West Side Story is a musical in which brings a variety of feelings could be easily compared to that of a roller coaster.
Two gangs the Sharks and the Jets despise one another and are forced to share a lot of land. As the days go by more and more quarrels seem to be happening leading both gangs to come upon an agreement of settlement, a rumble. They would finally settle this continues altercation by fighting for the lot of land, they decided to meet up at a local drug store in which a meeting of war will be discussed but before they talked of serious matters they decide to attend a dance party which would allow for both gangs to attend. The dance as usual for the Jets and Sharks turns into a competition but it also turns into a place of love as for Tony and Maria fall in love who could never be accepted as they are meant to be enemies for Maria is the sister of Bernard and Tony is a former Jets member. Caught kissing they further escalate the conflict between both gangs. These two star crossed lovers seem to be head first in love as they avoid all warning signs and see each other once more further deepening the passion between both of them. Maria knowing of the rumble warns her prince charming Tony to stand up against all odds to try and stop this battle which would only lead to more resentment and sorrow, Tony who is willing to do anything for his love Maria decides to go to the drug store in which he convinces both the Jets and Sharks to fight fairly, fist for fist.
Though it might have been agreed upon to be a fair fight both gangs decide to bring weapons, preparing for the worst. Both gangs at the bridge duel it off but things seem to take a turn for the worst as Bernard kills Riff and Tony kills Bernard in a standoff which only began due to the fact that Bernard swung at Tony. This only added fuel to the fire as both gangs were ready to kill once again but most affected was Chino a Sharks member as he was now filled with anger and wanted to seek revenge at all costs setting a bounty for the head of Tony hoping to avenge the death of his fellow gang brother Bernard. While Chino strives to kill Tony him and Maria are planning to run away as they want to be happy and realize that they could never be accepted by their families so Tony runs off trying to ask Doc for some money to run away and Maria is taken away by Schrank a police officer who is questioning her upon the death of her brother, trying to warn Tony of where she has headed off to she sends former lover of Bernard Anita to warn Tony but faces the obstacle of the Jets. The Jets shame Anita and won’t allow her to talk to Doc but soon Doc realizes what’s happening and demands the Jets to leave Anita alone but infuriated by her racist treatment she lies and tells the Jets Maria was killed by Chino as he found out about the despised relationship of Maria and Tony. Tony soon learns of what Maria has said and sets forth to find Chino in hopes to die as his beloved Maria did but while seeking forth Chino he soon sees Maria and while running towards her trying to embrace her Chino shoots him killing him almost instantly. Maria devastated by the death of her love she forces the gangs to see that they shouldn’t be fighting because their war was that of a foolish one and they soon realize that their war has only lead to that of death and destruction finalizing the play both gangs unite as they cary Tony’s body away.
Arthur Larents, author of West Side Story, truly captures the life within the suburban streets in the nineteen seventies as she introduces characters of two groups of juvenile delinquents who are troubled by their upbringings and the color of their skin. She shows how each individual gang seems to try and recompense the loss of love at home by establishing a tight knit bond with one another establishing the feeling of love, loyalty and and above all a family to always rely on. These troubled teenagers ignorant to the chaos they have created soon realize that in life, even the longest of rivalry has to come to an end for the feeling of hatred and war are none more than that of a feeling which has no actual compensation while that of unity and love has a compensation and happiness but above all it keeps the people we love the most close together.
West Side Story is a true modern day Romeo and Juliet that doesn’t end with the death of both lovers like in Romeo and Juliet but instead it instills the message of independence and living with that of the feeling of losing someone who we hold dear. Though the setting might be different the message behind both genius masterpieces shows that there should never be a rivalry in which people despise one another so much that they start a war in which will result in the loss of loved ones fixing nothing and only leading to more sorrow and hatred than that of what was already felt. Not only can this be taken in when comparing both artworks but the message of family can also be seen through and through as both plays seem to establish close bonds with characters once again developing the plot of love over hatred. West Side Story shows the meaning of friendship but it also shows that we as humans need to learn to establish peace even when faced with the daunting kiss of war as it might be pleasing at first but nothing can replace the feeling of brotherhood and unity the Sharks and Jets would soon understand this feeling once seeing the pain they had inflicted upon Maria and Anita who both had their loved ones stripped away from them due to a foolish war which could have easily been avoided if it wasn’t for the childish ways of feeling dominant over someone. Through and through West Side Story is one that is heartfelt and can be easily described as a musical in which will bring forth an abundance of feelings to the reader or viewer as it a true piece of artwork.