'Romeo and Juliet are referred to as ‘star crossed lovers.” Fate may not be the only reason they died – others may be to blame as well.' Discuss.

Authors Avatar
Name: Martyn Clarke

Date: 21/11/01

Centre Number: 20478

Romeo and Juliet are referred to as 'star crossed lovers." Fate may not be the only reason they died - others may be to blame as well.

William Shakespeare was born on 23rd April in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare as he was better known was England's greatest poet and play writer of all time. He started play writing in 1595 and produced 38 plays in his lifetime. These include titles such as Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Nights Dream. However this essay is focusing on the play of Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet was one of the earliest plays produced by Shakespeare. It is the tale of a love affair between two children in rival families the Capulets and the Montagues. The two children Romeo (a Montague) and Juliet (a Capulet) met at a Capulet ball and instantly fall in love. They secretly marry in Friar Laurence's cell but their relationship is cut short when Romeo kills Tybalt in revenge for him killing his friend Mercutio. For this Romeo is banished from the streets of Verona to Manuta by the Prince Escalus. Meanwhile the Capulets have arranged for Juliet to marry Paris. However Juliet refuses to marry him and in a desperate attempt to prevent it going ahead she drinks a potion, which makes her 'dead' for 24 hours. When Romeo hears of her 'death' he rushes back to Verona to see her. When he sees her in the vault he kills himself in a bid to join her in heaven. Then when Juliet wakes up and sees Romeo dead she stabs herself with a knife so they can be joined together again.

Tragedy is a main factor in the story of Romeo and Juliet. Many problems occur during the play and it seems to the audience that the problems are easy to overcome. However the characters do not seem able to realise the simplicity of this. This leads the audience to think, 'if only...' This sort of situation is called dramatic irony.

During the Elizabethan times marriage was arranged by the father of the house. In this play Lord Capulet arranges for Juliet to marry Paris. As Juliet refuses to marry him Capulet threatens to throw her out. This was very common during this time. Capulet's intent is shown here,

"Graze where you will, you

shall not house with me."

With parental permission boys were allowed to marry at 14 and girls at 12. However many people considered this too young. This can be related to Romeo and Juliet. They were both really young and had never experienced true love before. They were ready to rush into things when they should have stopped and thought about the consequences.

Fate is mentioned very often throughout the course of the play. It was a major factor in the lives of Romeo and Juliet and brought them together. It appears as early as the prologue. It says that their love is 'death marked' and they have no control over what happens. This quote backs up what I have just said,

"A pair of star-crossed lovers take their loves."

It is necessary to consider fate, as this is another main factor in the play. There are many things that can be used to describe fate. However I feel that the best definition of fate is that it is a power, which is supposed to settle how things will happen ahead of time.

Many people believed in fate during the Elizabethan times and it has a major effect on the story of Romeo and Juliet. Many people believe that the death of Romeo and Juliet was down to fate. However there are many other factors which could have had and effect on their tragic deaths. These include Friar Laurence, the feud between the Montague and Capulet families and the youthful passion between the two lovers. But who is really to blame?

Firstly I will look at their youthful passion. Romeo and Juliet were 14 and 13 respectively. In many peoples opinion this was considered too young to get married. Even Capulet felt that Juliet was not ready. In response to Paris asking for Juliet's hand in marriage Capulet quotes,

"My child is yet a stranger in the world,

She hath no seen the change of fourteen years,

Let two more summers wither in their pride,

Ere we many think her ripe to be a bride."

He is saying that Juliet has not experienced really love and that she needs two more years until she is ready for marriage. In the quote he uses a metaphor. The metaphor uses a fruit. Shakespeare's use of metaphor has a powerful affect on the audience. He uses it to say that Juliet needs to 'ripen' like a fruit until she is ready. Capulet uses this as a sexual reference in order to emphasise her young age. Shakespeare is effective in reminding the audience of Juliet's innocence. This is a very clever way of writing used by Shakespeare.

Neither Romeo nor Juliet had really experienced true love before. However they were prepared to rush into marriage even though they knew what problems it could cause. This quote shows how they are prepared to rush into the marriage,

JULIET: "What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?"

ROMEO: "Th' exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine."

JULIET: I gave thee mine before thou didst request it;

Would it were to given again."

This quote tells me that they are ready to get married although they have only just met. It is love at first sight and the idea of getting married at such a young age raises doubt in the readers mind.

However later on in the passage we can see that Juliet is acting in a more mature manner in contrast to her earlier speech. This quote describes her feelings on their agreement,

"I have no joy of this contract tonight,
Join now!

It is too unadvised, too sudden: too like lightening."

It tells me that Juliet feels that they are rushing into the marriage. She wants to get to know him better. This shows how the attitude and behaviour of teenagers change so rapidly.

Romeo was a very gentle and loving man. Unlike the majority he was not interested in fighting but in love. Here are some of Romeo's thoughts,

"Alas that love, whose view is muffled still,

should without eyes she pathways to his will.

Where shall we dine?

O me, what ...

This is a preview of the whole essay