Title: The Tragedies of "Romeo and Juliet" and "West Side Story"

Essay by anonymous09High School, 10th grade April 2006

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"Romeo and Juliet" and "West Side Story" are both timeless dramas that will

live forever, but "Romeo and Juliet" is a classic that has a much more powerful

and tragic impact on the reader than "West Side Story". Although both of these

stories have many similarities, there are also many differences. These

differences include the differences in soliloquy, the fact that Maria doesn't die, the

fact that we never see Tony or Maria's parents, the issues of marriage, and the

importance of gangs and families to each story. To understand these

differences, one must read both Romeo and Juliet, and the similar tragedy, West

Side Story.

Above are named a few of the differences between William

Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and Arthur Laurent's "West Side Story".

One main difference is that in Romeo and Juliet the soliloquy is spoken while in

West Side Story there is soliloquy, but it is in song.

While both equally

express the character's feelings at the moment, the soliloquy in Romeo and Juliet

uses words and poetry that have a much more powerful and effective impact on

the reader than the simple song in West Side Story. An example of this is

when in Act II, Scene II of Romeo and Juliet, otherwise known as the balcony

scene, Romeo expresses his thoughts in a soliloquy until Juliet shows up. While

in Romeo and Juliet all of this is spoken, in West Side Story this is written as

music shared between Maria and Tony.

Another major difference between these two stories is that in Romeo

and Juliet, Juliet sees Romeo dead and decides to kill herself. In West

Side Story, Tony (the Romeo of the play) does die, but Maria is not so stricken

and overwhelmed that she decides to kill herself. This is very important...