"Romeo and Juliet" - the theme of fate and destiny.

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Romeo And Juliet

                               By Michaela Glynn

Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy is probably the tale of “Romeo and Juliet”. The immortal tale of two ‘star-cross’d lovers’ destined to an early demise, originated in Italian folklore.

   Shakespeare’s prologue is possibly the most insightful piece of the play regarding their death and the explanation of it. The “ancient grudge” immediately sets the ominous tone of the play. This allows the audience to understand that their “death” is the only way their “parents strife” could end:

“But their children end nought could remove”.

The recurring theme of fate and destiny, which frequents many Shakespeare’s plays, is seen also in the prologue. Shakespeare introduces Romeo and Juliet through the prologue as “star cross’d lovers” implying they are ill fated. The description of their love as “death marked” assures the reader of the plays tragic genre and the inevitability of their deaths.

    The prologue informs the audience of the “ancient grudge” between the Montague’s and Capulet’s and prepares them for the eventual bloodshed.  

Although we never learn why there was a “grudge” it seemed to have become a habit for the families to hate one another. Romeo and Juliet suppress their love in order to keep it from their families, this is all due to the ‘ancient grudge’. Shakespeare suggests that without the feud, Romeo and Juliet would not have had such a tragic demise:

‘Two households, both alike in dignity’.

Without the feuds existence, Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have to “bury their parents strife”. The feud acts, as the most of fateful reasons behind their tragic deaths, the reason Juliet wanted to run away with Romeo is that she was in love with a ‘loathed enemy’. They couldn’t ‘breath such vows as lovers use to swear’ if they stayed in ‘fair Verona’, which leads to their brief separation.

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The separation of Romeo and Juliet, leads to the plot twist where Juliet drinks the ‘distilling liquor’ to appear in death. While Romeo was intended to wake her, a twist of fate means he doesn’t get the letter and does not know that the death is faked. The plan to run away from the feud between their parents wasn’t free from danger, on the contrary it was the only way they could be together and escape the ‘grudge’. The ‘ancient grudge’ is very important to the play because they died in order to ‘bury’ the ‘grudge’.


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