Examine the Role of Fate and Destiny in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

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Examine the Role of Fate and Destiny in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

        In William Shakespeare’s Tragic play Romeo and Juliet the role of fate and destiny is not only significant but in many ways recurring.

        In 16th Century England, under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, fate and destiny was thought to be fact, everything was ‘written in the stars’ much like today’s horoscopes. This was an era that believed in fairies, where superstition was, in many ways, stronger than fact.

        Therefore in the prologue when it states ‘A pair of star-crossed lovers’, the audience would have been drawn to the play, then as it continues to say that they ‘take their lives’ the audience would have been waiting for the story to pan out, knowing that destiny would bring a pair together before fate tears them apart.

        The another mention of fate and destiny comes at the Capulet’s feast when Romeo says “My mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars.’ Suggesting Romeo can tell what is going to happen. As if it was in the air almost. Romeo is saying he can tell something bad or life changing is going to happen. This is said just before he meets Juliet, leaving Shakespeare showing his audience that Romeo believes in fate. However this belief is then questioned again when later in the play Romeo says, “Then I defy you stars!” With such a religious, superstitious crowd this phrase would have caused shock, perhaps even outrage, because nobody can ‘defy the stars’ everything is written in the stars and comes true.

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        With astrology being a key part of Elizabethan age culture Shakespeare uses this throughout to help the crowd relate to the characters in the play. Some cases of this are when Romeo refers to “the yoke of unsuspicious stars” at the end of the play and before Capulet feast when Romeo says “I fear, too early; for my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars”.

        This last quote is possibly one of the most important relating to fate and destiny in the play. What happens after this is Romeo meets and falls for Juliet and the story told ...

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