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How far are Romeo and Juliet to blame for their deaths in the play Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

How far are Romeo and Juliet to blame for their deaths in the play "Romeo and Juliet"? Shakespeare makes it plain in his play, "Romeo and Juliet", that the two lovers are not solely to blame for the circumstances that contributed to their premature deaths. With their headstrong personalities, and love which seemed so sure, they had in fact condemned themselves, but although their hasty behaviour contributed towards the tragic ending, it is certainly unfair to place the blame entirely upon them as their suicide was arguably a result of the other characters' actions and behaviour. Characters who were also involved in the events leading to Romeo and Juliet's deaths were their parents; Lord and Lady Capulet (Juliet's parents) and Lord and Lady Montague (Romeo's parents). It was the ancient feud between the two families which made Romeo and Juliet have to keep their relationship a secret. Mercutio, Romeo's friend, had an attitude towards quarrels and fighting and saw the feud as a game, which made the situation worse. Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, believed that rivalry between the two families was his whole reason for living and this obsessive prejudice not only lead to his death but also contributed to the death of Romeo and Juliet. The Nurse encouraged Juliet in her romantic ideas about Romeo and kept their relationship secret for their sake. Also Friar Laurence plays a big part in contributing to the tragic ending, firstly because he married Romeo and Juliet in secret and secondly because he gave Juliet the sleeping drug which lead to a series of unfortunate events. However, the blame cannot be placed on the characters' behaviour and actions alone, as fate is a major theme and cause for the two lovers' deaths. Throughout the play, fate seems to control the characters and the timing of each event, making it hard for the ending not to occur. I shall now go on to discuss my thoughts about how far each character is to blame in detail. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet's parents, Capulet and Lady Capulet, fail to understand Juliet's decision not to marry Paris. Lord Capulet loved his daughter Juliet very much and when he arranges the marriage between her and Paris, he is just trying to do what he feels is best for her. He knows Paris, being handsome and rich will make a good husband to Juliet. When she refuses to marry Paris he goes into a violent rage, saying things he doesn't mean. "Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch!" The word 'baggage' is associated with a woman of lesser morals and of easy virtue, which is how Lord Capulet sees Juliet. He also uses the word 'wretch' implying that she is good for nothing and her behaviour is disreputable. Furthermore, he threatens to disown Juliet, "...you shall not house with me." This aggressive behaviour obviously upset Juliet and could have contributed to her making the decision to seek advice from Friar Laurence as she felt scared to talk to her parents. His wife, upon hearing Juliet's decision against marrying to Paris, refuses to give Juliet counsel and says, "Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word." Lady Capulet is therefore to blame for not wanting to help or listen to her distressed daughter making matters worse. The Capulets should have respected Juliet's will, not to marry Paris, rather than being so sure that their tradition of arranged marriage was the right way to go. It becomes apparent in this point of the play that the Capulets care more about their traditions than they do about their own daughter. We also see that Juliet's parents betray her by not supporting her pleas for the marriage to be delayed a year. Tybalt displays his aggressive and vindictive behaviour throughout the play and it is arguable that his obsessive hatred towards the Montagues contributed to the events leading to Romeo and Juliet's deaths. ...read more.

Conclusion

If Romeo had not taken his sword with him to the tomb, Juliet would have not been able to kill herself. From this it is clear that the timing of each action influences the outcome of the play. While some events are of less significance, some are crucial to the development of this tragedy. In conclusion, I believe that although each character plays some part in contributing to the final tragedy, some more than others, fate is the main reason for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. I do not believe that Romeo or Juliet are very much to blame for their tragic ending as I feel it was due to numerous other factors. As Romeo and Juliet were very young and inexperienced, I believe that it was the responsibility of the other characters to not allow such a terrible thing to happen. The feud between the two families certainly did not help the situation nor did it set a good example for characters like Tybalt and Mercutio. If the parents were more understanding of their children and cared more about them than the ancient traditions, perhaps Romeo and Juliet would be more willing to tell them about their relationship rather than hiding it. Although Juliet was to blame for not telling her parents about her relationship with Romeo, the Nurse did not help the situation by agreeing to keep the secret for her. Tybalt got into the fight with Mercutio and Romeo which undoubtedly sparked off a new set of unfortunate events. Although Friar Laurence's intensions were good, he should have thought about the possible outcomes before he suggested the potion to Juliet. However, although all of the characters contributed in some way to the deaths of the two lovers, I believe that the majority of the blame should be pointed at fate. I believe that most of the characters actions were controlled by fate and this is what lead to the tragic ending of the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? Yasmin Layouni R&J ...read more.

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