In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet the lovers are the victims of circumstances and are fated to die

Topic: LifeAdversity
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Last updated: November 5, 2020

From beginning to end of the play Shakespeare subtly injects this fatal love and circumstantial crisis into the play so that from early on it becomes apparent to the reader that Romeo and Juliet’s passion will not be one of fairytale ending.At the opening to this play we are shown Romeos fault-to fall in love too easily. Rosaline was a Capulet and Romeo was victim of an unrequited love with said Rosaline that is cleverly used to display to the reader Romeos willingness to fall easily and hard without regret for someone un ideal (a Capulet). In lines 173-4 of Act one scene one Romeo states ‘Heres much to do with hate but more with love’-Romeos hate here is referring to the hate between Capulet and Montague and the love is for his mistress.This, the previous scrap between feuding families in Act one and the following aspect of Romeo chancing fate by agreeing to find his way into the Capulet party (perhaps just to catch a glimpse even of his dear Rosaline) all set us up for the fact that Romeo possesses a willingness to defy circumstance and give himself completely (fall in love) those whom cause most distain in his life. Romeos personal qualities are displaying somewhat what is to come in the rest of the play.

The fate aspect in this play is almost always demonstrated in prophecy form as both main characters foresee numerable times great tragedy befalling their love in times to come. In Act one scene four lines107-111 Romeo displays this fact as he speaks of already early in his love for Juliet he is experiencing the feeling of ‘some vile forfeit of untimely death’ and indeed this is what prevails when Juliet’s and his own death transpire at the closing of the play. Romeo is suggesting to the reader through his own doubts that maybe he isn’t in control of his relationship maybe it is indeed ‘hanging in the stars’ and left up to fate. Romeo does too however tempt fate in a display to the reader again that unrest may become of his love .As in line 7 Act 2 scene 5 when he cries ‘Then love devouring death do what he dare’ where Romeo is both prophesising death and tempting fate.Again during a conversation between the lovers uncertainty crops up this time in the form of circumstance. Lines 117, 119 as well as 136-40 Act one scene 5 both lovers display how discouraging it is that their love is coincidentally there hate.

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‘My life is my foes debt’ (line 117), Romeo owes his life to his enemy Juliet by stating this it shows us that circumstance is not faring well on the lovers and by Juliet’s endorsement of this ‘ My only love is sprung from my only hate…prodigious birth of love it is to me’ (lines 137-9) the reader is unmistakeably forewarned of the impending circumstantial doom laid upon the lovers. The lovers choice of words even foretell this-‘prodigious’- meaning ominous and foretelling evil Shakespeare is almost explicitly telling us that this relationship was forsaken from beginning.As aforementioned the couple’s own characteristics are another reason for and implication to the duos fate. Already Shakespeare has shown us Romeos rash willingness to love that, which can only bring distain in his life and enthusiasm for tempting fate (by attending the Capulet party) and now Shakespeare displays unto us Juliet’s faults in this relationship-her indecisiveness.

Act 2 scene 2 lines 116-120 Juliet, subsequent to her devotion and profession of love towards Romeo in previous lines, damns the relationship for being to ‘rash too unadvis’d too sudden’ this shows she herself doesn’t know her own mind and is quick at changing it (going from saying she wants to marry Romeo too bidding him ‘sweet, good-night!’). This along with the rapid ‘give it to me o tell me not of fear’ (Act 4 scene 1 line 121) leads us to believe that maybe it was not only fate and ill divining circumstance that led to the lovers death but too their own unflattering character traits.After the demise of Mercrutio Romeo again has an ominous prophecy of death in line 119 Act 3 scenes 1 ‘This days black fate on mo days doth depend’. Here Romeo is saying that this day of unrest suggests more to come and again he is indeed correct. Again the prophecy form of fate occurs in lines 54-7 Act 3 scene 5 where Juliet upon Romeo’s departure receives a vision of her beloved laying dead at the bottom of a tomb. It seems again that Shakespeare is setting us up for a fall throughout the entirety of the titles characters romance. The numerous prophecies throughout the play display that fate is working and apparent in their relationship.

Romeos spur of the moment acts of tempting fate play a major part as aforementioned in his and Juliet’s demise. In Act 5 scene 1 line 24 Rome states ‘then I defy you stars’ in other words he is unwilling to wait for what fate decreed before taking action on the news of his treasured Juliet’s death instead he is going to rush to her side. If however Romeo had waited he would’ve undoubtedly found the friars note and known that his dear Juliet was indeed alive and waiting for him, Romeo went against fate and ended up dead along with his partner. This is a prime example of the Characters being victims of not only fate and circumstance but also their own mannerisms.The only other thing we have to consider in this fatal romance is how much other people’s actions led to the couple’s doom- for is it not Friar Lawrence whom Married the couple despite the obvious difficulty it would cause, him too whom offered the rash indecisive Juliet a potion causing her hoax death and him also whom turned up just too late to stop Romeos suicide? Also was it not Belthasar Romeos friend whom caused him to rush back to Juliet’s sight all too soon without seeing the Friars correspondence?I feel we must put all these incident s down to the best intentions of the characters however as Friar Lawrence thought that by wedding the couple the two families would be forced to get on and Belthasar thought that no one would’ve bought news to Romeo of his darling Juliet’s demise so did so himself all out of the best intentions. If this were the case I think Friar Lawrence himself justifies it in declaring- ‘ A greater power than we can contradict Hath thwarted our intents’.All in all the statement issued at the beginning has undoubtedly rung true as the lovers in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet were undeniably victims of circumstance and fated to die however they were even more fated due to their own unfailing attributes of indecisive and rashness.

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