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How Does Shakespeare Introduce the Theme Of Destiny In Act 1 Of "Romeo and Juliet"?

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How Does Shakespeare Introduce the Theme Of Destiny In Act 1 Of "Romeo and Juliet"? In "Romeo and Juliet", Shakespeare introduces two interlinked themes that appear almost constantly throughout the play, those of fate and love. The basic establishment of the two warring houses of Capulet and Montague is key to this and the outline of the plot. The First scene shows both sides of the story - displaying dialogue from members of both houses - and helps to describe the inherent hatred that members of each house have for each other, without fully understanding why; it's simply their destiny. Shakespeare uses techniques of language extremely well - such as the use of mystical phrasing and ominous sounding dialogue. This surely takes advantage of Elizabethan Englishmen's natural superstition and belief in fate. Many times throughout the play, descriptions are used of characters or of their actions, noticeably three times in the prologue that can be thought of as fatal or unchangeable in terms of paths in life. The natural opposition to destiny and fate however, is human action. Shakespeare also makes good use of characters and their actions to present this and how actions can change pre-determined fate. It can be argued however, that human mistakes may simply also be governed by fate such as the fact that the servant who was chosen to deliver invitations to Capulet's party couldn't read, ultimately leading to Romeo and Benvolio getting invites. Capulet might see this as a human error however; those of a more superstitious persuasion might simply think that this ignorance on Capulet's part is the hand of destiny. The key theme of love is used extremely well as an explanation for the character of Romeo and his actions that lead, ultimately to his death. ...read more.


This is the dialogue as the audience first meets Romeo; he is talking to his cousin Benvolio. His description of "sad hours" is in reference to how he has been awake since the early house of the morning due to his lovesickness. Romeo's fate can be interpreted as though he is destined to be obsessed with love and have his life guided by this. Indeed this becomes true, as it is due to Romeo following his heart that decides the plot of the play. During the dialogue between the two towards the end of Scene Two the audience learns of how Romeo is failing in his quest to marry Rosaline. This, to Romeo, signals the end of his quality of life, if he can't have Rosaline, it just isn't worth living. Benvolio on the other hand, consoles Romeo, telling him that he should give up on Rosaline in order to go on a search for another suitable wife. Indeed, it's Benvolio's advice that results in the pair going to the Capulet's party in Scene Five: "Go thither, and with unattainted eye compare her face with some that I shall show, and I will make thee think they swan a crow" (Act One, Scene 2, Lines 87-89) What must be asked by the audience here is the question of whether the fact that an illiterate servant was sent by Capulet to hand out the invitations was simply human error, an oversight in the planning of the party or was it caused by the influence of destiny? A chain of many things must have gone wrong in for Romeo to end up going to the party. ...read more.


Instead they decided to persecute the young couple for their feelings. The extreme measures that they had to go to in order to carry on their relationship were caused by the fear of their families' potential actions and in the end; it was one of these extreme measures that killed them. In conclusion, Shakespeare presents destiny through the uses of language, character, plot and setting. Many of the ideas introduced in Act One are echoed later on in the play seemingly to establish more firmly the hand that destiny plays in the story of the love struck couple. The various chains of events that mean that Romeo and Juliet's relationship is fundamentally doomed are, as far as I can see, through Shakespeare's presentation, the result of destiny. To the contemporary audience also, this would be a believable explanation of the plot. For the more sceptical modern audience, there may be arguments that events - such as the illiterate servant inviting Romeo and Benvolio to the party and the Plague in Mantua that resulted in Romeo finding out the wrong information about Juliet - are in fact caused by human error and oversights in planning (such as those committed by Friar Lawrence). However, for me the overwhelming argument is that yes, some things may be down to more mortal reasons but the overriding theme, especially in the context of this play gears the audience towards a belief in fate. Therefore, any human error simply comes under the theme of destiny, if a couple are destined to die, than the supernatural powers that decide their fate will make sure of this through whatever means necessary, including manipulating human will to create a chain of important events that lead to death. 1 ...read more.

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