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What aspect of 'Romeo and Juliet' ismost responsible for the tragedy at the end?

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What aspect of 'Romeo and Juliet' is most responsible for the tragedy at the end? In the last Act of 'Romeo and Juliet', Shakespeare does what he so typically does in his tragedies in killing off the tragic hero and heroine, however, here neither hero nor heroine possess a fatal flaw. Perhaps, were we to blame their deaths entirely on the death of Tybalt than we could say that Romeo's fatal flaw was vengeance, the failure of a man to avoid being thought a coward, however this is not the case as there is still hope of a happy ending subsequent to the death of Tybalt. I am going to explore what were the main factors that led to their deaths, or perhaps, as the prologue suggests, their deaths are the working of fate. Their deaths follow, and are influenced by, a series of events prior to the final scene, however it is difficult to judge which had the greater influence on the final tragedy. A theme that is greatly apparent throughout the play is the feud. The audience are introduced to the family feud between the Capulets and the Montagues right from the beginning when we meet two young Capulet servants who talk crudely of Montagues, " a dog of the house of Montague moves me". ...read more.


The friar's motives for helping Romeo to pursue his love was to "turn [their] households' rancour to pure love" incongruously, this was achieved only in their deaths. He also wanted to help a friend and portray his actions in a favourable light because he has a sense of superiority; he looks for the regard and respect of others and is afraid of his shortcomings. The responsibility for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet cannot be held with Friar Lawrence because his intentions were pure; he genuinely wanted to bring an end to the family feud. The nurse, a parallel of the friars character, knew just as much of the events as the friar did but shies away from involvement at a crucial moment, the character of the friar seems far more loyal a confidante than the nurse is for Juliet. He tries to help and although his motives are misguided, they are genuine and faithful to his belief of true love. The extent of Romeo and Juliet's love is another consequential aspect of their deaths. The love is pure and true, the audience can realise this when they compare Romeo's affection for Rosaline at the beginning with his wooing of Juliet, spoken in beautiful sonnet verse. Their love is so unique and tragic because it must contend with the adversity of a society at war with itself: it is a love against all odds. ...read more.


After analysing the different aspects that could have affected the tragic ending, I came to the conclusion that Shakespeare intended the responsibility to lie outside the characters and events that occur, he intended it to lie with fate, it was their destiny to die in the end. Throughout the play, never does Shakespeare lose the idea of fate and this is evident through dramatic irony. The lovers are described as "star-cross'd", their love as "death-mark'd" and there are several hints suggesting the ending such as "Methinks I see thee...in the bottom of a tomb" and after Mercutio's malevolent, "a plague on both you houses" it is inevitable that the play will end unhappily. Chance and misfortune are not to be forgotten. Alongside fate runs mistakes and misfortune and these tragic mistakes are usually caused by haste. Had Juliet awoken moments earlier then the tragedy would not have occurred, had friar Lawrence not left Juliet alone in the vault in the last scene, her predictable suicide would not have happened and had Friar John delivered the letter sent to Romeo by Friar Lawrence the tragedy would also have been avoided. However, the failure to deliver the letter is such a trivial occurrence (Friar John was locked into a house where the plague was suspected) that we can draw the conclusion that fate played the main hand in the lovers' untimely end. ...read more.

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