universe is full of visible radiation,

With Suns and Moons all over the topographic point.

Tonight, tonight,

The universe is wild and bright,

Traveling mad, hiting flickers into infinite. ( 2.5 )

Before pulling apart, both lovers agree to run into the undermentioned twenty-four hours. Romeo and Juliet are to

convene & # 8220 ; by the hr of nine & # 8221 ; ( 2.2.182 ) and Tony and Maria & # 8220 ; [ at ] sundown & # 8221 ; ( 2.5 ) . The

riotously intense meeting inspires the immature romantic lead to negociate peace in both versions.

Tony, at the petition of Maria, tries to halt the violent personal businesss by pleading, & # 8220 ; Bernardo you? ve got it

wrong/ Are you chicken? / You won? T understand & # 8221 ; ( 2.5 ) . Merely as Romeo defends his Pacific

nature by explicating, & # 8220 ; O sweet Juliet, / Thy beauty hath made me effeminate / And my pique

softened heroisms? s steel & # 8221 ; ( 3.1.109-111 ) . Despite Romeo and Tony? s brave attempts, Mercutio

assaults Tybalt, which culminates with Riff? s onslaughts on Bernardo. Both episodes result in the

deceases of Mercutio and Tybalt, and Riff and Bernardo. Ironically, the conciliator himself, in both

plants, slayings his beloved? s relation:

I do protest, I ne’er injured thee

But love thee better than 1000 canst devise,

Till thou shalt know the ground of my love:

And so, good Capulet, which name I tender

Equally in a heartfelt way as my ain, be satisfied. ( 3.1.71-75 )

While Romeo is forced into expatriate for his action, Tony is so horrified by his ain behaviour he

becomes a fleeting and programs to get away with Maria. While seeking for the adult male who has

purportedly killed his darling, Tony spots Maria, alive and good, as does an angered Chino. Just

as Tony ab initio fell in love with one glace, Tony perishes with a individual shooting. Upon detecting

Romeo & # 8217 ; s decease, Juliet ends her ain by piercing her thorax with her sweetheart? s sticker.

Coincidentally, an tormented Maria remains alive, although she cries, & # 8220 ; How many can I kill,

Chino? How many [ slugs do you hold left ] and still hold one slug left for me? & # 8221 ; ( 2.6 )

The cosmopolitan subject of hatred and close-mindedness nowadayss itself in alone signifiers in Romeo and

Juliet and West Side Story severally. Like Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria are of inauspicious

parties, and their doomed love is out. Maria, a Puerto Rican, and Tony, a

Polish-American, are vernal, fresh-faced and open-minded. They are apathetic to the societal

boundary lines in which they are go againsting. Identical to Romeo and Juliet, love is their exclusive concern. Both

relationships in each single clip period faced terrible force per unit area when their love crossed into a

different subdivision of society. Shakespeare? s Romeo and Juliet experienced durable, lifelessly

feuds between outstanding households. Relatively, alternatively of animus between feuding households

( Montagues and Capulets ) , West Side Story offers bias between races, as illustrated

between street packs ( Jets and Sharks ) . The hostility between the two religious orders was modernized to

racism. Just as Romeo and Juliet represent Elizabethan Italian disputes, West Side Story

relevantly portrays modern civilisation? s unscrupulous racism. Tony represents the white indigent

immigrant civilization, which is being threatened by the invasion of new immigrant populations that are

get downing new lives in America, particularly the Puerto Ricans. The altered stoping in West Side

Story involves Maria? s endurance throughout the drama, contrary to Shakespeare? s version in which

Juliet commits suicide upon the acquisition of her psyche mate? s decease. This altered stoping clarifies the

societal message West Side Story delivers to its audience. Possibly Maria? s endurance signifies a

affecting reminder of the duty everyone portions in the calamity that befell her. Unlike

Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria were non & # 8220 ; star-crossed & # 8221 ; lovers whose fate was determined

by destiny, but instead victims of the intolerance, misinterpretation, and misgiving that seem to be

ever-present in human society ( Gravely 1 ) .

The relationships between the characters, secret plan sequence, and subject of hatred in West Side Story

and Romeo and Juliet intertwine ensuing in two parallel yet somewhat differing representations of the

most celebrated love narrative of all clip. Shakespeare presents an entertaining, witty and sometimes

sexually provocative portraiture of Arthur Brooke? s narrative. Robbins? presentation of the famed

authoritative paints the atrocious truths of racism and irrational force through dance, vocal, and music.

Romeo and Juliet? s blind love is the force that unites two enemies, merely as the ageless human spirit

brings all people of the Earth united as one.