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Were Romeo and Juliet victims of predestination and fate, or were their tragic ends brought about through conscious choices?

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Introduction

Were they really "Star-cross'd lovers?" Were Romeo and Juliet victims of predestination and fate, or were their tragic ends brought about through conscious choices? Include a discussion of language, literary conventions and dramatic devices to support your position "For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo", (Act 1, Scene 1). This quote clearly shows the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet's demise. In this essay, I will explore the reasons why Romeo and Juliet were "star-cross'd" victims of fate, instead of blaming their conscious choices for their heartbreaking deaths. Although there were some wrong choices made, the majority of their fate was preordained. Shakespeare makes it very apparent to the audience that Romeo and Juliet are controlled by Fate. Before the play begins, Shakespeare summarizes the plot of the play in the prologue. "A pair of star-crossed take their life." (Shakespeare, Act 1 Prologue L.6) ...read more.

Middle

At the masque, Romeo encounters Tybalt, a conflict that eventually concludes in death for Tybalt and Mercutio, as well as banishment for Romeo. "This, by his voice, should be a Montague." (Act 1 Sc.5 L.56) Tybalt discovers Romeo's presence by over hearing a barely audible musing. It is predestination that provokes Romeo to encounter Juliet, and fate that irrevocably separates them. Juliet is subject to fate very similarly to Romeo. Juliet's association with Romeo happens as a consequence of fate as well. Had Juliet initially identified Romeo as a Montague, she would not have associated with him, but she was unaware of this since she later asks her Nurse, "What is yond Gentleman?" (Act 2 Sc. 5 L.130). This proves that Juliet is infatuated with Romeo and falls immediately in love with him, only later finding out he is a Montague. Juliet had already fallen in love with Romeo when she states, "My only love sprung from my only hate." ...read more.

Conclusion

Nevertheless, predestination strikes back, and the complete plan becomes a chaos. Firstly, the letter never gets to Romeo. The cause for this is that Friar Lawrence's messenger was subjected to quarantine. This was not the fault of Friar Lawrence, the messenger, or Romeo; it was Fate. Because of this, Romeo and Juliet's likelihood of happiness became very minute. Romeo goes to Juliet's tomb and kills himself. Incredibly, had he waited just a few moments, he would have witnessed Juliet's awakening; they would have escaped and lived happily ever after. But, due to a bizarre incidence of fate, Juliet awakens sees Romeo. This surprising ending alone is enough to propose that the entire plot has a hinged on Fate. Fate's affect on the overall conclusion is disastrous. These two incidents alone alter the outcome entirely; let alone the numerous occurrences in the play. A pertinent question is: "Is Shakespeare showing us spiritual fate, or is it purely a sequence of outlandishly unintentional events?" In order to respond to this question, one must develop of an understanding the use of Fate earlier in plays. ...read more.

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