Similarities of Two Famous Tales of LoveIn one of the most famous love stories of this century, many elementsfrom anotherfamous tale of love were borrowed.
In many instances, Westside Storymirrored Shakespeare’sRomeo And Juliet. Many similarities were noted from thecharacterization to the plot structure.However, they differed as well.In Westside Story, some characters shared personalities with those ofRomeo And Juliet.
The families of the Capulets and Montagues were wellrepresented by two gangs, the Sharks andthe Jets. Both being ineffective rulers,officer Krumpke and the Prince struggle to keep peace if their cities both to noavail and warned,” If you disturb our streets again, your lives shall paytheforfeit of peace.”() . Due to their differing backgrounds,Tony being affiliated with the Jets and Maria with the Sharks, Tony and Mariapartook in forbidden love much like Romeo and Juliet.
Much like Tybalt, Bernadodisapproved of their love and was quick to fight with anymember of the Jets orTony. However, Anita, Bernardo’s girlfriend, approved of their love because shejust wanted to see Maria happy like the Nurse. Overwhelmed by all the fighting,Baby John was much like Tybalt’s peace keeping foil character, Mercutio. Lastly,Doc tried to help Tony and stop all the insanity around him like Friar Laurence.In both stories, comic relief occurred to keep the audience interested,but the two plays usually differed in their approaches to comedy. In Romeo AndJuliet, Mercutio amused the audience with his actions and soliloquies. WestsideStory didn’t have a character like Mercutio, so it used a combination of theirdance and characters for comic relief.
The Jets performed a humorous song thatmocked Officer Krumpke. Also, to enliven the audience, The Jets always pickedon Anybodys, a scruffy looking girl who always tried to get in the gang.Depsite those different approaches for comedy, Westside Story immitatedMercutio and other Montagues’ scene with the Nurse, taunting her and exclaimimg,” ..
.hide her face; for her fan’s the fairer of the two ” ( ), whenAnita went to Doc’s,and they mocked her saying so this what a P.R. woman lookslike and tossing her around.
The settings from these plays did not differ much at all. Tony andMaria had to hide their love from their families to avoid being separated.Bernardo and Anita already arranged a marriage between Maria and Chino like thatof Juliet and Paris’s arranged marriage. The Jets and Sharks frequently rumbledto prove who was the best gang in the Westside like the Capulets and Montaguesfought to prove who was the best family in Verona, as expressed by the openingprologue,” Two housesolds, both alike in dignity..
. from ancient grudge to breakto new mutiny” () . At the conclusion, both delivered the samemessage that the tragedy was everyone’s fault not just one person.
The plots and scenes for these two plays were uncannily alike. LikeRomeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria met at a dance and it was love a first sightfor both. Their love lifes were a secret because of the warring between thegangs like that of the hostile Montagues and Capulets. Romeo And Juliet’sfamous balcony scene was mimed by Tony and Maria’s fire escape scene. After theloss of their dearest friends, Romeo and Tony both killed someone from theirlover’s family.
After hearing of her brother Bernardo’s death, Maria stillwanted to stay with Tony like Juliet, even if it meant leaving her whole lifebehind and fleeing with him. However, the endings differed a bit. First, Chino,the Paris character, murdered Tony to avenge Bernardo’s death.
Rather thankilling herself, Maria wept and gave a lecture much like the Prince’s “All arepunished !”( ), saying it wasn’t Chino who killed Tony it waseveryone because everyone was filled with hate.Thus, the characters, plot, humor, and setting of Westside Storyoriginated from one Shakespeare’s most prolific plays, Romeo And Juliet . Thesimilarities of these two famous tales of love made Westside Story showed that alove story from ages ago could reappear and be successful in the 20th century.