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At the end of the play, who do you feel is most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

At the end of the play, who do you feel is most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? Romeo and Juliet are the epitome of true love and have been for hundreds of years. Their story is William Shakespeare's best-known tragedy and one of his most popular plays. There are many factors that contribute to Romeo and Juliet's deaths which include their own actions and decisions, fate and circumstances and the deeds of the other characters. Romeo is a young, intense and love-sick character from beginning to end. He is romantic and compassionate; however he is also fickle and single-minded. His unrequited infatuation for Rosaline: "she'll not be hit with Cupid's arrow, she hath Dian's wit"; which caused him so much torment and sadness, disappears the moment he sees and meets Juliet as she appears in the dance like a: "snowy dove trooping with the crows". This metaphor shows how beautiful Juliet is in comparison to the other young women at the ball. Romeo's reaction is ironic as he denied to Benvolio that he could ever forget Rosaline, when Benvolio suggested that Romeo should meet other women at the party to take his mind off Rosaline: "By giving liberty unto thine eyes examine other beauties". Romeo falls instantly in love with Juliet and Shakespeare shows us this by describing how Juliet has brought light into Romeo's life: "teaches the torches to shine bright". From the moment Romeo meets Juliet, his behaviour changes and by the time of the orchard scene, Act 2, Scene 2, he is animated and lively, a far cry from his dull behaviour over his love for Rosaline. Romeo's friends and family noticed that his outlook has altered and in the company of his friends, Benvolio states: "Why, is not this better now than groaning for love? Now art thou sociable; now art thou Romeo". He is well-regarded by the other characters in the play and many look up to him. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo then sets out into a blind rage and kills Tybalt which is the turning point of the play and everything goes downhill from here. Therefore, if Mercutio and thought through his actions, as many of the characters in the play need to, and not instigated a fight with Tybalt, which he knew would cause disturbance and more conflict then perhaps he may not have died and Romeo would not have been banished. Tybalt's character is the obvious contrast to Benvolio, who is a peacemaker whereas Tybalt is aggressive, causing unnecessary friction between the families and is always up for a fight. He, more than anyone else, kept the hatred alive between the two families and is continuing the feud unnecessarily when many other family members are willing to move on. For example, in Act 1, Scene 5, Tybalt tells Lord Capulet that there are Montague boys at the party: "This, by his voice, should be a Montague...Now by the stock and honour of my kin, to strike him dead I hold it not a sin". Throughout the play, Tybalt initiates fights and in Act 3, Scene 1, where Benvolio and Mercutio encounter Tybalt and Petruchio, Tybalt tries to pick a fight with Romeo yet he refuses: "I do protest I never injured thee". However, he fights and kills Mercutio and this is the beginning of Romeo's downfall and banishment. Although Mercutio also was a party to the fight and antagonised Tybalt, if Tybalt himself had not challenged Romeo to a duel, if he had tried to let the history between the families rest and helped to keep peace in Verona, then perhaps he would not have found himself dead and Romeo would not have been banished. Friar Lawrence is the one person in the play whom both Romeo and Juliet can turn to in the play. Everyone speaks well of him, he is dependable, kind and a likeable figure. ...read more.

Conclusion

Juliet takes the potion and the plan seems to be working, Friar Lawrence sends a letter with a messenger informing Romeo of his plan and arrangements for a funeral are made. However, Romeo and Juliet's destiny ensures that this plan does not go accordingly. Romeo's servant and friend, Balthasar, hears of Juliet's 'death, rushes to tell his master and Romeo replies: "I defy you stars!", meaning fate, and that Juliet's death was foretold. Friar John, the messenger with Romeo's letter, is held in quarantine and does not emerge in time to deliver the letter to Romeo. These events lead Romeo to the Apothecary's where he buys a poison, to end his life without Juliet: "such soon-speeding gear as will disperse itself through all the veins that the life-weary taker may fall dead". More tragedy is to come; Romeo kills Paris who stands in his way of the tomb. Once inside, Romeo says a last goodbye to Juliet and drinks the potion: "O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die". Just a she sees Romeo fall, Juliet awakes from her long sleep, but she is too late, another misfortune of fate and she takes Romeo's dagger and stabs herself. If she had awoken just minutes earlier, the plan would have worked and the two may have lived 'happily ever after'. In conclusion, there are many people and events which build up and lead to the final demise of Romeo and Juliet, and their tragic end cannot be put down to one solitary event. Although some people play a more significant and obvious role in their death, for example Friar Lawrence, if one single event had been different and their plans had worked out, then perhaps Romeo and Juliet could have run away together and would not have had to take their own lives. However, though it seems that other people's influences are the main contributors to their problems, Romeo and Juliet's fate is written in the stars and chance and coincidence are the dominant themes surrounding their deaths. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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