Fate In


Fate In “Romeo And Juliet” Essay, Research Paper

Fate in Romeo and Juliet

“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

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 honor 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 bitt’rest gall.” (I, vi,

lines 91-92) The two families’ rage here is shown and also fate takes its slow coarse

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 which

underlines the effect of Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths: “For this alliance may so happy

prove to turn your households’ rancor 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 it sealed, as it now seems. But stars have

different intents with Romeo and Juliet. As Juliet is in despair, she confronts the 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 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 us 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 bare 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 to-night.” (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 unkown, and unkown 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, myself 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

servants boys from the tow families rant and make jokes about each others’ masters

and reveal the 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 prospective 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

ancestors 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 honor 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 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, who’s strife

can only be stopped by the predetermined love of their offspring, seize the hatred

between them.


Romeo and Juliet by Shakspere


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