Destiny, Chance & Fortune in Romeo and Juliet

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        The ideas of destiny, chance and fortune are very strong in the play Romeo and Juliet. Discuss how Shakespeare has employed these by making reference to the play.

The drama of Romeo and Juliet is a tragic, love story themed play by William Shakespeare. Set in Verona, Italy during the Renaissance, the story traces the self destructive path of two ‘star crossed’ young lovers, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. Romeo and Juliet are young teenagers who fall deeply in love but whose families are bitter enemies. Yet, regardless of the feud between their families, they marry in secret. Despite making every effort to conceal their actions, the story ends in tragedy with Romeo and Juliet killing themselves and ironically, the feuding families reconciling. There is an underlying theme in the play that deeper forces are at work and that fate is causing the tragedy. It is fate that steers Romeo and Juliet to the tragedy of their deaths. Shakespeare constructs a clear path for us to follow, as omniscient spectators, to watch as fate manifests itself through a tightly knit web of chance events. The play is interwoven with language and images which suggest that fate and destiny are controlling the events that lead to the lovers’ deaths. On another level, we see fate through the development of some of the characters who believe in the influence of something outside of themselves.

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        Fate can be observed through a series of unfortunate circumstances which occur throughout the play. During Act 1, Scene 2, where the Capulet’s are organising a feast, it is by chance that when one of their servants, Peter, could not read the invitation list that he asks Romeo to read it aloud. Romeo notices Rosaline’s name and this inspires him to attend the Capulet feast, where he meets Juliet and falls in love with her. It is also chance that places Juliet on the balcony and Romeo below it at the same time during Act 2, Scene 2, when Juliet ...

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