• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11

Who or What Caused the Deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

Extracts from this document...


WHO OR WHAT CAUSED THE DEATHS OF ROMEO AND JULIET? The catastrophic tragedy, 'Romeo and Juliet' written by Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare tells the story of two ill-fated teenagers living in the hostile city of Verona although the language used reminds us of seventeenth century England. Born as one another's foe, the two hapless strangers meet and instantly fall in love igniting a chain of events ultimately leading to calamity. Romeo and Juliet are born to families who have been feuding with each other for many years. There are many reasons which amount to cause the melancholy conclusion but some are more responsible that the others. It is perceptible that fate, puerile passion and the ferocious feud between the Montague and the Capulet families are hugely to blame for the death of the adolescent couple but there are some less apparent factors, which are equally to blame. 'Romeo and Juliet' is as play filled with characters from many different classes that made up contemporary society. These range from servants to nobles and even a prince. In order to identify social class and also to establish the individuality of each character, the playwright varies the language they use. The complexity of the words and the imagery employed will also indicate role, class, intelligence, education and status. Romeo, a Montague, is an amorously apt young man desperately in love with a lady called Rosaline to whom he has never met, until he meets Juliet and finds himself longing for her affection. His parents are very much active in the feud and do not converse or look after their son. Benvolio, Romeo's best friend is an intense and insightful young man, whose name meaning 'good will' indicates his pacifying role. Romeo's other friend Mercutio is in complete contrast to Benvolio, he is aggressive and his belligerence, which is shown in both his dialogue and his action, incites a swordfight, which has a critical and disastrous consequence affecting every character in the play. ...read more.


By line sixty, Tybalt has noticed Romeo and immediately tries to concoct a war, "Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe: A villain that is hither come in spite, To scorn at or solemnity this night." Tybalt uses the word, "Foe". It is obvious that Tybalt sees Romeo as his enemy despite the Prince's words of warning. He also call Romeo a, "Villain". This emphasises the point of Tybalt's angry and aggressive temperament. Tybalt's anger is clear and he wishes to seek revenge. Tybalt is not content with Verona and the two feuding families being at peace. He tries to kill Romeo but instead kills Mercutio. Tybalt is enraged further when his uncle and leader of the household ignores this fact and wishes to end the civil brawl which tears and divides Verona. Upon meeting one another, both Romeo and Juliet immediately fall in love. Romeo forgets about his love for Rosaline and now seems infatuated by Juliet. Unaware to whom he is talking to, Romeo professes, "If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this, My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss." Romeo's speech is written as a sonnet using rhyme. I think Shakespeare uses this technique in order to reveal the awkwardness and irresistibility of the situation. This is far from the petrachan love we saw earlier. This type of love is in complete contrast of his love with Rosaline as he has actually spoken to his beloved. Romeo's love can be questioned as he has fallen in and out of love very easily. Juliet's immediate response to Romeo's approach, shares his image and matches the four rhyming lines of his quatrain, "Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this, For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss." ...read more.


It may have been bad luck. Fortune is fickle so it may be that no one is to blame, only a series of accidents. This can be supported by the accidental meeting of Peter carrying the Capulet invitation list; the non-delivery of the Friar's letter to Romeo and Mercutio's unfortunate death. Also, adolescence and young love can be to blame. It may be that the folly of Romeo and Juliet in their youthful haste and passion is at fault. This leaves the audience wondering, is adolescent love at first sight the cause of tragedy? The deaths may have been caused by the enmity of the Montague and the Capulet's. The two families struggle for power in Verona. Their 'ancient grudge' breaks 'to new mutiny' at the start of the play. A stiff-necked code of humour makes the young men spring to violent, bloody action. Tybalt feels that the 'honour of my kin' has been insulted by Romeo's presence at the Capulet banquet. Romeo is provoked into 'fire-eyed fury' by the death of Mercutio. He embraces the revenge code that governs relationships between the two rival factions of the Verona Mafiosi. Romeo's character evolves from a friendly, shy and helpful young man to a more vicious sadistic killer who murders more than once out of revenge and anger. His evolution sparks many events to spiral out of human control leaving it up to fate to decide on the outcome. Romeo clearly changes upon meeting the second love of his life. Although he tries to be a good citizen, his lust for Juliet's lips will allow him to do anything to get what he wants. Even murder. It is apparent that the two main factors in the death of the young couple, Romeo and Juliet are the feud and fate. They helped intricate the tragedy and divide and then reunite the fair city of Verona. The feud broke up the families; fate brought them back together but at a cost. Peace comes at the expense of woe in the shape of Juliet and her Romeo. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. Romeo And Juliet - The feud between the Montague and Capulet families and the ...

    Juliet also acts hastily during the play. In Act One Scene Three Juliet and her mother are talking about marriage. Juliet says that she has never thought about getting married and does not want to rush into anything. In answer to Lady Capulets question Juliet quotes, "It is an honour that I dream not of."

  2. Romeo and Juliet - Romeo's guilt for the deaths in the play.

    Before drinking the potion Romeo expresses that he's drinking the potion so that he can rest in the tomb with Juliet in death by saying, "Here's to my love! O true apothecary!/Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die."(Lines119-120Act5Scene3)

  1. The concept of fate - Romeo and Juliet

    Capulet. My sword, I say! Old Montague is come And flourishes his blade in spite of me. Montague. Thou villain Capulet! - Hold me not, let me go. (I, i, 75-77) And so their hate continues to exist. Even after Tybalt is dead, and Mercutio lies beside him.

  2. Romeo and Juliet consists of many themes such as family, death, pain and loyalty ...

    love you had the friendship love between Benvolio, Mercutio and Romeo, there was also the type of love between Romeo and his servant Balthazar for Balthazar told Romeo the news of his loves death. Then there was the sexual passionate love between Romeo and Juliet and the infatuation between Romeo

  1. Are Romeo and Juliet responsible for their own deaths?

    If Friar Lawrence had not come up with such a cunning plan, then the tragedy may well have been avoided. Friar Lawrence's failure relies greatly on time. Now time is another major notion contributing to the tragedy. The play seems to go very fast, ideas are often repeated and the rushed time everything happens in is of significance.

  2. Analyse the character of Tybalt and explore his role in the play 'Romeo and ...

    Tybalt has proved himself to be a man of his word by following through with his threat. We find this out when Benvolio tells Mercutio; 'Tybalt, kinsman to old Capulet, Hath sent a letter to his father's house.' Since Romeo intruded in on the ball Tybalt, a member of the

  1. How Does Shakespeare Present The Character Of Romeo Montague?

    In the last scene for Romeo, Shakespeare uses dramatic techniques such as strong metaphorical phrases to represent everything that Romeo's persona contains. Romeo expresses deep love for Juliet and speaks of her as if he is longing for her so much, that it gave him severe pain.

  2. Discuss the different types of love shown in romeo and juliet.

    Mercutio is one of the funniest and most likeable character in the whole play. Mercutio is always bursting with energy and is always making jokes and teasing people. A lot of what Mercutio says are based on crazy ideas and stories and he uses plenty of wordplay and puns.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work