– Different But So Much Alike Essay, Research Paper
Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story are alike in many ways, they were both very successful in their day. Like Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria are of opposite “families”, They fall in love and their love is forbidden. Maria is Puerto Rican and Tony is Irish. In West Side Story they don’t get married but they do have a torrid love affair. The hate between the two groups was modernized to racism and not as many of the main characters die in West Side Story.
One of the major differences is that Maria doesn’t die, she is left alone. In Romeo and
Juliet, Juliet kills herself after she finds that Romeo has perished. Another major difference is that in Romeo and Juliet, Romeo kills Paris who is supposed to marry Juliet then himself when he thinks that Juliet is dead. In West Side Story, Tony is killed by Chino (the equivalent of Paris) . Romeo and Juliet has a stronger sense of love and irony.
Love is a universal truth that is portrayed similarly in both Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. Two members of warring groups fall in love. Love is something that we can all relate to in one way or another and it will never change over time. In Romeo and Juliet both Romeo and Juliet have such a strong love for each other that they both commit suicide when the other dies. In West Side Story, Tony and Maria talk of running away and they have such a strong love that they believe that they can end the hatred with their love.
Hate is another universal truth that has a strong influence in both of these plots. Everyone has felt hate at one time or another in their life. As it is in Romeo and Juliet with Mercutio and Tybalt, in West Side Story Maria’s brother, Bernardo and Tony’s best friend, Riff are the focus of hate. These characters could not see past their blind hatred and many others were killed.
As it is with any work that is based on something else, it is the differences as well as the similarities that make both the original and the inspired appealing. Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story continue to portray the common themes of hatred and violence. However, because Juliet and Romeo’s relationship is so altered by fate, they are less affected by the violence in their society than Tony and Maria are.