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. The chosen scenes to further aid comparison and contrast are the balcony scenes.
Scene VI, West Side Story, finds Tony awaiting the appearance of his beloved, who is living in the apartment above him? Immediately the audience is introduced to the imagery of a damsel in distress with her 'savior ' waiting below. Tony to prove his worth to Maria must ascend the building towards the pursuit of her, which he promptly does.
As the dialogue unfolds, turn taking is a clear language feature. Through this, mimicry takes place in the form of antithetical parallelism; Maria says a 'minute ', Tony an 'hour '; Maria uses the absolute 'cannot ', Tony replies with another 'forever '. This reveals to the audience how playful Tony wishes to express his love for Maria. The repetition of 'Maria, Maria ' is representative of this; a song his sings to himself. The ritual takes a more serious turn when Tony insists he is 'not one of them ' in an act of divergence, to highlight the divide between the Jets and himself. Maria is aware of this, but does not wish to pursue such blissful ignorance in the manner Tony does.
Instead she acknowledges the difference between them. However, still continues to express her ...
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..., acting in a similar vein to that of Maria 's parents, but not before Romeo is called back and forth by Juliet, oscillating, on the stage before the audience. Such action creates tension, and heightens their love for one another, perfect physical cues replicated through the spoken word. Indeed, not only do they mirror one another, by running back and forth, but through their repetition of good night; they are unable to part from one another, and simply repeat what the other says, to stall they 're parting. Indeed, this leaves the audience with that other eternal line 'A thousand times goodnight. '
The overlapping themes of conflict and love portrayed in both plays prove that history repeats itself. As time progresses, the cultural norms and societal values may change. However, the melody shrouding the eternal link between the extremes of conflict and love continue.
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