Study Guide

West Side Story Love

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It wouldn't be a Romeo and Juliet riff if it didn't talk about love, and frankly, this Tony-Maria couple is one of the most "aww"-inducing we've ever seen. Tony and Maria start out on different sides of an ethnic turf war, and their love blooms to show everyone that fighting isn't the answer. That makes their doomed romance all the more tragic, but it also makes it very powerful: fostered in the middle of great hate and all the stronger for the negative emotions surrounding it.

Love's a complicated thing in West Side Story. On one hand, it's blind, impulsive, irrational, foolish, unrealistic, and just plain dangerous. OTOH, it's all that matters. That sounds about right to us.

Can love conquer all? We report, you decide.

Questions About Love

  1. How does love strengthen Tony and Maria? How does it make them vulnerable?
  2. How is Bernardo and Anita's romance different than Tony and Maria's? How is it the same?
  3. In what ways do characters show non-romantic love for each other?
  4. Does love triumph at the end? Or is Maria right that it's all hate?

Chew on This

Love makes the characters do foolish things that endanger them.

Love strengthens the characters and helps them endure their trials.

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