Comparison of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare to West Side Story by Arthur Laurents.

Essay by souljahz3x3Junior High, 9th gradeA+, July 2004

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The play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare is about two teenagers from rival families, Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, that fall in love. They must go behind their parents back to be together, but their relationship only ends in the death of both of them, plus others close to them. The book West Side Story written by Arthur Laurents was based on the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, but set in the 1960's with a modern setting to it. It is the story of two teenagers from rival gangs, Tony, a Jet, and Maria, a Shark, that fall in love. Their love causes the death of the two most closest people to Maria, her brother and her lover. When two people fall in love, it can cause them to say things that they would never say, do things that even go against their family, or even bring death to the people affected by their love.

To begin, all four characters began to say things that they had never said and turned into hopeless romantics. In act II, scene II, Juliet is on the balcony of her room and Romeo is speaking to her from below. It is still the first day that they had met, but the feeling is so strong that Juliet proposes that they get married the next day. Romeo says of that night, "O blessed, blessed night!...Too flattering-sweet to be substantial." In act I, scene V, of West Side Story, Maria says of Tony, "Only you, you're the only thing I'll see forever." Then, Tony replies, "And there's nothing for me but Maria, Every sight that I see is Maria."

To continue, the strength of the couples' love caused them to break their family's rules and sneak around behind their backs.