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Who/What is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? Discuss with reference to the historical context and the ways in which Shakespeare presents his characters or events.

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Introduction

Reading (En2) and Literature Who/What is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? Discuss with reference to the historical context and the ways in which Shakespeare presents his characters or events. Was it just one person's fault, or a mixture? In this essay, I will include many different reasons as to why Romeo and Juliet die. I will explain in detail each point and put forward my own opinions. I will use quotes to back up each point and explain why the historical context is relevant. At the end, I will conclude with whom or what I think is the most important reason that contributes to the blame of their deaths. I will begin with different people who could be to blame. There are many possible people, so I shall start with the Nurse. In one respect, the Nurse is very good at her job, but in another, she is not. The Nurse loves Juliet very much, but abandons her responsibility of looking after her when she allows her to become involved with Romeo. Anyone can see that the relationship is going to cause trouble. The Nurse then furthers her involvement in matters by helping to arrange the wedding between Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

Middle

The Friar abused his position in the church; a secret marriage, arranging for Romeo to sleep with Juliet, and using the disguise of confession to talk to Juliet. This makes him untrustworthy. Regardless of what his intentions were, he caused a situation of secrecy and deceit. The plan which Friar Lawrence made was unreliable and later resulted in the deaths of the two. Someone else who could be said to be to blame is Tybalt. He contributed to most of the deaths in the play, including his own. He provoked Mercutio into fighting him, and then killed him. This then led to his death. Romeo was banished because of Tybalt's death, and because of the banishment, Romeo and Juliet become separated. This makes them both more desperate. This then results in their death, because they cannot stand to be apart. If he had not provoked Mercutio at the beginning, then Romeo and Juliet's death may have been prevented. It was due to Mercutio and Tybalt being from separate families, which leads onto the parents. The Capulet parents played a major part in the death of Juliet. They treated her quite badly, considering she was their daughter. Act 3, Scene 5 is the perfect scene for showing how Juliet's parents treated her. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think it was fate that made Peter ask Romeo to read the invitation for him, because if Peter had asked anyone else, Romeo would never have met Juliet. Also, Romeo always talks about the stars, "....deny you stars." Romeo was star-crossed throughout the play, but he denied to fate the power to do him any worse injury. Chance is used in this play to bring bad luck. I think that some events were just chance, for example the non-delivery of Friar Lawrence's letter. My overall opinion is that it is a mixture of fate and the "ancient grudge" between the two families that results in the youths deaths. These two ideas are introduced during the prologue; "A pair of star-cross'd lovers...And the continuance of their parents' rage." This shows that Shakespeare thought it important to introduce these two themes at the very beginning. I could not decide between the two ideas, because fate causes the feud originally, but Romeo and Juliet could not expose their relationship or feelings towards each other, because of the feud. If they had done so, then I believe that their deaths could have been avoided. I do not think however that the parents would have consented to their relationship; therefore, they probably would not have been happy. By Emma Holgate - 1 - ...read more.

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