In modern times, and in the Elizabethan era, fate plays an
important role in people's lives. Many people believe it to be written
in stone, and unchangeable. Many others believe it to be controlled
by a person's own actions. In Romeo and Juliet, fate is one of the
main themes, described as having power over many of the events in
the play. Fate is often called upon, wondered about, and blamed for
mishaps. However, where fate is blamed in the play as the ultimate
cause for a mishap, there is always an underlying action, or
combination of them, on the part of human beings that decides the
consequences. Human weakness, the loss of self-control, is always
the direct cause of a bad choice or mishap, and not fate itself.
One of the most noted instances where fate is blamed for a
mishap is when Romeo cries out the he supposedly is fortune's fool.
He claims that fate has brought on Mercutio's death, and has lead
him to kill Tybalt in revenge.
In Act 3, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is seen to be
upset at Mercutio's death and predicts that the "days black fate on
more days doth depend." (III, I, 118) Tybalt then re-enters and
Romeo becomes more upset that Tybalt is triumphant with Mercutio
being dead (III, I, 121). As Romeo becomes overwhelmed with
Mercutio's death and Tybalt's joy over it, he suddenly declares that
either he or Tybalt must die with Mercutio (III, I, 128). Tybalt
responds predictably and threatens Romeo (III, I, 129). Romeo takes
the threat, then fights Tybalt until Tybalt is finally killed. When Tybalt
dies, Romeo suddenly comes to grips with what he has done, and,
unable to believe that he did this of his own...