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"O! I am Fortune's fool". Should Romeo have acted as he did in Act III: Scene I of "Romeo and Juliet".

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"O! I am Fortune's fool". Should Romeo have acted as he did in Act III: Scene I of "Romeo and Juliet". In act three: scene one of "Romeo and Juliet", Romeo refuses to duel with Tybalt and thus throws aside his honour and dignity as a man (in the eyes of Mercutio, as he is unaware of the fact that Romeo is married to Tybalt's cousin, Juliet). However, after Mercutio is slain at Tybalt's hand, Romeo takes Tybalt's life and defies his initial mental response and reasons. After this he cries out, "O! I am Fortune's fool", and shows regret for his vengeful murder. There are both reasons defending and opposing the actions and thoughts of Romeo in this scene. They exist almost in a state of equilibrium, despite his regretful emotions over his passion-blinded fury. Romeo, when challenged by Tybalt to a sword fight, refuses to give him any reason to believe that he has the intention of dueling with him. ...read more.


When Romeo refuses to defend his honour, Mercutio steps in and fights Tybalt for him. Romeo tries to cause the duel to cease by stepping between them and saying "the prince expressly hath Forbidden bandying in Verona streets" (tries to make them think of the consequences and heavy retribution that they will be subjected to should the prince find out about their duel). However, Mercutio (off guard and listening to Romeo) is stabbed by Tybalt (alert and ready to seize any moment to fell Mercutio) under Romeo's arm. Tybalt flies and leaves Mercutio to die. Romeo witnesses the fatal blow and watches as Mercutio is carried away by Benvolio. This stirs up an immense vengeful ire inside Romeo and he says "my very friend, hath got his mortal hurt In my behalf; my reputation stain'd with Tybalt's slander, Tybalt that an hour Hath been my kinsman. O sweet Juliet! Thy beauty hath made me effeminate, And in my temper softn'd valour's steel!" ...read more.


Secondly, Romeo was married to Juliet (this makes Tybalt his relative) and is therefore going to cause her emotional distress. From then on Romeo would bear the weight of murdering his own relative upon his conscience. It is also (because of his actions) his own fault that he is banished and as a result loses Juliet. After slaying Tybalt, Romeo realizes that he has done wrong and shows his regret by yelling "O! I am Fortune's fool!" By doing this he is maintaining Shakespeare's controlling theme of fate and showing that he is not responsible for his own actions. He feels that he is a mannequin being played by the cruel puppeteer, Fate. Fate is toying with Romeo and using him as his "fool" for his own amusement, firstly he makes Romeo feel happy and brings about an unlikely, wonderful love and then he causes all the happiness to be replaced by tormenting distress at the pull of a string. ...read more.

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