Introduction For Romeo And Juliet Fate Essay

Essay about How Does Fate Play a Part in Romeo and Juliet?

1315 WordsMar 8th, 20086 Pages

How Does Fate Play A Part In ‘Romeo and Juliet'?

‘Romeo and Juliet' was written during a period when Shakespeare had found the strength of his writing, it is believed that it was written around 1595 and he would have been about 26 years old when he wrote it. The play is a widely known tragedy concerning the fate of two young "star-cross'd lovers". It is one of the most famous of Shakespeare's plays and one of his earliest theatrical triumphs.

In ‘Romeo and Juliet', fate plays an extremely powerful role throughout the story. Romeo and Juliet are "star-crossed lovers," as the prologue at the start of the play indicated, they had fate against them. In that time, people were very wary of what the stars said. If two people's stars were…show more content…

They both declared their grief when they learned that the other was from the opposite family, through the lines:
"O dear account! My life is my foe's debt." (Act 1, Scene 5, 132), and "My only love sprung from my only hate." (Act 1, Scene 5, 152)
Shakespeare shows the audience the young lovers' shattered dreams through the negative words cluster, such a foe, debt and hate. Juliet then showed her frustration with the feud, and its influence on hers and Romeo's relationship, in her soliloquy on the balcony, as she says:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet..." (Act 2, Scene 2, 41-52)
This line is a good example of how Juliet is maturing, as it portrays an act of disobedience towards her parents and against her entire family in that she is contemplating the relevance of hers and others names. It is a truism, and therefore portrays her developing understanding of the world around her. This maturity is down to fate as it is vital that she matures, so that she can lie to her father about marrying Paris later in the play, and have the self-confidence to take it upon herself to prevent the marriage.

Besides the fact that the couple would have never been able to live a peaceful life even if they had carried out the Friars plan successfully, none of the tragedies throughout the play would have occurred had they not met in the first

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Fate And Choice In Romeo And Juliet - With A Free Essay Review




Fate: Is it just an excuse?

Excuses are something people use to clear themselves or others of the blame of their own foolish actions. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it is not fate, but impulsive and desperate actions that bring about the downfall of Romeo and Juliet. In the Victorian era, fate was known as the development of events out of human control, and determined by a supernatural power. By no means was the demise of Romeo and Juliet out their control. It happened because of the choices they themselves to make.

Romeo always blames his own reckless actions on fate. Romeo is warned not to go to the masquerade party but tells fate to “steerage of [his] course” and “direct [his] sail” and goes anyway. Romeo knows himself that he will die if he goes but still chooses to go. Romeo decides that whatever happens is up to fate and it’s completely out of his control. Also, after killing Tybalt, he calls himself “Fortune’s fool” and realizes he will be punished severely (Rom 3.1.142). Romeo is basically says he is a subject to the whims of fate. He thinks fate is playing around with him and not taking responsibility for what he himself did. However when he hears of Juliet’s “death” Romeo tries to “defy the stars” and kills himself (5.1.25). Romeo is taking responsibility for his actions by trying to defy his “fate” and finally taking thing into his own hands. This doesn’t work, since he didn’t bother to check if Juliet was still alive and just kills himself in his attempt to be together with her, even if it’s in death. Romeo uses fate to justify his actions and say that a power outside of his control fueled his action, but instead everything was just his impulsive choices.

Juliet makes reckless and impulsive actions knowing very well what the consequences could be, and then blames it on her unavoidable fate. When Juliet first sees Romeo at the party, Juliet tells the nurse to “go ask [for his] name. If he be married” and says that her grave is “like to be [her] wedding bed”, foreshadowing her own death (1.5.148). Juliet wants to know if Romeo is married, and she is just a thirteen year old girl who saw Romeo the first time in her life. Juliet is the one that eventually proposes to Romeo, and she does this knowing to be married means her own death. When Romeo visits Juliet on her balcony that night, she says she has “no joy of this contract tonight, it is too rash, too unadvised, [and] too sudden’ about Romeo swearing his love to her. Even before they are married, Juliet already knows their actions are impulsive. Combined with the fact that she even foreshadows her own death, she still rashly decides to marry Romeo. This wedding was by her own choice and not like the one where her parents force her to marry Paris. In addition, after Romeo leaves Juliet after their only night together, Juliet pleads to fate to “be fickle”, and to “not keep him long, but to send him back” to her (3.5.63). She also hopes that since Romeo is “renown’d for faith” unlike fate (which is fickle) fortune should be kind to him. She is excusing his killing of her cousin Tybalt with the fact that fate is unreliable and unpredictable. It wasn’t fate being unpredictable, it was Romeo losing his cool and acting rashly. Juliet shows that she knows the consequences of her actions, but goes forth with them anyways.

Friar Lawrence’s reckless actions brought together the deaths, and he blames them on fate. When Friar John tells him that the letter couldn’t be sent, Frair Lawrence decides to blame it on “unhappy fortune” and not himself (5.2.17). He is a grown man, but decides to let Friar John travel alone to deliver the message. Instead of sending the message himself, he gives the crutial task to people that aren’t even involved. Knowing this, he blames his own blatant fault on fate being unhappy. Also, when Friar Lawrence walks in to see both Paris and Romeo dead, he says it is “lamentable chance” that they are dead (5.3.151). Again, fate is blamed for something easily avoided. He is saying that it was out of his control that the two died, but Frair Lawrence was the one who married them and masterminded the plan in the first place. Not only that, when Juliet awakens the Friar tells her “a power greater than [they] can contradict has thwarted [their] intents” and as a result, Romeo is now dead (5.3.158). When he talks about a power that could not be resisted he is talking about fate and how fate ruined the plan to reunite Romeo and Juliet. He was the one that botched the sending of the message to Romeo. The Friar just doesn’t take any responsibility at all for his actions and opts instead to blame uncontrollable forces.

Throughout Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the characters’ own impetuous and brash choices, not fate, bring about the deaths. Characters repeatedly used fate as an excuse by saying the series of events were completely out of their control. In contrast, everything could have been avoided if the characters just decided to think rationally. By having them blame fate, Shakespeare is asserting that people need to take responsibility for their own actions. They should realize it is their own choices that affect the future, not fate. People’s destinies can be changed, and it is not predetermined by an all-powerful force.

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ESSAY REVIEW

Perhaps the weakest part of this essay is the introduction. It offers a poor definition of fate. It misidentifies the provenance of the play (Shakespeare died two centuries before Victoria's birth, so _Romeo and Juliet_ is called an English Renaissance play or an early modern play). The thesis is a little weak, and does not in fact accurately reflect the complexity of your argument. Finally, the writing is a little sloppy (especially the last two sentences, but perhaps the problem with the definition of fate is also a writing problem).

Given this relatively unpromising start, I was a bit surprised by the quality of the essay. You integrate quotations well and while your analysis of Shakespeare's language is either superficial or nonexistent, you at least take the trouble to explain to your reader why certain key quotations are relevant to your argument, as when, for example, you explain the significance of the Friar's reference to a controlling greater power. Your essay is reasonably well organized and admirably focused on developing your argument. I don't find that argument completely compelling, but as I was implying above with my remark about your thesis, I think that at one crucial point at least, you realise the problem you tackle is a little more complicated than you initially suggest. Let me quote you:

"Romeo is taking responsibility for his actions by trying to defy his 'fate' and finally taking things into his own hands."

I think that is an interesting insight, but you deny your own insight (perhaps because it doesn't fit comfortably with your thesis) with the comments that follow:

"This doesn’t work, since he didn’t bother to check if Juliet was still alive and just kills himself in his attempt to be together with her, even if it’s in death."

The idea that Romeo doesn't bother to check is not really faithful to the text of the play; the idea that "this doesn't work" is a little vague. What exactly does "this" refer to? Are you saying that the attempt to take responsibility isn't successful? If so, and if that were both meaningful and true, wouldn't the fact of Romeo's attempt to defy fate and take responsibility still mean that there is a little more to the question of fate and responsibility (or choice, which amounts to the same thing, since when you make a free choice you are responsible for that choice) than is implied by the rest of your essay?

On the one hand, of course, it is possible to argue that the young lovers make foolish choices while considering themselves doomed by fate. On the other hand, even though they might consider themselves subject to fate or the whims of fortune, they obviously try to determine their own future. Perhaps they blame fortune or fate too much, but they are hugely defiant of all the external forces that seem ranged against them. You might say that fate isn't really the source of those external forces (you might say it’s the law of the state and the family and so on), but the fact is that even as they lament what they call their fate, they try to defy it. Fate, in other words, seems to be not just an excuse but also an enemy that they try to overcome, and that's the insight you arrive at, but then ignore, in your reading of the scene in which Romeo commits suicide.

Best, EJ.

Submitted by: greato3

Tagged...Shakespeare sample essay reviewed, essay feedback



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