Are Romeo And Juliet Responsible For Their Own Demise

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        Are Romeo and Juliet responsible for their own demise?

   William Shakespeare, regarded widely as the greatest author in history is the man behind the famous love tragedy ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which is widely represented as an ideal for young lovers. It is one of his greatest works during his prime. Written in the 16th century, the story contains the sheer power of love, fate, time, society, and family conflicts. Two passionate lovers from opposing families try to achieve the impossible by striving to unite amongst the harsh surroundings. However, they fail so miserably that they end up killing themselves but leaving a deep mark on both families so as to unite them. In this essay, I will consider the variety of reasons why the two ‘star-crossed lovers’ Romeo and Juliet died. For one to judge how responsible the two are or the role of parents and parent substitutes are in this tragedy, other important characters and issues must also be taken into account. I will divide this essay into three main parts: Romeo, Juliet and fate (and the ones they were not responsible for) because these three were equally responsible for the catastrophic disaster.

   First, I shall analyse Romeo. He is definitely responsible for his own demise and in fact several others. He is as guilty as a thief. Nevertheless, there is pure evidence of his gentleness and kind heart for e.g. he fulfils Paris’ wish by placing his corpse adjacent to Juliet’s even though Juliet is his wife. It is evident that he does not intend to commence any brawls between the Capulet directly for e.g. he constantly wards off the challenge from Tybalt. The first impression we get of Romeo is the depressed type due to a harsh rejection from Rosaline. However, the thing I found quite intriguing was that it could have easily been this: Romeo’s solitariness that plays a key part in the huge tragedy. Since Benvolio, his kin and a good friend sympathises him very much he insists upon ceasing his emotion. The first slip-up of Romeo is by gate crashing the Capulet’s ball even though he knows that it is a gormless thing to do and others might misinterpret his actions. Yet Romeo constantly show signs of concern; “We mean well in going with mask; But ‘tis not wit to go.” I believe Romeo should have been more uncompromising on not attending the ball but this may have been because he did want to go as Rosaline was invited too, though it does not mention anything about this. Romeo also has a presentiment that the aftermath of their actions will be atrocious. He says to Benvolio, “I fear, too early; for my mind misgives/ some consequence, yet hanging in the stars.” These lines also propose that the events of that night are destined to happen as suggested by the stars. This links to the prologue at the beginning of the play when Romeo and Juliet are referred as ‘star-crossed lovers’ which concludes that their destiny is written in the stars, and they do not have any control over it.

   A great turn of event happens during the ball. According to Benvolio’s desires of Romeo, Romeo spots a form of beauty beyond that of Rosaline. We also start seeing Romeo’s true nature as initially he is in love with Rosaline and is really depressed over their relationship. But it is not long before we discover the idea of being a lover appeals to him when he quickly forgets about Rosaline as he sets eyes on Juliet for the first time; “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it sight, For I ne’er saw a true beauty till this night.” He is stunned by Juliet’s beauty and comments on it by using colour comparisons, a white dove that stands out among the black crows; “So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.” Shakespeare dehumanises Juliet to a ‘dove’ so as to relate to her harmless peace nature since doves are harmless birds, ideally a sign of peace and so it is a mere contrast to the crows which are usually a reference to evil. Because there is a mutual bond between Romeo and Juliet, I believe Romeo still has done nothing wrong. It is only when Romeo perceives Juliet’s true identity via her wet nurse, “Is she a Capulet? O dear account, My life is my foe’s debt.”, that he really starts to fit in the responsible perpetrator category. I believe this misfortune (finding out that Juliet is an enemy) affects him mentally and pulls out his impulsive nature.

   On his way home Romeo’s impulsiveness starts to take actions when he realises that he is so much in love with Juliet that he must somehow go back and try to find her; “Can I go forward when my heart is here? Turn back, dull earth, and find thy centre out.” It might also be because he thinks she is dismayed by his identity and so he wants to find out. I believe he is so in love with her despite meeting her for the first time because his former love was a big failure; hence, he wants this one to work for he does not want to go through fire and water like in the last one. He decides to sneak in Juliet’s balcony. He luckily ends up at his desired place, meets Juliet and he swears undying love and devotion. He tells her that he will change his name if it displeases her, “Call me but love and I’ll be new baptised/ Henceforth I never will be Romeo.” He also says that his name is hateful to him because it makes him Juliet’s enemy, “My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself. Because it is an enemy to thee.” He further says that he would abandon the name if he had written it; “Had I written, I would tear the word”. The word ‘tear’ is used for personification (on ‘word’) to allow us to envision how Romeo will actually go about in accomplishing it as it is much easier to imagine a thing being torn apart. Romeo asserts Juliet that love enabled him to infiltrate into her balcony; “With love’s light wings did I o’erperch/ these walls” possibly to convince her that his action was solely due to love even though it is the first time they have met. ‘Love’ is personified to give a vivid picture. Romeo further ensures Juliet by preparing to risk death at the hands of Juliet’s kinsmen in order to see her though Juliet warns him that the place is, “death considering who thou art. If any of my kinsmen find thee here.” He replies that he would rather be killed by Juliet’s relations that postpone death which he will suffer without her love; “My life were better ended by their hate, Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.” He stresses that he is prepared to defy Juliet’s family, “thy kinsmen are not to stop me.” Romeo talks very confidently, which offers Juliet to have faith in him since she is only twelve. Romeo finally tells Juliet that he is prepared to overcome any obstacles with the intention of winning Juliet’s love. He uses a metaphor and says that if he were a ship’s pilot and Juliet was far away as the farthest sea, he would sail there in order to win her; “I am no pilot, yet wert thou as far/ As that far shore washed with the farthest sea, I should venture for such merchandise.” Note that Romeo is also trying to say that he will achieve an impossible since he is no pilot but will still somehow sail. Juliet is dehumanised into a ‘merchandise’ to emphasise her grand value (to Romeo). I think that overcoming of Romeo’s former love with a new one is shadowed up until now, thus the two exchange vows of love due to his desperate request. Additionally, I believe he begs her so that this new love is secured and in which he can fully commit himself to. I also think it is because he wants to erase Rosaline completely.

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This section is one of the most prominent one since the two are both asserted in one another’s love and both can now feel an affection and burn with passion towards one another to help them overcome any hindrance.

   Since they are both forbidden to have affection nor any intimate relation for each other due to their opposing families, I believe Romeo has thought about it and came to the conclusion that since they cannot hide their love for a long time, it is best to marry Juliet away and as a result he is very eager. He ...

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