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To What Extent Were Romeo And Juliet Fated To Die?

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Introduction

To What Extent Were Romeo And Juliet Fated To Die? Using References to Aristotle's Poetics, the Belief and Influence of Fate in Elizabethan Works and the Reference to Fate in The Play A definition of fate would be the power that is supposed to settle ahead of time how things will happen. In the famous play Romeo and Juliet, written by Shakespeare, the two young lovers ended up becoming a large part of what could be called fate. This ultimate power seemed to control their lives and it forced them together. I think it was fate however which ended their parents hatred for each other, some people say if it wasn't for the unexpected fate, Romeo and Juliet wouldn't have both died in the tragic way which they did. In this essay I am aiming to come to a conclusion, in deciding to what extent were Romeo and Juliet fated to die. Was it fate, a tragedy or both linked together? They have different meanings and both could be a possible way to describe the play. Tragedy centres more on one main character, which by the end has usually died, 'the fall of a hero.' Many tragedies are painful for the audience to watch and often people believe if there are no values i.e. a moral/religion involved, then there can be no tragedy. Does Romeo and Juliet fit these guidelines? Aristotle is a Greek playwright. He came up with his own criteria of what he thinks a tragedy should be. Aristotle believes the most important ingredients of a tragedy, is that there should be a stable plot, which is the most important feature of a tragedy. It should be complete with each action leading to the next, so they are able to connect in a realistic way and the play needs to be of a certain length. The character should go from good to bad and needs to be noble, idealized, yet logically constructed. ...read more.

Middle

For instance, if Romeo and Juliet hadn't of died, the Montague's and Capulet's would still be arguing after all this time; the feud would be amongst them all possibly years after Romeo and Juliet, leading to many more deaths. They have made peace by living in their romantic lives for a very short time and then dying. We don't know for certain, nobody has the correct answer but they could still be together somewhere in an afterlife. Perhaps this wasn't the end for their passionate love; maybe it wasn't so tragic after all? By looking at it differently, some may even say it was a happy ending. Capulet and Lady Capulet, Juliet's parents, were people who played life by the rules. They didn't seem interested in real feelings and emotions but more ones that were made up and decided by other people. For example, they both were extremely keen for Juliet to marry Paris in the style of an arranged marriage. Considering what Juliet wanted, seeing as it was her life, didn't really cross their minds. One question which must be asked, what if they hadn't forced her to marry? Juliet would have felt safer and probably wouldn't have worried so much about Romeo. She may have eventually told her mother and father about Romeo, who knows? What we do know is that this like may other scenes ties in well with fate and could have resulted in a different ending if they had not been so harsh. Perhaps Romeo and Juliet would still be alive? Juliet certainly wouldn't have run away and drunk the potion, if her parents weren't so eager for her to marry. Maybe Capulet and Lady Capulet regret their actions now, even though it's too late. They could place the blame on themselves for what tragically happened, like many others. It's not worth grieving over something that has happened, it was a tragedy but other causes that were related to their deaths should be explained. ...read more.

Conclusion

As I explained previously the 'ingredients' Aristotle believed had to fit into a tragedy, don't completely match Romeo and Juliet in my opinion. Firstly, Romeo and Juliet was presented in a narrative form, which Aristotle didn't want in a tragedy. The play clearly begins with a chorus and throughout the play are stage directions and people entering/leaving etc. In numerous circumstances Romeo and Juliet would fit his criteria well. Such as the plot, it was filled with lots of action and character. However 'the change in the fortune of the protagonist must go from good to bad' as Aristotle quotes does and doesn't fit Romeo and Juliet. Romeo being one of the main characters has luck, which goes from good to bad as he meets Juliet but then they both die. At the beginning of the play he doesn't have any good luck though as he cant find love. It seems to go in some sort of pattern. (Bad to good and back to bad.) His personality doesn't really change to a huge extent, some people say it becomes better as he is very romantic and loving near the end towards Juliet, others may think he has become more of a nasty person as he killed Tybalt. It is a fifty fifty argument to whether this matches the criteria or not in my opinion. Finally he thinks the ending should be beneficial in the sense that the audience are better off after watching the play. This is true in Romeo and Juliet as I think you learn many lessons about life, one, not to invade into other people's love and try to resolve problems secretly. Taken as a whole, I would say that Romeo and Juliet doesn't fit Aristotle's criteria, as he wants to be strict on everything and in this case not all matters refer to it completely. My essay has covered many areas of this play, involving Aristotle and different Elizabethan tragedies as well, I have extended the essay and researched more into fate occurring in other Shakespeare plays also. Gemma Hinton 10BI Miss. Little, English Coursework, Shakespeare ...read more.

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