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Who is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Ben Benmore 10C Who is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? In a Shakespearean tragedy, there is usually more than one cause for the death of a character or characters. Therefore, in Romeo and Juliet there is more than one possible being to blame for their deaths. Capulet and Montague, Tybalt, Mercutio, Benvolio, Friar Lawrence, the Nurse, fate/fortune and Romeo and Juliet can all have played a part in being responsible for the tragedy. Shakespeare deliberately sets up a context of conflict and oppositions so that tragedy is inevitable. At the beginning, there is conflict between two families, the Capulet's and the Montague's, which has carried on for years, "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny" (Prologue, 3). This shows the context of conflict and oppositions in a long-standing hatred between the two families that has now erupted into new violence: feuds arising, fights starting, so that tragedy is now inevitable through these clashes. Fate and Fortune was very prominent during the sixteenth century. It should take a large part of the blame as it believes they are already doomed from the very start. At the start, the opening sonnet says that Romeo and Juliet are destined to die, "A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life" (Prologue, 5-6). This shows that their destiny was written in the stars, fate will take its toll and death is inevitable. There are many references throughout to fate and fortune, although Romeo refers to them the most, through a fixated idea that the stars control everything. ...read more.

Middle

If they listened more to her opinions, they may not have acted so harshly towards her disobedience and tried forcing her to marry Paris. The rejection towards his proposal brought out an angry streak and states that "my fingers itch" (Act 3, Scene 5, 164) implying that he is so angry he wants to hit her. Therefore, the families played a part in the deaths; the Capulet's did not really know their daughter as well as they should as she was mainly brought up by the Nurse and should have paid more attention to her opinions and wishes. The Montague's should have been more understanding although both families could have stopped the feud that meant everything had to happen in secret. Friar Lawrence can also be blamed largely for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. He was their confessor, so also gave them advice and could have persuaded but wasn't allowed to tell anybody about what he had heard although he also wanted to help them on a personal level. "Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!" (Act 2, Scene 3, 65), suggesting that he has previously known about Romeo's life and is surprised over the recent changes that have taken place. The Friar was not keen on marrying them because he knew of the very recent relationship with Rosaline, he only agrees when acting upon his good interests though, "This alliance may so happy prove to turn your household's rancour to pure love" (Act 2, Scene 3, 91-92). ...read more.

Conclusion

When Romeo is banished and Lord Capulet hastens the marriage between Juliet and Paris, the Nurse turns her back on Juliet; partly due to pressure from her parents. "Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!" (Act 3, Scene 5, 236), Juliet thinks it must be a worst sin for her to break her vows than the Nurse saying bad things about her husband and declares to never share her feelings with the Nurse from then on. It could also be argued that she did not know any better anyway as she was brought up in lower class so poorly educated. In conclusion, there are a number of people to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Fate, Romeo and Juliet themselves, Capulet and Montague, Friar Lawrence, Tybalt, Mercutio, Benvolio and the Nurse are all jointly responsible for the tragedy. In my opinion, I consider fate to be most to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. I do not think that the tragedy was the cause of any person or one individual even though there are reasons against people to suggest otherwise. In the prologue, it states that Romeo and Juliet will die and this is before any person has taken any action that could cause the death. I believe that it was fate that they met, fell in love and continued the secret relationship and marriage. I also think that it was down to bad luck that the letter that could have saved them both did, and could not, arrive in time. Therefore, fate is the most to blame for the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

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