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Who would you say is the most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet coursework Who would you say is the most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? "Two households both alike in dignity, In fair Verona (where we lay our scene), From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parent's strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, And the continuance of their parent's rage, Which but their children's end nought could remove." This is the famous, tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet that everyone knows and loves. But who is to blame for the young lover's untimely death? Their parents? The friar? The Prince? This is the purpose of my essay, and I believe that the responsibility of their deaths is split between everyone in this play, as each of their actions have dramatic consequences on the outcome of Romeo and Juliet. Firstly, I think Lord and Lady Capulet are partly to blame for the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet. This is because they were the head of the Capulet household and had the power and authority to stop the feud years ago. They did nothing to discourage, or encourage their family and servants from continuing the feud, which no one can remember why it started. The bitter rivalry between the two families forces Romeo and Juliet to be secretive. Although the Capulets love their only child very much, they never really listened to Juliet's wishes or opinions. If they had of paid more attention to what was going on in their daughter's life and listened to her more, then maybe she wouldn't of deceived her parents by marrying Romeo behind their backs and confiding all her feelings, wishes etc. with her beloved nurse. Capulet's attitude as a father towards Juliet at the beginning of the play is that of love and protectiveness. ...read more.

Middle

I think Mercutio is responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because, like Tybalt, he had a love for fights. His attitude towards the quarrels and fights that happened between the two families did not help, as he saw the feud as a game and did not take it seriously. In the final fight with Tybalt, he is still treating the feud as a game and provokes Tybalt to fight- "And but one word...word and a blow". His attitude does not change and he is furious when Romeo refuses to fight, so fights Tybalt himself. In his final fight, Mercutio is hurt under Romeo's arm. He blames Romeo for his death "why the devil you come between us, I was hurt under your arm". He curses both the families with "A plague upon your houses". This fits in with social context, as Elizabethans were very superstitious and believed in curses, witchcraft etc. Through his foolish behaviour and lack of sense, leads him to his death and to Romeo's banishment, and his death. Romeo is the son of Lord and Lady Montague. I think he is responsible for his own death and Juliet's because throughout the play he acts to hastily and irrational. At the beginning of the play, Romeo is madly in love with Rosaline, and says he will love no one else, "out of her favour where I am in love". He seems totally infatuated with Rosaline and not actually in love with her. This could be the same thing with Juliet; his not in love with her, but infatuated by her beauty etc. Later in the play, Mercutio convinces Romeo to go to the Capulet's party. Romeo is wary of going to the party and tells himself that if he sees someone more beautiful than Rosaline then he shall die- "when the devout religion...first the world begun" tells us this. This is Romeo foreshadowing what is going to happen at the party, and knows that by going, it will end with his untimely death, "I fear too early...direct my sail". ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the play, Romeo, Juliet and the friar are all foreshadowing the events that are going to happen, the deaths etc. It seems that all the things the lovers try; they are doomed to death from each irrational action they take. There are many themes in Romeo and Juliet; love, conflict, time, life and death. Each theme connects to the other, making the play run smoothly. Firstly, there is the theme of love and Romeo's capability to fall in out of love so easily. The two lovers meeting and all their actions throughout the play trying to be together and killing themselves for their love for one another. Conflict in the play is constant, right up until the deaths of Romeo and Juliet between the two warring families. Another important theme in Romeo and Juliet is power as some people in the play have the power to tell others what to do i.e. the Prince, Capulet etc. it is the Prince who decides to live and die, e.g. banishes Romeo for killing Tybalt, Capulet expects his wife, daughter and servant to obey his every word. Friar Lawrence also has some power as in the time that the play was written, the church was very important. In conclusion, I don't think the responsibility of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet can be pinned on one person. The responsibility is shared somewhat equally throughout the play between all characters and fate. Each character contributed to the final outcome and although some of the characters actions were intended to help the lovers, i.e. the friar, they had drastic consequences, leading to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. I think the play Romeo and Juliet is still enjoyed by a modern day audience because it has all the elements of a good play/film: love, conflict, violence, death etc. All of these points keep a modern audience gripped until the very end of the play. Also, it is a famous tragic love story, that people all over have heard of and come to love. ...read more.

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