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"Romeo and Juliet commit suicide. Therefore they are completely responsible for their own deaths". Do you agree with this assessment of the play? You must refer to the social and historical context in which the play was written.

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Introduction

"Romeo and Juliet commit suicide. Therefore they are completely responsible for their own deaths". Do you agree with this assessment of the play? You must refer to the social and historical context in which the play was written. Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare in 1599 and is classed by many critics as a tragedy. There are a few reasons why they class it as a tragedy and these factors are: There are a lot of reasons as to why Romeo and Juliet's romance was doomed. Firstly, the lovers' families were feuding and had done for a long time before this is backed up by a quote that Shakespeare says, "ancient grudge". This tells us that the feud has gone on for a long time and that there must be a lot of hatred towards one another. Secondly, Romeo turns up at the Capulet's party, where he is trying to see the lady he loves (Rosaline), instead he meets by chance Juliet. It is here that they fall madly in love and declare their vows before they even know each others' true background. A few days later, they decide to get married in secret and tell no-one. Tybalt, Juliet's cousin decides to fight Romeo, but Mercutio steps in and gets killed instead. Romeo, upset by the death of Mercutio, takes revenge on Tybalt and kills him, thus getting banished from Verona and to Mantua. ...read more.

Middle

This jeopardised the plan, as Romeo had no idea what was happening. They are both to blame however, as they didn't tell anyone apart from Friar Laurence and the nurse that they were married. If the families had known, they may have come to an agreement and stopped the feud before they both took their lives. On the other hand, this statement is incorrect, as there were underlying factors that contributed to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. One of these factors is Friar Laurence. Friar Laurence was well aware of Romeo and Juliet's situation yet he still agreed to marry them. On the day he marries them, he says: "These violent delights have violent ends, And in their triumph die like fire and powder: Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey Is loathsome in his own deliciousness, And in the taste confounds the appetite." Friar Laurence, saying this obviously thinks that the moment that Romeo and Juliet kiss as husband and wife, will put to an end all of the arguments and ancient grudge. However, it is obvious as the story unfolds that what he has actually done is worsen the situation. He also gave Juliet the potion that will make her appear dead whilst in fact she is just sleeping. When he did this, he knew that everyone would hear about her death including Romeo. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo by chance reads the invitation that was intended for Benvolio and decides to attend the party. There is also a hint of chance, as they meet each other at the party by chance. However, it all goes wrong from the moment they are married. Fate in this section has manipulated the events to make sure that Romeo and Juliet could not deal with the circumstances thrown at them. They are either not destined to be together or are not allowed to have the happiness that they desire the most in the world. This was shown in the Elizabethan times as the "wheel of fortune", where one minute you are at the top of the wheel and fortune favours you greatly and then the next minute you are at the bottom of the wheel where fortune does not favour you at all. Fate is first mentioned in the prologue, "A pair of star-crossed lovers". This shows that the lovers lives together are not written in the stars and that no matter how hard they try their lives are not meant to be together. Overall, I feel that Romeo and Juliet are responsible for their deaths. I say this as they were the ones who physically killed themselves and also they knew from the start that they shouldn't be together and that what they were doing was wrong. They should have known that their relationship was doomed from there on. Kirsty Oram English Coursework 11RC 1 ...read more.

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