Is Maria actually Juliet? Anyone who has seen both "Romeo and Juliet" and "Westside Story" would be able to tell that the plots of the stories are very similar. Both stories start off by introducing two rival groups. In Romeo and Juliet the writer describes two households. These "houses" are ancient, prominent families in the city of Verona, Italy, and their names are Montague and Capulet. In the movie, these families desire to dominate as the most wealthy and influential "house" in Verona.
In Westside Story there are two groups. The two are battling for superiority and domination of New York's street territory. There is little difference in the desire that these rivals have in the two stories. They want control of their city. The similarities of the stories end with the final disaster in which the love affair between a beauty of one rivalry group with a male leader of the other rivalry group ends when he is killed. The way in which the main characters meet one another is very similar.
In Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers meet at a party thrown by Juliet's parents. Members of the Montegue household are not invited but get in wearing disguises. In Westside Story, Tony and Maria also meet at a party, in their case a dance.
There is also the symbolism of a name or the power of a name, which remains consistent in both pieces of literature. Using these three comparisons, readers can clearly see the tragedy of love hindered by fate. There is forbidden love between Romeo and Juliet, as well as between Tony and Maria.
Both sets of characters come from completely different worlds, and because of rivalry and hatred they are not supposed to be together. Juliet knows she should not love Romeo because of the hatred between their families. There is also expected or arranged love in both pieces of literature.
Juliet is arranged to be married to Paris, and Maria is expected to marry Chino. One of your own kind — Stick to your own kind! Romeo and Juliet, and Tony and Maria could not help who they had fallen in love with, and unfortunately for these star-crossed lovers the price that they had to pay for love was not cheap.
Whether it is a balcony or a fire escape, both settings are very important to the plot line of the star-crossed lovers. In Romeo and Juliet it is a balcony and in West Side Story it is a fire escape, but in both it is where the love between the couples in truly expressed.
Both scenes contain the same feeling of true love, trust, and commitment. It also leads to the marriage or exchange of vows between the lovers. She is questioning Romeo, telling him that if he truly loves her then he will ask her to marry him. They love each other so truly that they were willing to go against their families and get married out of their love for each other.
She is telling him how she is completely committed to him, and how she does not care about anyone else but him. Although Maria and Tony do not get married like Romeo and Juliet, their exchange of vows and love for each other is just as eminent. These scenes are both important to the plot line of the story, and even if it is not exactly the same, these scenes are very similar in the deeper meaning of love and commitment. There is a lot of power in a name. People can make assumptions or judge who you are based on your name.
Names cause a lot of trouble for both couples in these pieces of literature. With Tony and Maria it is not only the different gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, but also the racial difference that keeps them apart.
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