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What makes Romeo & Juliet a tragedy and who/what is responsible?

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Shakespeare Essay Romeo and Juliet What makes 'Romeo and Juliet' a tragedy and who or what is responsible for it? Tragedy is one of the key genres illustrated in Romeo and Juliet. There are always certain actions which lead to tragic consequences. Also, a number of deaths take place and the greatest of them are the deaths of both Romeo and Juliet. However, you cannot blame only one certain thing or individual for the tragic consequences which occur in the play. Various characters and elements contribute to the catastrophic events. Also, certain actions and attitudes of characters result in negative outcomes even when it could have been avoided. In addition to this point, fate also plays a great role in the happenings of the play. To begin with, the two families, Montague and Capulet, have been locked in a feud for many long years. From this element, all the other misfortunes begin to unfold. And then moving onto the main basis of the story; the "pair of star-cross'd lovers" who are Romeo and Juliet both from opposite households fall in love and are restricted to do so freely and are not able to be together. This in itself is tragic and unbearable for the two young people who are in love. If the feud hadn't been persistent for the many years it has been, Romeo and Juliet would never have had to keep their marriage and love a secret. ...read more.


The Nurse tells Juliet to marry Paris after Romeo's banishment which is bigamy and a sin at the time which the play is set in. In Act 3, scene 5, line 217 she says: "I think it best you marry the county". She changes her mind and tells Juliet to forget about Romeo and marry Paris. After this, Juliet has no hope and has suicidal thoughts. Friar Laurence is a man of good intentions. He will always look on the bright side of things. The following quote implies that Friar Laurence hopes that by marrying Romeo and Juliet, the violence between the house of Montague and Capulet will come to an end. "In one respect I'll thy assistant be; for this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your household rancour to pure love." (Act 2, scene 3, lines 90-92). He is a character who aids both Romeo and Juliet throughout the whole play. Choices he made determined the outcome of the whole play and had he made different choices, the play may not have ended the way it did. Had the Friar not wedded Romeo and Juliet, the tragedy would not have occurred. Also, because of his giving of the potion to Juliet, Romeo wouldn't have killed himself, and seeing him dead, Juliet wouldn't have committed suicide either. Mercutio is to blame for persuading Romeo to go to the ball of the Capulets. ...read more.


A chain of events build up and lead to the tragic ending of Romeo and Juliet. However, fate is also a key element which comes into the plot. This is because things happen according to fate and destiny and it can't be avoided. On the other hand, it is the choice and free-will of certain individuals that cause the negative outcomes to take place. It was according to fate that the servant finds Romeo and tells him to read out the invitation. Romeo goes to the Capulets' ball and experiences love at first sight with Juliet. Fate made the letter from Friar Laurence to Romeo fail to be delivered and therefore causing a mix-up of plans. And like so, Juliet wakes too late from her 'fake death' to find that her lover - Romeo, is dead. And seeing her beloved lying dead, she feels that there is no point of living if her lover is gone. So therefore, in hope of there being a reunion with her Romeo, she takes her own life. I don't think that it was only one certain character who was responsible. For each occurrence, there is a different character which could be blamed. A chain of events slowly build up the tragedy and finally result in both Romeo and Juliet to take their own lives for each other. From the beginning, fate had decided that the 'star cross'd lovers' are doomed, which meant that there will be a great tragedy. Therefore, "there never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo." ...read more.

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