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Romeo and Juliet - 'Star-crossed lovers' or tragic protagonists?

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Romeo and Juliet 'Star-crossed lovers' or tragic protagonists? Romeo and Juliet, a play written by William Shakespeare is one of the most popular love stories of all time. It is a story about "A pair of star-crossed lovers", Romeo and Juliet. From the opening scenes of the play these two children of feuding families were destined to fall in love together and eventually die together. In the play Romeo and Juliet's lives are based according to the stars, fate, chance and coincidence. One of the oldest and most debated questions of all time is whether our lives are governed by fate or by our personal choice. A definition of fate would be a power that is believed to settle ahead of time how things will happen. William Shakespeare, in Romeo and Juliet, brings this question to the surface. Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher that had many theories on the idea of fate and tragedy in a play. He said that tragedy was to be told "in a dramatic rather than narrative form, with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions." ...read more.


As soon as Romeo has killed Tybalt, he realises that what he did was fate, and that he was destined to kill him. He feels as though is purely a puppet and is just acting out the things which he is fated to do: "O, I am fortune's fool." Romeo often tries to defy the stars and change the course of his life throughout the play. For instance in Mantua, when Balthasar delivers the sad news of Juliet's death, Romeo's response is swift and simple, "Is it even so? Then I defy you, stars!" This shows that in an instant, Romeo has made his decision. He is defying fate by refusing to mourn his lover's death. He will win a victory in his struggle with the stars by joining Juliet in death. Another example of this would be when Romeo is in the Capulet tomb lying with Juliet. Moments before he kills himself, Romeo gazes upon Juliet and says, "O, here, will I set up my everlasting rest. And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars. From this world-wearied flesh." This means that Romeo will take his chances on death, where he hopes to be at peace, his body free at last from the doom of the baleful stars. ...read more.


Another reason for tragedy in this play would be impatience. The entire play takes only four days. There is a sense of urgency and rushing throughout the play. For example, Romeo and Juliet marry on the second day that they have met. Another example would be when Friar Laurence urges Juliet to hurry and run from the tomb. When she refuses to do this, he does, which leaves her in great danger from her own self. One often wonders if the tragedy in Romeo and Juliet could have been avoided , without the seemingly vital need for bloodshed. Could Romeo have not acted too hastily throughout the play, or Juliet, not have deceived and disobeyed her parents? The answer is that the tragedy was not the fault of any one individual , it was fate that Romeo and Juliet met and fell in love, and fate that they departed. "A glooming peace this morning with it brings; The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things; Some shall be pardoned, and some punished: For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." ...read more.

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