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Romeo And Juliet And West Side Story

1141 words - 5 pages

Love Measured In Time

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have for both are infinite.” (Act 2, Scene 2, 146) Love is a concept that has been around from the beginning of time and will most likely carry on until the end. Everyone has their own love, and their of definition of what love actually means. Probably the most well known love stories of all time in the play from the 15th century, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare tells the tale of young love and fatal misfortune. With the same message the musical from the 50’s, West Side Story directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise carries out a similar story of young love and tragedy. Although some are touched by these love stories, others argue it tells a tale of young fools. Although the theme of tragedy is seen in both stories as the time goes on from when they stories were created, the circumstances had changed between the teens living in the 15th century and the ones living in the 50s.
The classic story of Romeo and Juliet takes a traditional take on conflicts of the 15th century. For instance, one of Juliet’s greatest conflicts on the story was she was arranged to marry the county, Paris, in the same week she met Romeo. “... At night she be fourteen; That shall she, marry; I remember it well.” (Act 1, Scene 3, 23) Juliet was not allowed to choose who she would be married it had already been decided for her. Also a the young age of fourteen Juliet was already engaged to be married. In the time period it was normal for the girls to marry at a very young age, to a man they have been assigned to. On top of that, following with the topic of Juliet's marriage her father makes his opinion on the topic obvious.“ Hang thee,young baggage! disobedient wretch! I tell thee what-get thee to church a Thursday or never after look me in the face.” (Act 3, Scene 5, 180) Juliet's father tells her he would disown her as a daughter if she decides not to marry Paris. The 15th century was very much concentrated on obedience and structure. Being that Capulet was a man of so much power he was able to disown Juliet at the time because of her disobedience. Last of all The Capulets and the Montagues had a falling out in the town square. “If you ever disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of peace.” (Act 1, Scene 1, 104) At this time Princes were still around and had the power to do whatever they pleased. Romeo was banished from Verona because of the princes decision. So due to the setting of the 15th century the conflicts were tailored to accommodate the laws and customs of the time.
West Side Story taking place in the 1950’s generates different conflicts due to the time period. To begin the conflict between the two groups was completely racial. The two groups consisted of gangs. The Sharks were the Puerto Ricans and the Jets were the Americans. In several instances throughout the musical the Jets refer to the Sharks by their race...

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