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Were Romeo and Juliet themselves entirely to blame for the tragedy of the play?

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Introduction

Were Romeo and Juliet themselves entirely to blame for the tragedy of the play? In order to decide if Romeo and Juliet were entirely responsible for the tragedy of the play there are many factors to take into consideration. The tragedy was that at the end of the play they took their own lives and, of course, they were to blame for this as they both committed suicide. Other lives were also taken throughout the play; Tybalt, Mercutio, Paris and Lady Montague, and these were part of the tragedy. However, the situation they were in was not completely of their own making, and I think that of all the factors involved in the tragedy, Romeo and Juliet were the least at fault. Fate probably played the greatest role in the tragedy, as Romeo and Juliet were 'star-crossed lovers'. They were given premonitions, but ignored them, as they did not understand what they meant. Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet had a great deal of bad luck, as they were not to blame for most of the events of the play. There were also complex circumstances, which were out of their control. Individual characters were involved in the tragedy, as they thought they were acting out of freewill but were actually playing into the hands of fate. All the main characters probably took nearly as much responsibility for the tragedy as fate, as they were the tools of fate. Romeo began the play infatuated with another girl, Rosaline, which showed that he was still young and impetuous. He had a bad feeling about attending the Capulet Ball, 'Some consequence yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin his fearful date' but went regardless. Then, after having met Juliet at the ball he risked death from her guards to see her by climbing into the Capulet Garden. He rushed into marriage with Juliet, 'And there she shall at Friar Lawrence' cell be shrived and married'. ...read more.

Middle

Lady Capulet asked Juliet to consider marrying Paris, and Juliet did not give a negative response. Later, when Juliet refused to marry Paris, Lady Capulet wished her dead, 'I would the fool were married to her grave,' and said she wanted nothing more to do with her daughter, 'Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.' Also, Lady Capulet said she wanted to poison Romeo after he had killed Tybalt, her nephew, 'Shall give him such some unaccustomed dram that he shall soon keep Tybalt company'. The nurse began the play as Juliet's closest friend and confidante, as she had been with Juliet since she was a baby, 'Thou wast the prettiest babe that 'ere I nursed'. However, she was not particularly suited to this role, as she was not especially clever or sensitive, she said 'Sleep for a week: for the next night, I warrant, the county Paris hath set up his rest that you shall rest but little', showing her tactlessness. She encouraged Juliet's secret relationship with Romeo and helped to arrange the marriage, 'There stands a husband to make you a wife,' while deceiving her employers. Later she told Juliet to marry Paris to save herself 'I think it best you marry with the county', losing Juliet's trust, 'Thou has comforted me marvellous much'. This left Juliet with nobody to trust or confide in, so she did not tell the nurse about the potion. Although it was her duty to the Capulets, the nurse did not offer to tell the truth about Romeo and Juliet out of cowardice, even when Juliet's parents demanded that their daughter marry Paris. Although she tried to do the right thing for Juliet, she acted more like a friend than a responsible adult, and this caused her to contribute to the tragedy. Mercutio was partly to blame for the tragedy of the play, though not a great part as he was killed by Tybalt half way through. ...read more.

Conclusion

Their deaths were an inevitable outcome of this conflict between love and hate that surrounded the two lovers, 'Heaven finds the means to kill your joys with love'. Fate's intention was to bring the two families together, 'To turn households rancour to pure love', as was shown at the end when Capulet and Montague shook hands to signal the end of the feud. It is ironic that it took the deaths of Romeo and Juliet to end the feud, and that the tragedy of the play brought about a good thing. Fate was in command of the actions of all the characters, and although Romeo says 'I defy you stars', he was actually playing into the hands of fate. In conclusion, Romeo and Juliet were not themselves entirely responsible for the tragedy of the play. There were many factors and characters involved, and none of them were completely to blame. The characters personalities led, in part, to the tragedy of the play, as irresponsibility, aggression, weakness, and vengeance were the cause of many events. Also, fate and bad luck had a significant part to play, especially as fate was in control of the characters. The belief that fate determines our lives echoed throughout the play, and Romeo and Juliet struggled to break free of what fate threatened for them in dreams and premonitions. Regarding character's personalities, I think the play is a good reflection of real life, as in reality, responsible people can often be quite weak, and people with strong personalities can often be irrational and aggressive. The play showed a large range of human emotion and character. The selflessness of Romeo and Juliet was in contrast to the hatred that filled Verona. The blame could be laid on Romeo and Juliet for their youthful haste and passion, however, I do not feel that adolescent love at first sight is a cause for tragedy. I think the tragedy occurred as a result of an amalgamation of all the different aspects, none more so than fate itself. Zo� Twigg ...read more.

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