In approximately 1594, William Shakespeare began to write one of the most well known tragedies in history, Romeo and Juliet. Arguably, no author to date has matched Shakespeare's skill and beauty in the creation of this work. However, authors have regurgitated and will continue to regurgitate the theme, "star-crossed lovers", for centuries. Martha Duffy remarks in "West Side Glory", "Slang may change and violence escalate, but the theme of star-crossed city kids has never dated, nor has its appeal diminished" (p. 1). The only viable attempt is the work of modern dramatist Arthur Laurents. However, Laurents' West Side Story originally written as an attempt to modernize Romeo and Juliet, actually became a work of skill and beauty in its own right. The emphasis is now removed from simply "modernizing" Romeo and Juliet; the emphasis is the creation of art through a similar theme, yet very differing styles and influences. The similarities abound within Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story; consequently, there are many deviations found in the plots, characters, and authors' influences.
While certain aspects of the two works remain parallel, many deviations are found within the plot. In West Side Story, the first obvious difference, excluding time periods, is the "exile" situation. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is exiled due to public knowledge of his deed. West Side Story's Romeo, Tony, becomes a fugitive because the public is searching for a criminal. In "Introduction, Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story: An Appreciation" Norris Houghton writes, "As a result of this altered circumstance the plot of West Side Story begins at this point to deviate from Sh...
... middle of paper ...
... sum of Laurents' work is told through Maria as she stands by her fallen lover and cries, "We all killed him!"
The facts are clear, Arthur Laurents is not some second-rate copycat author. An analogy is made by Robert Brustein in "Whose Faust Is It Anyway?" Brustein says, "West Side Story is about as true to its source as Superman is to Nietzsche's ebermensch" (p. 1). He is, in fact, a superb writer who, just as Shakespeare did, expounded on an over-used, sensitive theme of "star-crossed" lovers to covey the message laid on his heart to the best of his abilities. West Side Story is similar and different from Romeo and Juliet; it is not better nor worse. West Side Story is a wonderful creation of art by a man who should never be persecuted for his lack of originality, but should be praised for his intellect and ingenuity.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Although the discrepancies between Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story are too frequent to categorize in such limited space, it is impossible for anyone familiar with both texts to not notice the obvious similarities between the two works ("Theme"). From the opening scenes in both, up through the rumble in West Side Story/death of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, the plays mirror each other (Poelstra). It isn't until the last part of West Side Story, where Tony (our modern-day Romeo) dies and Maria (Tony's Juliet) doesn't (unlike the two star-crossed lovers of Shakespeare's work, both of whom perish), that the major difference between the two works becomes apparent.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
2317 words (6.6 pages)
- The book West Side Story written by Arthur Laurents is set in the mid 1950’s, created as modern version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. West Side Story is a romantic tragedy about two characters that are supposedly completely different and aren’t accepted when they fall in love. The “difference’s” between these characters is centered on the prejudice’s they had against each other. Prejudice is a harsh opinion or feeling formed previously without any knowledge or reason. The Jets and the Sharks used many prejudices against other races, sex, and age.... [tags: West Side Story, Arthur Laurents, Shakespeare, Rom]
806 words (2.3 pages)
- Meshing Together of Characters in Arthur Laurents' West Side Story and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet The meshing of characters between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Bernstein’s West Side Story formulate significant similarities between the two. In Romeo and Juliet the story of “Two households both alike in dignity,” (Montagues and Capulets) who have been feuding is parallel to the two gangs in West Side Story (Jets and Sharks). This grouping of loyalties keeps the segregation of the two groups at a dead lock, thus producing the tension that keeps the two lovers in each play (Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria) in the unattainable, intangible realm of their idealistic love.... [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]
1794 words (5.1 pages)
- In the story of Romeo and Juliet, romantic love is portrayed by different artists. Love has the capability to complete someone or destroy someone; both things happen in the story of Romeo and Juliet. In the final scene, love tears both partners apart and ends in a beautiful tragedy. The play Romeo and Juliet, the ballet Romeo and Juliet, and West Side Story portray romantic love with different methods in the final scene, using dialogue, action, music, and choreography. I. The play Romeo and Juliet Playwright: William Shakespeare uses dialog, action, A.... [tags: Romeo and Juliet, Romance, KILL, Love]
1079 words (3.1 pages)
- The play West Side Story, by Arthur Laurents, is based upon the play Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare. Despite a few differences, both works, in essence, have the same plot. The source of violence in Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story is the ever-present hatred between families and between gangs, although, because of the "star-cross’d lovers" motif in Romeo and Juliet, the hatred plays a larger role in producing the ending of West Side Story than it does the ending of Romeo and Juliet.... [tags: essays research papers]
1421 words (4.1 pages)
- Works Cited Missing Three Hundred Fifty Years of Blind Love: A Contraposition of Shakespeare and Robbins’ Romeo and Juliet Andy Warhol once said, "They say that time changes things, but actually you have to change them yourself." Two hundred fifty years passed between the original Romeo and Juliet and the premiere of West Side Story on Broadway in 1957. However, time did not change the message of the story, simply the creators’ unique visions evolved. Shakespeare’s delivery of the timeless tale of desperate love in his classic Romeo and Juliet proves to only intensify through retelling and modern interpretation.... [tags: compare, contrast, comparison]
1657 words (4.7 pages)
- A Comparison of Scenes From West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet Cinematography The scene before the meeting scene in West Side Story Maria spins around in her dress the camera then carries on spinning which creates a colourful blurred effect on the screen. The effect makes her look like she is almost spinning into the next scene. When Tony and Maria meet, all the other characters that were dancing, slow down and fade behind Tony and Maria. The room becomes dark and there is a spotlight on Maria and Tony.... [tags: Papers]
793 words (2.3 pages)
- The archetypal tragedy of two star-crossed lovers, separated by familial hate, is a recurring theme, which never fails to capture the minds of the audience. It is only at great cost, through the death of the central characters that these feuding families finally find peace. This is an intriguing idea, one antithetical. I have chosen to analyze both Shakespeare 's Romeo and Juliet and Laurent 's West Side Story. The purpose of this essay is showing how the spoken language is utilized in these different plays to meet differing objectives.... [tags: Romeo and Juliet, Romeo Montague, Juliet Capulet]
1027 words (2.9 pages)
- Romeo and Juliet is the story of the two star-crossed lovers, a secret marriage, potions to simulate death, and a tragic ending has been the subject of writers for centuries. Claims of a basic plot can be found as early as the third century (Dill 4), however, the more detailed versions of did not appear until the fifteenth century. The legend of Romeo and Juliet slowly developed by the efforts of Luigi da Porto, Matteo Bandello and Arthur Brooke. However, it was, "only in Shakespeare’s hands did the love story itself become the lyrical celebration of youthful passion that we all associate with the names of Romeo and Juliet today" (Mack 71).... [tags: Romeo and Juliet Essays]
2268 words (6.5 pages)
- Who to Blame for the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet In this essay I will be discussing my opinion of who is to blame for the tragedy or both Romeo and Juliet. In my view I do not think that one certain character is solely responsible, I think that there is an array of people that could be proved responsible. Although I do think that there is one certain person that is most responsible for the deaths. That person is Friar Lawrence, but as well I blame the power of love; Romeo and Juliet were so strongly in love and that love lead to both of their deaths.... [tags: Romeo and Juliet Essays]
1369 words (3.9 pages)
- Differentiating Between Hero and Antagonist in Julius Ceasar by William Shakespeare
- Expectations of Kingship in Henry IV by William Shakespeare
- The Theme of Unconditional Love in William Shakespeare's Sonnet 130
- Negative Criticism for The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
- The Theme of Jealousy in Othello by William Shakespeare
- The Rice Genome Project