Bernardo is cut from the same cloth as Riff, in terms of being direct and territorial, but he is also more sensible and detached. He has certain ideas about how he wants things to be, and gets in an argument with Anita about the virtues of America based on the stuff he has seen happen in the streets – she has a romanticized ideal of it, while he sees the nitty-gritty of the crime, the street wars, and the over-charging of their kind because they are not “gringos.” He earns his living being a fighter, but also is willing to rumble in the streets. When he and Riff decide to ‘settle this’ (the love affair between Tony and Maria), when Tony shows up to talk to them, Bernardo is willing to listen—but Riff, being explosive and unpredictable, punches him and starts a fight that Bernardo intends to finish. His answer to getting beat up by the Jets when he first arrived was to create a rival gang, the Sharks, in order to defend their turf. He also has specific ideas about what he wants from his life, and for his marriage (including six kids), and doesn’t like Anita to throw cold water on those plans. Bernardo has a low Fe sense of evening the score, and people being equal – in their hatred. The Jets hate them, and the Sharks hate the Jets, and that’s how it’s going to be, so let’s deal with this here and now. He also tends to be a bit intense, and his sister is intimidated by his temper tantrums.

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Bernardo has fierce opinions and knows how to assert them; he has Maria intimidated enough by him that she’s afraid to let him see her wearing makeup, in case he objects to it. He is a natural leader, because of his cool confidence and ability to keep a calm head in an argument, though his first instinct is also to assert himself. The dance is really just an excuse for the two rival gangs to start a “rumble.” He argues for the negative side of living in America when Anita sings about its virtues, since he naturally sees everything that is bad, instead of what’s good. His 9 wing brings a quiet sense of stability to his instinctual energy, but also doesn’t want to fight about things unnecessarily beyond a certain point. He admits that Anita is right and she is paying for the apartment; he is willing to listen to Tony when Tony wants to talk, but then participates in a brawl that Riff starts, out of nervous, angry energy. He tends to go along with whatever is happening and get lost in it.

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