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To what extent are the lovers star-crossed(TM) from the start of the play? Discuss with reference to two scenes. Show how Shakespeare conveys these ide

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Rachel Judah 3e GCSE2 Mrs Melinsky March 2008 English coursework essay: 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare To what extent are the lovers 'star-crossed' from the start of the play? Discuss with reference to two scenes. Show how Shakespeare conveys these ideas through language and drama. star-crossed adj, literary ill-fated; doomed never to be happy because the stars are in inauspicious positions. (Definition from the Chambers English Dictionary) Fate is an important theme in the play. Right at the start, the Chorus announces that the play revolves around a "pair of star-crossed lovers" (line 6). The use of the Chorus (a feature of classical drama) was very fashionable at the time but Shakespeare only uses it in two other plays. Its appearance here stresses the tragic nature of the play. In his cinematic production, Baz Luhrmann uses a news announcement to carry the same image as news is in the twenty-first century associated with doom and disaster, which are results of destiny. Shakespeare uses a metaphor "star-crossed" to describe the couple.' It is an astrological term, which indicates that the destiny of the two young lovers has been proscribed in the heavens. It means they were always destined to meet but that they were never supposed to stay together. The Elizabethan people were very much attached to the idea that your destiny was foretold in the stars; and the mention that Romeo and Juliet's 'star-crossed' nature means that they could never have been together. ...read more.


Juliet says to Romeo "If thy bent of love be honourable". The use of the word "bent" signifies something that is twisted and not natural and "honourable" incites that death is more honourable than shame. The words have strong links to the last scene when Romeo is 'bent' lying over Juliet's body. The end of the scene shows that the lovers are ill fated though Romeo and Juliet's discourse. There is a powerful surge of opposite emotions. Juliet uses metaphors of birds to refer to their fate. The bird element also signifies that it is free of the three most important themes in the play: love, constraints and freedom. She says that the bird is "like a poor prisoner" (line 179), the word prisoner refers to Romeo and Juliet and how they are prisoners of their own fate and will not be able to escape. The bird imagery also refers to Romeo and Juliet's love, which will be swift and fast and will end up in the sky, i.e.: there love is rushing towards death and heaven. However, this there is one very strong point that appears at the beginning of the scene. It is a reference to the stars and is spoken by Romeo; "Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, /Having some business, do entreat her eyes/To twinkle in their spheres till they return." ...read more.


And "everlasting rest" means death as eternal peace. This means that is going to take his chances on death. This means Romeo is trying to say that if he kills himself he is effectively freeing himself of fate. The "Inauspicious stars" represent his destiny and they also refer to the "star-crossed" aspect of Romeo and, Juliet, because as he frees himself of fate and his destiny he will be able to be with Juliet forever. The last comparison that Romeo makes before drinking the poison is "Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on/ The dashing rocks thy seasick weary bark!" This is of his life. He feels that it has been a fast yet desperate voyage on a boat and that he is now crashing into the rocks to his death. When the Friar finally arrives and discovers Romeo he says "Ah, what an unkind hour/ Is guilty of this lamentable chance!" "Lamentable chance" means sorrowful accident but the deaths of Romeo and Juliet are not 'accidents' they are predestined. This comment from the Friar is intriguing because it contradicts the fact that the lovers are "star-crossed" saying that their deaths are accidents however both their deaths could have been prevented if the friar had arrived just minutes before, seals the lovers fate. However, seeing as Romeo and Juliet's fate is predestined and 'written in the stars' nothing could have obviously changed the outcome of their fate. They were destined to die together. ...read more.

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