• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Romeo and Juliet" - A tragedy?

Extracts from this document...


"Romeo and Juliet" - A tragedy? William Shakespeare was a playwright and an actor in the sixteenth century. He wrote a series of sonnets and plays that have become increasingly popular. Many of his ideas were taken from other writers, and he transformed them brilliantly. His plays were of many genres, including a series of tragedies. "Romeo and Juliet" was part of this series along side other well-known titles such as "Othello" and "Macbeth". It was based on Arthur Brooke's poem, "The tragicall historye of Romeus and Juliet". Brooke's version was long and insipid, but Shakespeare's genius as a language craftsman made it powerfully vivid. What makes "Romeo and Juliet" a great tragedy? To know this we must review the definition of what a tragedy is. The Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary identifies it as "A species of drama in which action and language are elevated and the catastrophe is usually sad." On a more basic level, I would define a tragedy as a literary work that has a serious or sorrowful content, often a combination of events leads to a disastrous conclusion. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher; he too made his own study of what constitutes a tragedy. ...read more.


The "greater power" that Friar Lawrence refers to is, of course, fate. Shakespeare again chooses to place the blame on a higher power rather than an individual, signifying his desire to make the audience believe that no one person or thing was responsible for the deaths of the young couple but fate. These previous quotations seem to prove that Fate was responsible for the death of the destined couple. However, is it true to say that Fate was the sole contributor to the deaths of the young couple, or was their demise brought about by the mistakes of others? I think it would be truer to say that although fate played a major role in the conclusion, the part of the other characters is also important. The Friar, Romeo's friend and assistant of Juliet in her final plan, changed the course of events by helping the young couple in their plans to marry and assisting Juliet in her scheme to be with Romeo once again. If the Friar had not agreed to marry Romeo and Juliet, it is possible that the couple would have given up on the idea of being together. On the other hand, Romeo and Juliet may have been fated to marry and would have partaken in the ceremony one way or another no matter what the Friar's decision. ...read more.


Romeo says "O let us hence, I stand on sudden haste" He is in a hurry; he cares not for detail but only for action. Friar Lawrence is far more sensible and considerate of the consequences. "Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast" Here it becomes apparent how immature Romeo is, he has not considered what will happen after the marriage, or the fact that their families are great enemies, they are living for the moment, and they pay the consequences. Friar Lawrence is wise, he realises that they are moving too fast, but in his wish to do good is unable to prevent them. Throughout the whole play there is evidence of their haste, and there is no consideration for the future, only that they must get married now. For instance Romeo kills Tybalt in haste, it is his immediate instinct on the death of his good friend Mercutio, he yet again does not consider the consequences. And when Romeo hears that he is banished, he very nearly kills himself without thought of anything else. There are only a couple of instances when either part of the couple stop to consider their actions, they are too blinded by love to care. This tragic flaw is, alongside the sequence of preceding events, the main cause of their tragic death. Nicola Vousden 11Ol ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. A Midsummer Night's Dream - A discussion of the

    power, which as they kiss consume' when fire and gun powder touch or 'kiss' they are destructive i.e. like Romeo and Juliet and there proposed marriage. The two houses meet in Verona they argue and a fight ensues. Tybalt kills Mercutio and he cures the two houses with his last

  2. "Romeo and Juliet" - review

    Baz Luhrmann sets his version in the modern era, hence changing from the old to the new. Where as Franco Zefferelli decided to set his version in the archetypal and distinctive setting. Colour throughout both films is a hardly distinctive aspect between the two versions.

  1. A greater power than we can contradict hath thwarted our intents." How far ...

    If the Nurse had stepped in now and told someone of the secret marriage things may have turned out differently. Now Juliet had no one to turn to and ask for help, except for the Friar. She couldn't go to her parents, and the Nurse whom was supposed to be

  2. How does Shakespeare create a sense of tragedy in the final scene of 'Romeo ...

    For example, on line 146 he says, "Is guilty of this lamentable chance!" Shakespeare uses these references in several ways: It is a very effective way of making the Friar seem like he might be denying guilt, which is fitting considering the amount he had to do with the lover's end.

  1. Who is responsible for the final tragedy in romeo and juliet

    As the nurse is very close to Juliet she knew about the affair between her and Romeo. Firstly she was responsible for encouraging romantic ideas to Juliet. This means she influenced the romance when she should have stopped it because, yes her interest is in Juliet's life, but the nurse

  2. Are Romeo And Juliet Responsible For Their Own Demise

    She also s points out that if there is no solution to her desperate situation, then she will kill herself: "Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife/ Shall play the umpire,/Be not so long to speak; I long to die,If what thou speak'st speak not of remedy."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work