Romeo and Juliet vs. West Side Story

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Romeo and Juliet's balcony scene vs. Westside Story's rooftop scene

The romantic tension between Romeo and Juliet and Tony and Maria in Shakespears original play and its modern day remake, Westside Story, is what makes them have such passionate and entrancing scenes. The main reason for romantic tension in these two plays is because the two couples can't be together like they want to be. There are many different aspects that create different quality of romantic tension in these two scenes. Although the two plays have similar plots, the romantic tension between the two lovers is very different because of the setting, the language and the circumstances in which the lovers face.

In Romeo and Juliet the setting takes place on Juliet's balcony after she has just come home from the Capulet ball and has met fair Romeo. She is speaking aloud to herself when Romeo hears her and interrupts. This scene contains so much tension because Romeo has snuck into her garden and if he were to be caught, he would be killed. In Westside Story, however, the fear is of Bernardo coming home and seeing them together creates a different kind of tension.

The language used in these two scenes is quite different. In Romeo and Juliet the majority of the scene is of the two lovers confessing their undying love for each other using beautiful language and many metaphors. They also discuss marriage and serious commitments to each other. In Westside Story, this scene is spent singing to each other, which I find, makes it more romantic but has less tension. They also don't seem as serious about commitment towards each other.

The circumstances that Romeo and Juliet and Tony and Maria are in differ in many ways. For example, Romeo and Juliet come from rival families that would not allow them to be together. Tony and Maria, on the other hand, come from families of different backgrounds, which isn't nearly as bad. Tony and Maria's parents have no say in whether or not they are...
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