The racism in ‘West Side Story’

Picture by Jason Kuffer on Flickr

Picture by Jason Kuffer on Flickr

Romeo & Juliet’ was written in the XVI century, but the story stills very popular today. People love the characters because they love each other with so much passion and purity that everybody can understand the importance of love against hate and death.

If you read the book and you watch ‘West Side Story’ later you can realise that they are similar, that most of the scenes really look the same. But is it possible that in the musical the racism subject is emphasised. The story in ‘West Side story’ was changed to describe the American society, when many people from Mexico and Puerto Rico landed in the United States and there were lots of bands in slums.

The difference between American and the people from Puerto Rico gives the story a new point of view, something really dramatic, more than two aristocratic families from Verona. The readers from the book see that the two families hate each other but they don’t understand why. In the case of the musical, people get it easily because racism is something still happening today.

So, ‘West Side Story’ is more than an adaptation of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, is a new story on its own that makes the audience think about their reality and with lots of interesting subjects that Shakespeare wrote.

What do you enjoy the most of ‘West Side Story’?

Cesar

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