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

To what extent are the deaths of Romeo and Juliet caused by them being 'star-cross'd lovers', and to what extent are they caused by the different characters own actions?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent are the deaths of Romeo and Juliet caused by them being 'star-cross'd lovers', and to what extent are they caused by the different characters own actions? Romeo and Juliet was written in 1595 for an Elizabethan audience. It was set in Verona and Mantua in Italy. People of Shakespeare's time thought of Italy as immoral and famous for it sexual affairs and crime. The audience would have expected Romeo and Juliet to include affairs and violence but would still react shocked to the actions going on in the play, as even though it would be normal, because of the notorious rumours of Italy, the audience would be used to have a happy ending. When fate and inevitability are present in a storyline the audience feels pity for the characters and fear for what is going to happen. The deaths in the play Romeo and Juliet have many possible causes, although they both eventually kill themselves, Romeo and Juliet could have been influenced to do this by other characters or each other. It is constantly suggested that their deaths were determined by fate, so none of the other characters could have influenced this anyway. Or it could just be because of their bad luck. They are not the only characters killed in the play. Romeo and Juliet opens with a prologue, which sets the scene to the play and gives the audience their first impressions of the characters. ...read more.


When he first meets Juliet they talk in a poetic way and use huge amounts of religious imagery, repeating particular words such as "pilgrims", "saints" and "holy" which makes them and their love seem innocent, which is portrayed in the language they used, as Romeo says "My lips, two blushing pilgrims". When they talk to each other the speak in rhyme, making it seem artificial, but their first conversation is written as a sonnet. This poem structure is typically used for love poems and as they talk in that format the audience will think that they have really fallen in love. In the prologue for Romeo and Juliet the phrase "star cross'd lovers" is used to describe Romeo and Juliet. "Star cross'd lovers" means, in reference to Romeo and Juliet that they were destined to meet, fall head over heels in love, and eventually die. Star imagery is used throughout Romeo and Juliet, which supports the idea that Romeo and Juliet were victims of fate as stars are often connected with people's destiny such as horoscopes. The idea of fate and destiny is often used by many of the characters as a reason for the events that happen. This means that they believe that everything that ever happens is pre-destined so whatever the characters do to affect Romeo and Juliet such as the nurse corresponding between them even if she had not of done this, she believes according to fate, that Romeo and Juliet would still have died in the end. ...read more.


Juliet's nurse is more like her mother, as she has known and looked after her for all her life. The Nurse tells Romeo and Juliet about each other, and encourages them to marry in secret, even helping to arrange their wedding. She wants to see Juliet grown up, as her real daughter died. She tells Juliet that 'I have my wish' if 'I might live to see thee married once'. This might of influenced her to push forward with their wedding. The Friar Laurence agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet, although the reason he did this could be questioned. He could have done this more for his own gain than theirs. If the marriage had ended the feuding between the noble families, Friar Laurence would gain respect for it. There are many ideas about who is to blame for Romeo and Juliet's deaths. For hundreds of years, the true cause has been disputed. There are examples of evidence that the lovers are to blame for their own deaths. Their haste and passion have a lot of effect on the things that they do. Although other characters' actions influence their decisions, eventually I think that they do not to such a large extent as Romeo and Juliet's own actions. I believe that the most important events in the play are the Capulets' party and the final fight between the two houses. Without these events, the story would be very different. ...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. Romeo And Juliet - The feud between the Montague and Capulet families and the ...

    He, more than anyone kept the feud between the two families going. He was always looking for trouble. For example at the Capulets ball when he noticed Romeo he instantly told Capulet of his presence. However Capulet ignored him and scolded him for wanting to pick a fight.

  2. Writing about the story of Romeo and Juliet, in a prologue then the relationship ...

    best for Juliet and she believes that he should have a lot of money. The Phrase "chinks" comes from the noise of which a lot of money in a mans pocket would make. The Nurse is a source of information for Juliet, a sort of secret spy.

  1. A Pair of star-cross'd lovers". Can fate alone be blamed for the deaths of ...

    Events are not pre-decided but individuals' actions create chance. In Act III Scene I Mercutio says "why the devil came you between us?" this seems to suggest that the choice to step between Mercutio and Tybalt Romeo made led to the death of Mercutio. Chance and circumstances created by the choices of individuals has a small part to play

  2. Who or What Caused the Deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

    Juliet's parents are anxious Juliet is married soon. Juliet's father despises disobedience and her mother seems to want to get rid of Juliet rapidly. Juliet's cousin Tybalt is a very sophisticated and smart young man who is proud of his endeavours and envious of the family honour. He is an antagonistic character much like Mercutio.

  1. How does the first two scenes support the quote that Romeo and Juliet are ...

    The Capulet servants Sampson and Gregory are having a conversation in Verona and they express their hatred for the Montagues, including the Montague women by saying, "A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montagues".

  2. Romeo and Juliet - "A pair of star cross'd lovers...." To what extent was ...

    The Nurse could have prevented Juliet from taking the potion yet she did not sleep with Juliet that particular night. *The plan seems flawless but time is against Romeo, Friar Lawrence and Juliet. Friar John gets quarantined because of the plague and thus Romeo receives the wrong information.

  1. What roles did the leaders of Veronese Society Play in the deaths of the ...

    a clear example of the absurdity of the law the Prince imposed. In these circumstances the only person who can be punished is Romeo, as he is the only one living. However, the issue of blame can be taken to either Tybalt, since he killed Mercutio, or Romeo, who took the law into his own hands.

  2. In the prologue, Romeo and Juliet are described as a pair of "star cross'd ...

    The idea that the letter wasn't able to be delivered by Friar John, could be sheer coincidence but I still ruminate over the possibility that all the conclusions that Friar Lawrence has made have turned out to be like 'sour misfortune's book.'

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