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What Role Does Fate Play In the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

WHAT ROLE DOES FATE PLAY IN THE TRAGEDY OF ROMEO AND JULIET? Chris Howland 10L Fate plays a main part in the play of Romeo and Juliet, but before we can judge this, we must first answer the question; what is fate? According to the dictionary, fate is 'power predetermining events unalterably from eternity' or, in simpler terms, 'what is destined to happen.' This is sometimes said to be the main contributor to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, and in some ways it is, but the way the other characters act could also have helped bring the 'star crossed lovers' lives to an end. First we will look at the role of fate, and how it plans out the young couple's lives. References to fate are made from the very start of the play; the first in the prologue; 'From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, A pair of star-crossed lovers takes their lives; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents strife.' This shows that even from the very start of the play, the two young lovers were doomed or ill fated. The quotation 'star crossed lovers' refers to astrology, which is the 'art of judging reputed occult influence of stars, planets e.t.c. on human affairs.' This was very widely accepted when Shakespeare wrote his plays, and was linked to witchcraft that was a crime in the 16th and 17th centuries. ...read more.

Middle

He returns without delivering the note, and so Romeo does not know of the procedure. Nevertheless, even if Friar John managed to get the letter to Romeo in time, it still may have been too late, as Lord Capulet brought the marriage of Juliet and Paris forward by a day. This meant Juliet had to consume the potion prematurely, and there was less time for everything to materialise. This is another large example of fate. The last incident is right at the end of the play, when Romeo takes the poison. He takes it just before Juliet wakes up, and after seeing her sweethearts deceased body, takes her own life. If Juliet had risen a little earlier, the young couple would have been re-united. It could be said that the lovers' deaths were caused by the mistakes of both them, and the other characters in the play, and it was nothing to do with fate. The four characters that manipulate the tragic path of the pair, apart from Romeo and Juliet themselves, are the Nurse, Friar Lawrance, Tybalt and Mercutio. I will first discuss Mercutio's involvement, as one of Romeo's friends and as a supporter of the Montague household. It is Mercutio who persuades Romeo to attend the Capulet feast, where the whole tragedy begins. If he had not influenced Romeo to go to the masquerade, the two lovers would not have met, and their unfortunate deaths would have been evaded. ...read more.

Conclusion

After looking at the role of fate, and of the other characters, we may still be able to assume that the destiny of Romeo and Juliet was brought about only by themselves. With this in mind I will now take a brief look at both of them. Romeo, the son of Lord and Lady Montague was a great influence of the events leading up to the deaths of both him and his bride. He acts impulsively with Juliet and does not once stop to think of the consequences of his dramatic behaviour. He meets Juliet on the Sunday evening, and is married to her by the Monday afternoon. This is also shown when he retaliates to Mercutio's death by murdering Tybalt, and later by killing Paris. Possibly, if Romeo had thought more about his actions, the deaths of him and Juliet could have been averted. Juliet, the daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet was also a large influence on the events of the play. At the Capulet's feast, she was already engaged to Paris, and she was happy with him being her husband until Romeo arrived on the scene. If she had not lied to and deceived her parents, nor married Romeo so hastily, things would have been different. If she had not been so picky and had not fallen in love with Romeo so quickly, maybe the deaths of her and Romeo could have been averted. After considering all of the factors that could have altered the line of events, I can conclude that both the actions of others, and fate were both very big factors in the play of Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

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