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West Side Story Analysis

Essay by   •  November 3, 2010  •  Case Study  •  493 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,374 Views

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1. Riff- He is the leader of the Jets. Founded it with Tony. A wild man that acts like a punk and dies in a fight.

2. Bernado- Leader of the sharks, the Puerto Ricans, he is a young immigrant to America. He dies in a fight with Riff, but Tony kills him. He is integral in helping to spur the gang rivalry between the Sharks and the Jets.

3. Maria- She falls in love with Tony, a rival jet. They become lovers and due to her Tony dies, and the gang wars end.

4. Officer Grubky- A policeman, he hates both gangs, but favors the Jets. He helps to split the fights up.

5. Tony- He helped to found the jets with Riff. Decided to go strait, but gets pulled back in. Dies due to his love with Maria.

6. Baby John- The youngest of the Jets, he is the "baby" of the gang, and tends to be the voice of reason because he is not totally emotionless.


Two gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, are in the middle of a turf war. However, two people, one from each side, fall in love. In a plot that is as Shakespearian as it gets, many of the characters die over pointless ends, all the time the love of Maria and Tony blossoms, but even Tony can't escape the cruel fate, and is killed.

Songs out of place

I believe that all of the songs fit in the play. They are all able to capture the emotions that are expressed during the play. In the moments of the play, when an intense fight is a t its peak, the music has a tense violent sound. When the people are so exuberant that they must sing the music is happy and joyful (redundant I know, but I want to emphasize my point). Even when it is a love song, the music has a quality that can only be described as love. I believe that this is what makes a play resist the test of time.

Overshadowing Elements

I do not believe that any other element overshadowed the book. They all fit nicely together.

Critic Commentary

1. Book- A ten. It was well written, and it brought the play together nicely. The book/script allowed for the other elements to work.

2. Lyrics-



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