Compare and Contrast “Romeo and Juliet” andWest Side Story

Step One: Compare the characters from “Romeo and Juliet” and from West Side Story. Then compare the settings from “Romeo and Juliet” and West Side Story. How are the characters or scenes similar? How are they different? “Romeo and Juliet” Characters to compare/contrast Romeo Friar Lawrence Juliet Paris Tybalt Anita Mercutio Scenes to compare/contrast The Capulet’s Balcony Harass the Nurse in Verona Tybalt’s death Romeo’s death Juliet’s fate West Side Story Characters to compare/contrast Anton, AKA Tony Doc Maria Chino Bernardo Nurse Rif Scenes to compare/contrast Attack Anita in the candy store Fire escape in New York Bernardo’s death Tony’s death Maria’s fate

Step Two: Write a description of five songs in the movie. You only need to pick FIVE SONGS from the songs below. Try to describe it visually (what is

going on? Where are they singing? How are they dancing—upbeat and energetically or slow and deliberate?) and musically (is the music happy and upbeat or sad and melancholy?). “Prologue” “Jet Song” “Something’s Coming” “Dance at the Gym” “Maria” “America” “Tonight” “Gee, Officer Krupke” “I Feel Pretty” “One Hand, One Heart” “Quintet” “The Rumble” “Somewhere” “Cool” “A Boy That/ I Have a Love”

Step Three, Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story essay:
Choose an essay topic below. You will need to write a 5 paragraph essay. Your essay should include an introduction, 3 supporting

paragraphs, and a conclusion. Your introduction should include a THESIS STATEMENT—basically a statement on what you are going to say in your paper. Choose only ONE of the essay ideas listed below for your essay. We will be working on these essays from December 15th to December 18th (end of semester). Essays will be DUE December 18th. NO EXCEPTIONS! Essay Topic #1: The Forcefulness of Love “Romeo and Juliet” is the most famous love story in the English literary tradition. West Side Story tells of a love that knows no boundaries. Love is both the play’s and the movie’s dominant and most important theme. Essay Topic #2: Love as a Cause of Violence Love, in “Romeo and Juliet,” is a grand passion, and as such it is blinding; it can overwhelm a person as powerfully and completely as hate can. The passionate love between Romeo and Juliet is linked from the moment of its inception with death, just as the love between Tony and Maria causes great violence and death as well. Essay Topic #3: The Individual Versus Society Much of “Romeo and Juliet” and West Side Story involves the lovers’ struggles against public and social institutions that either explicitly or implicitly oppose the existence of their love. Essay Topic #4: The Inevitability of Fate In its first address to the audience, the Chorus states that Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed”—that is to say that fate (a power often vested in the movements of the stars) controls them (prologue). Many could also argue that Tony and Maria, and their love, were doomed from the start as well.

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