Comparing Romeo And Juliet And Bernstein's West Side Story

Powerful Essays
Sami Sayegh
Dr. Alan F. Hickman
ENGL 103 Sec D
Paper III-Dram
11th April, 2017

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet vs. Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story William Shakespeare can be considered as one of the greatest play writer in history. Out of the several plays he wrote, a timeless drama is that of Romeo and Juliet. Thereafter, play writers, authors and directors have enacted his play and even re-written it into their own style. Reviewers of literature say West side story by Leonard Bernstein, the musical, is an allegorical representation on Romeo and Juliet (Levine 630). The plot in West Side Story is similar to that of Romeo and Juliet, the theme of love and hate and the use of dramatic irony make these two stories a tragedy. The
…show more content…
The kind of love that resists everything even families and loyalties. The adoration Tony felt for Maria and Romeo for Juliet made them challenge their families, their companions and their society. Their adoration is strong and compelling, to such an extent that it made them rebel against themselves. The first instances where the love story begins in both stories is at a party. In Romeo and Juliet it is the ball held at the Capulet’s house, where Romeo and his friends sneak into to enjoy the fun until Romeo catches sight of this beautiful girl, Juliet, who he cannot keep his eyes off of. Similarly, the dance party in West Side Story where both the gangs are present, even though they cannot stand either one of them, the representatives from each gang first meet, Tony and Maria, and fall in love. Both scenarios display the connection of ‘love at first sight’. The love story doesn 't begin until the balcony scenes in both stories where the male protagonists, Tony and Romeo, climb up or meet outside the female protagonist’s balcony, Maria and Juliet, to chat and confess their love. From this point on, their tragic love stories begin to the point of climax, which is their…show more content…
In both stories, this tool was used to emphasise the themes and the tragedy itself. In West Side Story, Maria sings to her friends about her new love, without knowing that this new love just killed her brother (Bauch 95). With the audience knowing this information, the scenes leading up to Maria finding out, builds climax and more drama to the scene (Gale). Similarly, in Romeo and Juliet, the audience is aware that Juliet has taken the sleeping potion but Romeo isn’t, and they also know that the letter Romeo receives isn 't the letter the Friar sent to him, rather a fraudulent one. The climax scene is also the death scene in Romeo and Juliet. Another scene in Romeo and Juliet is the Prologue as the audience know from the beginning that the protagonists’ fate is set to death; “A pair of star-cross 'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventur 'd piteous overthrows; Doth, with their death, bury their parents’ strife” (1. Prologue). The use of dramatic irony makes the audience feel more involved in the story even though they can predict the ending, the drama comes from how the ending is done and at what
Get Access