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Romeo and Juliet are described as "a pair of star-cross'd lovers". How far would you hold them responsible for their own tragic deaths? Who else, if anyone, might be held responsible?

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet are described as "a pair of star-cross'd lovers". How far would you hold them responsible for their own tragic deaths? Who else, if anyone, might be held responsible? Romeo and Juliet's deaths are often blamed on fate and fate alone. However, it is true that had there been no feud; there would have been no problem. It is also true that had Tybalt not died, then neither would have Romeo or Juliet. Furthermore, had Juliet not been forced into marriage, she would not have pretended to die. Let us consider then that every character is to blame. At first sight, it would seem that Romeo is guilty of nothing more than being a good lover. However, besides the fact that the aforementioned 'crime' is very serious, he also did several other things that ultimately caused his death. Firstly, he was called such a good lover because he was quick to fall in love with Juliet, and forgot all about Rosaline. Although this is commendable, his actions were very hasty. It could be said that he was not acting on love, but on lust caused by Juliet's beauty. He seemed to be hopelessly in love with Rosaline before, however when he first laid eyes on Juliet, he immediately forgot about Rosaline, showing that it was not true love. ...read more.

Middle

In this moment, he gives her the potion which makes her look dead, which she gladly accepts, and then in the next scene, she lies to her parents about being in consent about marrying Paris. Similarly to Romeo, her haste has her killed in the final scenes of the play, where upon seeing Romeo's dead body next to her she stabs herself in the heart. Mercutio could also be seen to be partially at fault. Although his sharp tongue does not deter Romeo from his love, his equally sharp ego causes him to fight Tybalt when Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel and is denied. Before this event, in which Mercutio dies, the play could be called a comedy. However, at the moment of the death, and in the following duel to the death between Romeo and Tybalt, the play is irrecoverably turned into a tragedy. Although he cannot be blamed for dying in the duel, Mercutio can be blamed for fighting Tybalt in the first place. Equally Tybalt could be seen as being at fault, for similar reasons to Mercutio. He is to blame for insulting Romeo and Mercutio, which leads to the fight, and he also kills Mercutio, and is killed himself, which is what leads to Romeo being exiled. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also seems too much a coincidence that the characters themselves predict their deaths to an extent. Romeo does this early in the play, before he even meets Juliet, but when he is about to: "I fear too early; for my mind misgives; Some consequence yet hanging in the stars" It seems that destiny has a significant role in the play. If Romeo had not been wearing a mask, Juliet may have known him to be a Montague, and would not have fallen in love. Had there not been an outbreak of the plague, Romeo would have known about Juliet faking her death. However these things did happen. It is not clear whether destiny has a direct act in the play. It is not clear whether the death of the lovers was tragic inevitability, or just bad luck. Everyone in the play is responsible for their own decisions - be it Friar Laurence or Romeo and Juliet themselves. However, no one can be directly blamed for the deaths. It was simply a collection of bad decisions, whether by bad luck and coincidence or fate and destiny. One thing is clear - no one thing can stand alone for the reason for their deaths, but many things could alone have stopped it. Destiny's only interference was to make sure that they didn't. Leszek Swirski ...read more.

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