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Romeo and Juliet - Who is to blame for the death of the star crossed lovers

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Introduction

For many years people have argued over the reasons for the death of Romeo and Juliet the plays protagonists. This is a controversial topic especially if other people play a part in their death. The deaths of Romeo and Juliet appear needless, as it was mainly the people around them who were fighting and acting carelessly like the Nurse. Romeo and Juliet mainly kept out of the feuding but the people around them were interfering made their lives miserable. Since they are so deeply in love the lovers refused to be split up and therefore take risks to stay together which eventually leads to their deaths. The Prologue at the beginning of the play suggests that fate is against them, they are "star-cross'd lovers, whose love will be "death-mark'd". Romeo is a young teenager, a Montague, who falls in love with Juliet, a Capulet. Their families are bitter enemies. He is intense, passionate and impulsive throughout the play. When we first meet Romeo, his behaviour impetuous and rash. His love for Rosalyne doesn't last despite his constant declaration of love for her. He blames Fate for nearly everything that goes wrong after he kills Tybalt. He then realises the seriousness of his action but prefers to blame the stars rather than himself, "O, I am fortune's fool". Killing Tybalt is probably the biggest mistake Romeo makes as it leads to his banishment and means he can no longer see his beloved Juliet, without the risk of being caught. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet is very pleased to receive the potion from Friar Laurence, 'Give me, give me! Oh tell me not of fear!' Though the Friar is concerned about what he is doing, he warns her 'These violent delights have violent ends' and seems to recognise the potential for disaster in their union. The plan to unite the families soon fails as Romeo is banished. This time he makes another plan that is as risky as the first. The plan goes wrong and he accuses fate, 'Unhappy Fortune' although the friar tells Romeo to stop blaming fortune when he kills Tybalt. Juliet, who now faces the rest of her life with Paris, turns to the Friar for a solution. Friar Laurence is one of the main people to blame for the tragedy, as it is his plans that went wrong. But from Romeo and Juliet's view he possesses qualities of kindness and optimism. He always has a solution for their problems even though they weren't exactly great. He also could be considered a coward because he ran away and didn't help Juliet at the bitter end. Lord and Lady Capulet as well as the Montague's are partly responsible for the death of the 'star-cross'd lovers' as they keep the feud going when they have the authority to stop it. Lady Capulet demands revenge after the death of Tybalt 'For blood of ours shed blood of Montague'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Prince is the ruler of Verona. He tries quite hard to keep the peace, but not enough to stop the tragedy; he gives threats 'your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace', however does not carry them out as he has the chance to enforce the death penalty on Romeo. For example after the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt the Prince tells the citizens of Verona 'who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?' in other words he seeks justice for these murders. If he had tried harder to prevent the quarrelling and carried out more of his threats the feud might have cooled. However at the end of the play he accepts some of the responsibility for what has happened 'Winking at their discords?' and begins to regret it. He also tries to bring the two sides together, 'What a scourge is laid upon your hate, that heavens finds means to kill your joys with love' I do not think that one person is wholly to blame for the downfall of the lovers but Friar Laurence plays a large part in the tragedy, mainly because of his complicated plans, which require accurate execution, and in the end failed. Friar Laurence need not have granted the requests of Romeo and Juliet without carefully considering the consequences. I do not think fate played a part in the play as there are too many mistakes made by the main characters. They alone control their actions so should be held responsible. ...read more.

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