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Love / Hate Relationship: Montague Vs Capulet

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Is Romeo and Juliet a story that is more about love or hate? Answer this question through comparing and/or contrasting Romeo and Juliet to West Side Story. Be sure to use evidence from both texts in supporting your claims.

Love / Hate Relationship: Montague vs Capulet

ELA 10-1

There is a thin line between love and hate. When used in close quarters it sometimes is difficult to tell which overpowers the other. In the text Romeo and Juliet there is so much hate shown between the two rivaling families, yet the demonstrated love between the young couple makes it difficult to interpret whether the theme of the story implies love or hate. Although love is clearly evident in more than one case, hate is almost always present in those cases as well, weakening the love. This present hate has proved itself to be one of the main themes in both the film The West Side Story and the play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare. It's ridiculous things such as arguments between families that can blow up to tear those individual families apart and cause the misfortunate deaths of loved ones.

The hate that Tybalt, cousin of Juliet, expresses towards Montagues is so great it overtakes any chance of a peaceful encounter between him and any Montague. He is so quick to judge and hate the image of the enemy that the Capulets have created out of the Montague family, that he is willing to provoke a fight at the mere sight of one. "What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee." (1.1.68 - 69). With this statement Tybalt shows that there is no possibility of referring to any of his enemies as anything more than the scum he envisions them as. At the thought of a cordial association with Montagues, Tybalt recoils in reluctance. "Now, by the stock and honor of my kin, to strike him dead I hold it not a sin." Once again his immediate aggression towards any Montague that fraternized with him is a clear sign of the dislike and hostility thrust upon him by the Capulet family. When he says that killing Romeo wouldn't be a sin is also a substantial indication of the amount of hatred he has for this one family. To disregard religion because of a rivalry between families was not a common occurrence in that time era. Tybalt is so engulfed in this rivalry that he dies for the hatred he shares for Montagues and their acquaintances.

In the film West Side Story the character Bernardo, leader of the Sharks, demonstrates similar characteristics as Tybalt, the main fighter for the Capulets. He shows much loathing towards the Jets gang, foes of the Shark gang, similar as Tybalt does for Montagues. Though Bernardo, unlike Tybalt, demonstrates obvious love to his sister Maria, who is counterpart to Juliet in the two stories. Bernardo has a large enmity towards the Jets. When they sing the song America, he expresses his dislike for the country and how prejudice Americans are towards Puerto Ricans. Bernardo complains about limited opportunities and a harder life for Sharks because of their ethnicity. He hypocritically makes a fuss about people judging him on the colour of his skin and by the country he came from, yet he deems that all Americans are bias before even being acquainted with them. Unlike in Romeo and Juliet where it is mostly the Capulets who are initiating it the current quarrels, both sides are constantly instigating the fights, and the Jet's are even reigning supremacy seeing as it is their 'home turf' and they 'owned' it to begin with. In the first scene of the movie it is the Jet's that are chasing the Sharks away from the park, whereas in Romeo and Juliet it is the Capulet's that are initiating the fight with the Montagues.

Even where there is love shown in Romeo and Juliet hate overpowers it and assimilates it. When it tries to show Shakespeare finds a way to shut it out and proceed with the tragedy genre. In act 3 scene 1, Tybalt is inducing a fight with Benvolio and Mercutio, when Romeo enters he is intoxicated by love due

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