The concept of fate functions as a central theme in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In the opening prologue of the play, the Chorus informs the audience that Romeo and Juliet are “Star ½ cross’d Lovers” (Prologue l.6). In other words, the Chorus states that Romeo and Juliet are governed by fate, a force often linked to the movements of the stars. Fate manifests itself in all the events surrounding the young lovers: the ancient and inexplicable feud between their families, the catastrophic series of mishaps which ruin Friar Lawrence’s plans, and the tragic timing of Romeo’s suicide and Juliet’s awakening. The structure of the play itself rests upon the fate from which the two lovers cannot escape.
The play opens with a brawl which erupts between servants of the Montague and Capulet families. This initial quarrel illustrates that the “ancient Grudge” between the two families runs so deep that it extends to the servants (Prologue l. 3). Upon their first encounter, Romeo and Juliet remain ignorant to the fact that they are the children of feuding families. Actually, the lovers meet by coincidence. Romeo agrees to attend the Capulet ball because he hopes to see Rosaline, and he consistently claims that no other woman can impress him. On the other hand, Juliet attends the ball to meet Count Paris and to see if she can love him. Before entering the ball, Romeo experiences a sense of dread. He declares, “my mind misgives / Some consequence yet hanging in the stars / Shall bitterly begin his fearful Date / With this Night’s Revels, and expire the Term / Of a despised life closed in my Breast / By some vile Forfeit of untimely Death” (I, iv, ll.106-110).
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During the evening, Romeo encounters Juliet, and the two become enamored with each other. Upon Romeo’s departure, Juliet murmurs to herself, “If he be married, / My Grave is like to be my Wedding Bed” (I, iv, ll. 249-250). Although Romeo is unmarried, Juliet is unaware of the fact that he is a Montague. For Juliet, loving a Montague may be a more serious crime than loving a married man. As the play continues, the omens of the two lovers prove disastrously true. The morning following the ball, Romeo visits Friar Lawrence to tell of his engagement to Juliet and to ask for the friar’s advice. The friar is at first sceptical of Romeo’s infatuation with Juliet, but then he realizes that the love between Romeo and Juliet presents an opportunity to end the quarrel between the two families (II, ii, ll.91-92). He agrees to secretly marry them that afternoon. The well-intentioned friar does not realize that by agreeing to assist the young lovers, he has sealed their fate.
However, during the previous evening, Tybalt recognized the voice of Romeo, a Montague, and became enraged. Although Lord Capulet refused to allow bloodshed that night, Tybalt swore that he would have revenge for the insult. He hissed, “I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, / Now seeming Sweet, convert to bitterest gall” (I, iv, ll. 206-207). Tybalt’s words soon prove true. When Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel, Romeo refuses because Tybalt is now his cousin. Mercutio is embarrassed by his friend’s cowardice and battles with Tybalt. Romeo tries to intervene in their battle, and his intervention provides Tybalt an opportunity to stab Mercutio. Infuriated by Mercutio’s death, Romeo abandons his passive temperament and declares, “Away to Heaven, respective Lenity, / And Fire end Fury be my Conduct now” (III, i, ll.130-131). Ultimately, Tybalt is slain at Romeo’s hand.
After murdering his cousin, Romeo cries, “O I am Fortune’s Fool” (III, i, l.143). Indeed, Romeo is fortune’s fool, for if he had controlled his fiery temper and acted reasonably, he would not have jeopardized his chance for happiness with Juliet. The death of Tybalt at Romeo’s hand further complicates the situation between the two lovers. Romeo is exiled to Mantua, and Juliet is devastated because her husband is banished. However, Lord and Lady Capulet believe that their daughter’s sorrow is for her cousin’s death. To end Juliet’s woe, they arrange for her to be married to Paris immediately. When Friar Lawrence hears of these plans, he gives Juliet a potion which will give her the appearance of death. This way, she will avoid adultery and will awaken two days later to be united with her lover in Mantua. Friar Lawrence writes a letter that explains the situation to Romeo.
The letter is then given to Friar John, another Franciscan, to deliver to Romeo. However, Friar John is quarantined along his way to Mantua, so Romeo never receives his letter. Instead, Romeo is informed that his wife is dead. This horrible mishap propels Romeo to take his own life. Tragedy continues to unfold when Romeo firmly decides to commit suicide. He acts with a decisiveness and a swiftness which are uncharacteristic of him. With unfaltering resolution, Romeo purchases a dram of poison and arrives at the Capulet tomb. There, he slays Paris, and claims that both of their fates were “writ ½in swore Misfortune’s Book” (V, iii, l.83). In Juliet’s tomb, Romeo states that “here / Will I set up my Everlasting Rest / And shake the Yoke of inauspicious Stars” (V, iii, ll.111-113). Romeo then swallows the poison and dies next to his beloved. Moments later, Juliet awakens to discover that her husband is dead, and furthermore, his lips are still warm.
Distraught, she stabs herself through the heart. Had Romeo not acted with such sudden certainty, he would have lived to watch his wife awaken. However, fate had determined that neither of the lovers would obtain happiness during their lifetime. Both Romeo and Juliet are controlled by an unalterable set of tragic events. In the opening prologue of Romeo and Juliet, the Chorus warns the audience that the lovers’ brief romance ends with tragedy. The age-old feud between their two families prevents Romeo and Juliet from announcing their love publicly. Friar Lawrence agrees to marry them secretly, for he feels that their marriage would unite the quarreling families. However, the death of Romeo and Juliet is what ultimately ends the grudge. From this point, a series of tragic mishaps prevent the lovers from experiencing happiness. The death of Tybalt, the exile of Romeo, and the unread letter propel the tragic plot forward. Fate, from the beginning, had resolved that the story of Romeo and Juliet would culminate in heartbreak.
Fate 1: The Prologue points out that Romeo and Juliet have fate against them. It says that their love is “death-marked,” and they have no control over what happens. It is their misfortune that leads to the sorrowful and tragic ending of the play. Fate 2: Peter runs into Romeo and Benvolio on the street. It is this encounter that enables Romeo to read the list of names of guests for the Capulet feast. Had Romeo not run into Peter, he would have never gone to the feast, and hence, never even met Juliet. It is fate that makes this encounter possible. Fate 3: Before Romeo enters the house of the Capulets, he speaks about an unknown danger “hanging in the stars.” This notion of events expected to occur being written in the stars explains how life is predetermined by fate. Romeo senses that something bad may occur, based on his fate.
Fate 4: Here, the friar warns Romeo that people who act impulsively often have very negative and destructive consequences. This warning reminds the audience that Romeo’s fate is already predetermined, and that there will, in fact, be negative consequences to his actions. Fate 5: Mercutio yells out in anger. These words are a reminder to the tragedy that is fated to occur. Romeo and Juliet have very little to do with what happens to them at the end of the play. It is sheer misfortune and fate that lead to the tragic ending. Fate 6: Romeo himself realizes that fate has much to do with the events that have taken place. He knows that something else is fated to occur, something that will end the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues.
Fate 7: Juliet tells Romeo of her vision of him dead at the bottom of a tomb. This is foreshadowing the already destined event these two lovers will soon face – death. Fate 8: Romeo has a dream that Juliet finds him dead. This is foreshadowing the already destined event these two lovers will soon face – death. This is yet another example where fate has a role in the lives of Romeo and Juliet; it is something that they cannot control. Fate 9: Romeo learns that Juliet is dead. He says that he defies fate, by saying that he defies what is written in the stars. He refuses to accept that Juliet is dead. What Romeo does not realize is that he has no control over his destiny. No matter how angry or motivated he is to change what is written in the stars, he cannot. It is already predetermined.
Fate 10: Friar John explains to Friar Laurence that he never made it to Mantua to give the letter to Romeo. Because Romeo never receives this letter, he buys poison with the intention to kill himself upon seeing her dead in her tomb. It is fate that did not allow the friar to reach Romeo in Mantua. And thus, it is also fate that Romeo buys the poison and eventually kills himself by Juliet’s side. Fate 11: Juliet wakes up from the sleeping potion and asks the friar where Romeo is. The friar responds by saying that some higher power has changed its original plans. This higher power is what people have no control over – fate. Through fate, the friar does not make it to Juliet’s tomb on time. Romeo kills himself before the friar can tell him that Juliet is not really dead. This is not the friar’s fault. Rather, it is fate that he did not get there on time.
“Two households, both alike in dignity, / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, / From ancient grudge brakes to new mutiny, / Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. / From forth the fatal lions of these foes / A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life; / Whose misadventured piteous overthrows / Doth with their death bury their parent’s strife. / The fearful passage of their death-marked love, / And the continuance of their parent’s rage, / Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove…” -The Prologue, Romeo and Juliet (by William Shakespeare). Fate plays a major role in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The prologue describes Romeo’s and Juliet’s fate, which we see come up many times later on in the play. Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet unwittingly realize they cannot exist in such a reality and that a tragic fate awaits them.
The two families, the Montagues and the Capulets continue being rivals all the way to the end of the play until the inevitable event takes its place. In the play, there are many pieces of evidence that further present the prologue’s sad foretold reality. Even as early as the first scene of the play, we already see some evidence to back up the prologue. “[Romeo]…And makes himself and artificial night.” (I, I, 38) This passage can be seen as the foreshadowing of Romeo’s suicide. Another line said by Montague, which is “Unless good council may the cause remove” (I, I, 140), also is evidence of Romeo’s tragedy. In the first act, Romeo is introduced. His great sadness is shown right away and the theme of love is seen as well. Through Romeo’s mellow mood we see how desperate he is for love. Romeo is in love with Juliet, which is the daughter of an enemy to the house of Montagues.
Fate is definitely involved here, and this innocent love is the first step in a chain of events that lead to the fate driven tragedy. In the same scene, Tybalt is infuriated with Romeo. He is ready to kill him and believes that Romeo is his sworn enemy. Tybalt. This, by his voice, should be a Montague Fetch me my rapier, boy. What, dares the slave Come hither, covered with an antic face, To fleer and scorn at our solemnity? Now, by the stock and honour of my kin, To strike him dead I hold not a sin. (I, vi, lines 54-59) And to even worsen the situation, Tybalt, says the following to his father, in the intent to show that he is not joking and that he is going to try and kill Romeo: “I will withdraw; but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet; convert to bitterest gall.” (I, vi, lines 91-92) The two families’ rage here is shown and also fate takes its slow course and death is already foreshadowed. It is very important to emphasize at this point that the love between Romeo and Juliet cannot exist because of the rage between the two families.
Fate is already taking its place. And this particular event, the first acquaintance between Romeo and Juliet, has started the chain of tragic events that shall eventually bring peace to the streets of Verona. Here is another passage that underlines the effect of Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths: “For this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households’ rancour to pure love.” Many times there are small reminders between the lines, of the tragic fate that the play is heading towards. Such one is this: “Friar. These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which, as they kiss, consume.” (II, vii, lines 9-11) This line tells of sad reality and its consequences. As tough as reality might be, it gets even worse for Juliet and her Romeo. She has to marry Parris because her father wants her to do so.
She now has to hide her love and secretly meet Romeo, so that no man in Verona shall know of their forbidden love. Her fate is sealed, as it now seems. But stars have different intents with Romeo and Juliet. As Juliet is in despair, she confronts Friar Lawrence. They talk of how they shall not allow Juliet to marry Parris. Juliet, in a state of madness, talks of horrible things, and convinces the Friar that she shall go to any means in order to avoid being with Parris. Going back on the events, fate has played its role many times. The quarrel between Tybalt and Mercutio is the aftermath of Romeo’s appearance at the Capulet’s Ball. When Mercutio is slain by Tybalt, Romeo seeks revenge, and in the term, slays Tybalt. The tragic cycle of events is leaving Romeo no choice but to flee Verona and live in the shadows until his name is forgotten and he is able to go back.
Much is happening while he is gone, and in the midst of all the chaos, Juliet is in great depression, which brings us back to her talk with the Friar. Juliet’s father is a large disappointment, and his practical view of Juliet’s marriage consumes him and pushes his actions to extreme limits. He is so outraged at Juliet for not wanting to marry Parris, he holds himself no more and speaks his true thoughts. Capulet. I tell thee what – get thee to Church on Thursday Or never after look me in the face. Speak not, reply not, do not answer me! My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce though we blest That God has lent us but this only child; But now I see this one is one too much, And that we have a curse in having her Out on her, hilding! (III, vi, lines 162-169)
Little does he know, that he is totally wrong. God ( representing fate), send Juliet to stop the ageless war. It is not “a curse in having her”, but rather a blessing, which shall prove to be a tragic one indeed. The most fate driven event in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, must be the misunderstanding of Juliet’s death by the Romeo’s ambassador and the inability of the messenger to deliver the Friar’s letter to Romeo. Laurence. Who bares my letter, then, to Romeo? John. I could not send it – here it is again- Nor get a messenger to bring it thee, So fearful were they if infection. Laurence. Unhappy fortune!… (VI, ii, lines 13-17) Here it is seen how fate has misguided the letter and Romeo had no way of knowing that Juliet was alive. Now that he is blinded by madness and has no control over his feelings he is full of anger and nothing can stop him. His intentions are nothing but death. He does not want to live if he cannot have Juliet. “Romeo. Well Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight.” (VI, I, 34)
If only he would have known of the true state of Juliet, he would not go to such extreme measures. What he does not know is that Juliet is artificially asleep, and awaits his return. This information is concealed in the letter, but as one can see from John’s lines, the letter does not find its way to Romeo. The prince finally sees how fate played a major role in Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths. And in between the lines of his final speech he says, “That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.” (VI, iii, 293) As the play progresses, Romeo and Juliet, uncover their tragic fate. From the moment they meet to the moment they die, they knew their love was forbidden and could not survive in their reality. Juliet. My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and unknown too late! Prodigious birth of love is to me That I must love a loathed enemy. (I, vi, lines 139-142)
The first time Juliet meets Romeo and falls in love with him, she finds out he is of the house of Montagues, and realizes how impossible their love is. Romeo is hot with fire and sees no limits to his love, and as at the end of the play he does, he talks of suicide and death as opposed to living without Juliet. My life is better ended by their hate Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love. (II, ii, lines 77-78) And his love knows no limit: Romeo. With love’s light wings did I o’erperch These walls; For Stony limits cannot hold love out, And what love can do, that dares love attempt. (II, ii, lines 66-68) After Romeo kills Tybalt he shouts, “O, I am fortune’s fool!” (III, I, 134) Here Romeo clearly understands the full impact of this tragic event on his future, and how everything that has happened to him after he met Juliet was not in his favor. Fate is so strong that it works within the characters, and Juliet says “If all else fail, I have power to die.” (III, vi, 244), once she sees how all the events lead to a tragic end.
The rivalry between the two families is first introduced in the prologue and continues until the very end of the play before the death of the two lovers. In the first act, the servant’s boys from the two families rant and make jokes about each others’ masters and reveal one of the major conflicts of the play. Fate is the driving force, that is set to stop the war between the two houses, therefore it is important to understand what is the motive behind Romeo and Juliet’s deaths from the perspective of fate. Many times in the play the two families have to confront each other in uncomfortable situations. Their first encounter that is seen in the play is after the prince has come to stop the chaos on the streets after being told of the quarrels going between the two families. Montague is all fired up after seeing Capulet’s men, and so is Capulet after seeing Montague’s. Capulet. My sword, I say! Old Montague is come And flourishes his blade in spite of me. Montague. Thou villain Capulet! – Hold me not, let me go. (I, I, 75-77)
And so their hate continues to exist. Even after Tybalt is dead, and Mercutio lies beside him. The Capulet’s wife is not any better than her husband. After she sees Tybalt slain, she asks the Prince to punish Romeo, even though she is not certain how this tragic event came to be. Only at the end of the play, after their children’s death do they realize how unjustifiable their hatred was, and how meaningless it was to pursue their ancestor’s sins towards one another. Montague. There shall no figure at such rate beset As that of true and faithful Juliet. Capulet. As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady lie- Poor sacrifices of our enmity! (V, iii, 302-304) In this exchange of apologies and forgiveness, we see that both fathers are ready to put everything behind and honour each others child, for being messengers of love driven by fate to stop the cycle of hatred. That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love. (v, iii, 293)
The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is fate driven. All the events that happen in the play lead to one major event, for which the play is said to be tragic, in which for the most part fate plays a large role. Both destined lovers realize their love cannot be pure and simple, and that no matter what they do, it will be tragic. The two families, whose strife can only be stopped by the predetermined love of their offspring, seize the hatred between them. Fate is the power that is supposed to settle ahead of time how things will happen. Romeo and Juliet’s lives were ruled by fate. Even though they thought they should be together fate had different plans for both of them. Fate did not rule in their favour.
A large part of the beliefs for both Romeo and Juliet involved fate. They believed in the stars, and that their actions weren’t always their own. Romeo, for example, 1.4.107-113 says, “Some consequence yet hanging in the stars…by some vile forfeit of untimely death. But he that hath the steerage over my course Direct my sail.” He’s basically saying to his friends that he had a dream, which leads him to believe that he will die young because of something in the stars, something that will happen. He ends with “…he that hath steerage over my course…” which implies that he does not have control over his life if he looks to another power above himself to direct him. He does not feel that he is the one who makes decisions; it is all a higher power with purpose.
Romeo had a crush on Rosaline, who did not return these feelings. An illiterate servant of the Capulet’s was sent to invite people on a list to a party that the Capulet’s were throwing. While Romeo babbled on about his life with Benvolio (his cousin) and kings men. Romeo bumped into this servant who asked him to read the list. Rosaline’s name appeared, which got Romeo to agree to go to the party. This sets everything up for Romeo and Juliet. They met at the party and fell deeply in love with each other. They realize later their identities, but they are in love and won’t let their names get in the way of that strong emotional bind. Fate had an immense impact on this scene.
Another example of fate was after Romeo killed Tybalt because of Tybalt killing Mercutio in a sword fight. After Romeo kills Tybalt he shouts, “O, I am fortune’s fool!” (III, I, 134) Here Romeo understands the full impact of this tragic event on his future and how everything started to deter ate after he met Juliet. Fate is so strong that it works within the characters. Juliet says, “If all else fail, myself have power to die.” (III, vi, 244), once she sees how all the events leading up to a tragic ending. “…Fate can only take you so far, the rest is up to you.” Fate got Romeo and Juliet together, and in turn, destroyed them. After Romeo and Juliet fell in love they knew their love was not meant to be. Fate played a major role in Romeo and Juliet love and life.
Do you believe in fate? To answer the question, you must first have a correct idea of what fate is. A definition of fate would be the power that is supposed to settle ahead of time how things will happen. Could there be such a power that rules our lives, and if so, why? Romeo and Juliet, the two young lovers in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, ended up becoming a large part of what could be called “fate”. Fate seemed to control their lives and force them together, becoming a large part of their love, and the ending of their parent’s hatred. Fate became the ultimate control power in this play, and plays a large part in modern everyday life, even if we don’t recognize it. Maybe we don’t recognize it because we choose not to, or don’t have faith like we used to, but the fact remains that fate controls what we do throughout all of our lives.
A large part of the beliefs for both Romeo and Juliet involves fate. They believed in the stars, and that their actions weren’t always their own. Romeo, for example, 1.4.115-120, says, “Some consequence yet hanging in the stars…by some vile forfeit of untimely death. But he that hath the steerage over my course Direct my sail.” He’s basically saying to his friends that he had a dream which leads him to believe that he will die young because of something in the stars, something that will happen. He ends with “…he that hath steerage over my course…” which implies that he does not have control over his life if he looks to another power above himself to direct him. He does not feel that he is the one who makes decisions, it is all a higher purpose, a different power. We’re all sort of like the puppets below the puppeteer. He’s asking for that puppeteer to direct his “sail,” or his life, in the right direction.
Fate directs us all like the puppets on the end of its string, and I believe strongly in it. It is, in many ways, the mystical power that controls who and what we become, and it explains that which can not be explained. Romeo was looking to this power, asking of this power to direct him, not to an untimely death as he foresaw in his dream, but to just steer him, because that is the control which he knows he does not have over himself. Nonetheless, fate still managed to weave Romeo into a twisted web of its power’s and plans. It did this by starting with a few simple emotions and actions. Romeo had a crush on Rosaline, who did not return these feelings. Next, an illiterate servant of the Capulet’s was sent to invite people on a list to a party that the Capulet’s were throwing. While Romeo babbled on about his life with Benvolio, his cousin and kinsmen, Romeo bumped into this servant who asked him to read the list, with Rosaline’s name, which got Romeo to agree to go after the servant invited them.
This sets everything up for the two lovers. They meet at the party, Romeo memorized by her beauty, and her simply memorized by him. They realize later their identity, but they are in love and won’t let their names get in the way of that strong emotional bind. If fate didn’t put all this together, then what or who did? What were the chances of all of this happening to two loathed enemies? It would probably be a million to one. Fate set up their love, their love already predestined, as well as their suicides, which they both foresaw. Romeo and Juliet throughout the play have dreams or visions of their deaths. Juliet for example in 3.5.55, says, “Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb.” She sees Romeo dead in a tomb, which is where he eventually ends up at the end of the play, beside her. This why she talks about Romeo being so low in a tomb, he’s dead, and she has foreseen it before it has even happened. How could she have seen the future if it wasn’t already decided for her? The answer is, she probably couldn’t have.
I’m very superstitious and believe in dreams and powers beyond us, that in the end, everything can amount to some good, and some bad. It’s a constant balance that keeps working throughout life and nature which we can’t stop. Dreams or experiences often hint at things or have a meaning. In the case of Romeo and Juliet, it showed them what was going to happen, not exactly what would take place on that night, but it did show them both that Romeo would die. Believing in fate and trusting dreams such as these is believing in the idea that a stronger power and force controls us, and in the case of such a strong love as the love between Romeo and Juliet, that there is one person out there destined for everyone. It’s romantic, and Romeo and Juliet were lucky enough to find each other, even if their love eventually led them to their deaths. In this case, however, fate may have been trying to do more than bring the two together. On 5.3.317, The Prince says, “A gloomy peace with it brings…” after they two are discovered dead and their marriage revealed by the Friar.
The hatred and feud between the two houses were causing so many to lose their lives. The Prince was fed up with them and their brawls, such as on 1.1.90-100, “…By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets…If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.” He’s saying that the feud is causing many problems on his streets, and the next time he needs to break them up or people get involved in a rumble, he will kill them to end the chaos that is sweeping through Verona. The peace may have been the final part in this grand scheme which seems so perfectly plotted, bringing together two lovers and two families full of hate. The Friar so predicted the marriage might do, 2.3.98, “For this alliance may so happy prove To turn your households’ rancour to pure love.” He agreed to marry them, seeing such a noble event bringing the two families together and ending the hatred, and then turning it into true love.
In the end, the hatred was ended, and their love was as true as it could have been. Even if their lives were ended by it, like Romeo says 2.2.83, “And, But thou love me, let them find me here. My life is better ended by their hate Than death prorogued, wanted of thy love.” He would have preferred to die than to have lived without Juliet, or not to have Juliet’s love and be left only with hate. He so proves the strength of such a conviction when he kills himself, and, in turn, Juliet kills herself. During this part of the play, after Romeo has killed Paris and himself but before Juliet has done the same, the Friar comes rushing in, trying to persuade Juliet out of the tomb before more arrive. He says to Juliet 5.3.159, “A greater power than we can contradict hath thwarted our intents.” It can be interpreted that he is talking of fate, telling Juliet that power beyond their control has spoiled their plans. This power must be fate.
They couldn’t contradict it, how would you? How do you beat the power that spins our lives and creates our futures in the same manner that it is has created our past and present? You can’t. Their story, as sad as it may be, was meant to happen. The good and the bad are a balance that even fate must recognize and accept. Some people say that the Lord works in mysterious ways, which I think is a way of saying that sometimes the bad things are blessings, and they may just work for the greater good. The same could be said about fate and its role in this play. Yes, two people died. Is this a worthy cause and a lesser number than those who may have died if their hatred had not been resolved? I would have to say yes, their deaths may have been to the greater good, as tragic as it was. It turned hate to love.
This play, as well as fate works in it, isn’t the only thing fate plays a role in. Fate affects everything and decided much of the world and its destiny. What happens, why fight it? We all end up were ever fate wants us, one way or another. Everybody we meet, everything that affects us and makes us see things from different views and other sides, they all affect who we become and develop into, which, ultimately, is fate. As much as we would like to deny it. Some things just can’t be explained unless you look to the higher reasoning and to the higher cause, and sometimes the good out of the bad is visible.
I heard a quote from a movie that is coming out in a while that struck me and stuck with me. It goes, “…fate can only take you so far, the rest is up to you.” Fate got Romeo and Juliet together, and it set everything up, but in the end, I do believe we have some say in how we turn out. Fate can make things happen, such as the case in Romeo and Juliet, but it was also the love between them, the deep emotions that ran through their hearts mixed with the scorn and hatred driven in by their parents. Their actions may have been predestined, but they were their own. They may not have realized the consequence of their love, but even if they did, they didn’t care. Things happen because of fate, and actions happen because of things. It’s a never-ending circle of power and feeling, destiny and actions. Each depends on the other, yet each has the power to affect everything on its own.
Fate needs the action of its “puppet” just like the puppet needs the puppeteer. One can’t exist without the other. People’s hearts will run freely, and fate simply will lead them, but the rest is up to them to achieve, even if fate is guiding them, the power to stop fate lies simply in a strong gesture where the “puppet” has the power to become the “puppeteer.” Romeo and Juliet said to be one of the most famous love stories of all times, is a play anchored on time and fate. Some actions are believed to occur by chance or by destiny. The timing of each action influences the outcome of the play. While some events are of less significance, some are crucial to the development of this tragedy. The substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet are; the Capulet ball, the quarrel experienced by Tybalt and Romeo, and Friar John’s plague.
A servant to Capulet, who is incapable of reading the list of guests, asks for Romeo’s assistance. Romeo notices that Rosaline, his lover, is among these names. Benvolio challenges Romeo to compare her with other “beauties.” Benvolio predicts, “Compare her face with some that I shall show,/ And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.” (I, ii, l 86-87) To show his appreciation, the servant asks for Romeo’s presence at the ball. Romeo should have considered the servant’s warning; if Romeo occupies the name of Montague, he shall not be permitted. Once at the ball, Romeo is searching for a maiden to substitute the unrequited love of Rosaline. Romeo happens to gaze upon Juliet, who charms Romeo. Romeo proclaims, ” Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!/ For ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” (I, v, l 52-53) Since Romeo declares his love for Juliet, she feels the attraction also.
They believe that they are in love and must marry. However, it is a genuine coincidence that Romeo and Juliet were at the same place, at the same time. Some days after the ball, Benvolio and Mercutio are conversing, in regard to the quarrelsome weather. Benvolio declares, “The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,/ And if we meet we shall not ‘scape a brawl,/ For now these got days is the mad blood stirring.” (III, i, l 2-4) At this point, Tybalt, who has challenged Romeo because of his appearance at the masquerade, enters, seeking Romeo. On Romeo’s behalf, Mercutio struggles with Tybalt, while Romeo, who is filled with love for his new cousin, tries to end their boldness. Before escaping, Tybalt plunges his sword into Mercutio, causing death to fall upon him. Mercutio blames Romeo and the feud for his fate. Romeo kills Tybalt, who taunts Romeo, upon his return.
Romeo fears he will be condemned to death if he does not flee before the arrival of the Prince. Benvolio recalls the events that have happened, with some embellishment. The Prince declares: And for that offence/ Immediately we do exile him hence./ I have an in your hate’s proceeding,/ My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;/ But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine/ That you shall repent the loss of mine./ I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;/ Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses;/ Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste,/ Else, when he’s found, that hour is his last./ Bear hence this body and attend our will./ Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill. (III, i, l 185-195)
Due to the disturbance of Verona’s street and the losses of Tybalt and Mercutio, the Prince must penalize Romeo. However, the Prince agrees that Romeo was acting in self-defence. Juliet, who desires not to wed Paris, asks for Friar Laurence’s assistance. The day before the wedding, Juliet is to drink the poison, which will make her appear to be dead. In forty-two hours she shall awake, with Romeo by her side. Romeo will then bring her to Mantua with him. In the meantime Friar Laurence will convey a message to Romeo in Mantua, telling him the plot. When she gains consciousness, Romeo and Friar Laurence will be there. Friar Laurence says, “Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift,/ And hither shall he come; and he and I/ Will watch thy waking” (IV, I, l 114-116) Following Juliet’s intake of the poison, Romeo is anticipating news from Verona. Balthasar, a servant to Romeo, tells Romeo that Juliet has passed on.
Romeo, who is told there are no letters from the friar, seeks a way to accomplish his suicide. Meanwhile, Friar Laurence confronts Friar John, who was to deliver the letter to Romeo. Friar John informs Friar Laurence that he was seeking another Franciscan, who was visiting the sick, to accompany him to Mantua. He says, “Suspecting that we both were in a house/ Where the infectious pestilence did reign,/ Seal’d up the doors, and would not let us forth;/” (V, ii, l 9-11) Friar John tells that he could find no one to deliver the letter, for fear they may catch the infection. The substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet are; the Capulet ball, the quarrel experienced by Tybalt and Romeo, and Friar John’s plague. The Capulet ball influences the ending of the play by Romeo’s invitation to the ball, which creates the meeting of Romeo and Juliet. The ball also gives birth to Tybalt’s anger and causes his challenge.
The challenge causes the banishment of Romeo, which produces much grieving by Juliet and Romeo. Also, the quarrelsome weather is partly to blame for the feuding between Tybalt and Mercutio. Since Friar John did not deliver the letter, Romeo thinks that Juliet is dead, sacrifices himself. Juliet seeing that Romeo is dead slays herself also. Fate (also called chance, accident, or destiny) plays a vitally significant part in the play. From the beginning of the drama, Shakespeare calls Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lovers, for fate brings them together and fate is responsible for their tragic end. The family feud of the Capulets and Montagues is the means by which fate acts. Romeo, who belongs to the Montague family, “crashes” the Capulet party in order to gain a glimpse of Rosaline, his supposed beloved. At the dance, fate intervenes and he falls in love with Juliet, who is a Capulet.
She returns his love, and they are secretly married. Fate does not seem to smile on their union. Romeo, in order to defend the honour of his dead friend Mercutio, is forced into fighting and killing Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin. Romeo’s fate is an exile from Verona and his truly beloved Juliet. Fate causes Count Paris to become interested in Juliet just at the time of her marriage to Romeo. Not knowing about Juliet’s marital status, Lord Capulet agrees to Paris’ request for the hand of his daughter and plans a wedding for Juliet and Paris. Juliet defies fate and drinks a “magic” potion in order to avoid the fateful marriage. Friar Lawrence attempts to send a message to Romeo about the “apparent death” of Juliet, but, due to fate, the messenger cannot leave Verona because of the plague. Romeo happens to hear about Juliet’s death from his servant Balthasar and decides he must join Juliet’s fate in eternity.
When he enters the tomb, he notices the scarlet of Juliet’s cheek, signalling that she is soon to awake from her trance. He mistakes the colour as the beauty of her being shining through to defy death. If he had arrived five minutes later, Juliet would have been awake, and the two deaths would have been avoided. Clearly, fate controls the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Another source of omen in the play is the presaging of dreams. Romeo has a dream, ” I dreamt my lady came and found me dead.” The servants of the two houses carry the feud to the street and fight. Romeo unwillingly is drawn into the fight, by the death of Mercutio, at the hands of Tybalt. When Romeo kills Tybalt, the Prince exiles him. All this happens soon after his marriage to Juliet, and then misfortunes fall on the lovers.
Fate intervenes again when Romeo is in exile. The Friar’s letter to Romeo, informing them about his plan gets delayed. Friar John, the messenger, is detained in a house suspected of ‘infectious pestilence’ and the authorities sealed up the door. Romeo hears of Juliet’s death through Balthasar and rushes to her vault with the vial of poison to kill himself. Juliet awakens from her trance after Romeo drinks the poison and dies by his side. If she had awakened a little earlier, the tragedy would not have happened. This is a tragedy of fate rather than of character or action.