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Death and fortune in Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet is a famous love story by William Shakespeare, or at least most people associate the title Romeo and Juliet with love and romance. The problem being that other themes also run throughout the play such as hate, haste, death and fate to name but a few. These themes affect the audience's perception so that after a performance, love might be the last theme that comes to mind. As I previously mentioned there a number of different themes in the play and after some thought I have decided that I am going to write about death and fortune because I consider them both to have a significant effect on the outcome of the play. In Romeo and Juliet the theme of death is significant to the audience after the play. The first time that death is mentioned is in the play prologue suggesting that Romeo and Juliet's love for each other is " Death mark'd ". I consider this early mention of death to be an indication of what is to come and the audience feels, from this point on, that the lovers are doomed. Early on in the first scene, Shakespeare hints that it is death that will bring about the ending when the Prince says " If ever you disturb are streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace ". ...read more.

Middle

Back at Lord Capulet's house, Juliet's nurse repeatedly states that Tybalt has died, " He's dead, he's dead, he's dead! We are undone, lady, we are undone! Alack the day! He's gone, he's killed, he's dead. " Juliet immediately comes to the conclusion that Romeo is dead and she says that she wants to die with him, but obviously the nurse is talking about Tybalt. In my opinion this continuous repetition puts the thought of death in the audiences mind and Shakespeare reminds them that love plays such a small part in a play of mixed emotions. Juliet's nurse is confused by the death of Tybalt and cannot believe that Juliet's husband is a murderer and will consequently be banished from Verona and therefore will not see Juliet. Lord Capulet, Juliet's father orders Juliet to marry Paris and if she does not obey, he will disown her which Juliet cannot let happen as a young girl in Elizabethan times would not have been safe on her own. Juliet decided to visit Friar Lawrence, he says that he can give Juliet a remedy, which will give the impression that she is bereaved but she will only go into a temporary trance, waking later to be rescued by Romeo. There is a risk involved but Juliet is prepared to take it. " And, if thou darest, I'll give thee remedy. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Romeo receives news that Juliet is 'dead' he assumes that it is Fortune yet again who is bringing about is awful luck, " I defy you stars. " Even though Romeo accuses the stars I again believe that it is Romeos haste that has got him in this position. Once at Juliet's family vault, Romeo drinks his rapid acting poison order to kill himself. A short time later Juliet awakes and kisses Romeo hoping that he still has some poison on his lips and this is when she discovers that Romeo has only been dead a sort while, " Thy lips are warm. " If Romeo would have purchased a slower acting poison he may have been able to get an antidote and cure himself. This leaves the audience with the question: Was Romeo and Juliet's death their destiny planned out by the stars or was their haste and love for each other their downfall? After reading and analysing Romeo and Juliet my opinions of the play have changed considerably. Before I read the play I had a stereotypical view that most people have and this is that Romeo and Juliet as a sentimental love story. Now that I have read and understood the play I realise that there are other themes that run throughout the play such as death and fate and have a significant impact along with several other themes on how the play concludes. ...read more.

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