Star-crossed Lovers or Just Unfortunate Circumstance Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Essay by shurushaJunior High, 9th gradeA+, December 2009

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It has been a common question what brought Romeo and Juliet to fall in love and later commit suicide. Some believe that in the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare it is fate that brings the tragedy upon the houses of Lord Montague and Lord Capulet. Yet others see at as unfortunate circumstance. "Two households, both alike in dignity (In fair Verona, where we lay our scene), From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes… Doth with their death bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-marked love And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove…” (Prologue, 1-14). Circumstance plays a major role in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The driving power of this play is in the actions the characters engage in and circumstances that they encounter.

Fate is considered to be a power that settles ahead of time how things will happen in life, but circumstance controls what happens to Romeo and Juliet and their choices contribute more to the outcome of their lives than fate. Choices like, going to a party, getting into fights, and further on buying poison.

To begin with, the feud between the Montague's and Capulets, is an unfortunate circumstance, into which Romeo and Juliet have been born. This feud actually begins a series of other circumstances contributing to their deaths. It is said the fate determined when Romeo and Juliet die and fall in love. However, as seen in the play and further in the movie the town that the two families live in is very small and it is common for the 2 families to meet and continue their feud. Therefore, it is not unexpected that Romeo and Juliet meet. Everything in the story fallows a chain reaction of circumstances. If the Capulets had not thrown a party Romeo would most likely keep on grieving about Rosalyn and could have never fallen in love with Juliet. It just happened to be that the servant was illiterate “God 'i' good e'en. I pray, sir, can you read?” (I, ii, 55) and he needed help and as a result invited Romeo to “crush a cup of wine” (I, ii, 74) at Lord Capulet’s party. These actions depict the beginning and provide a layout for further events and their effects on Romeo and Juliet’s lives.

Going forward, the feelings and actions of other characters in the story also contribute to Romeo and Juliet's deaths. When Romeo shows up at the Capulet party, Tybalt finds out that there is a Montegue present and became very angry and says, "I'll not endure him"(I.V.73). This act later leads to a fight under which circumstance leads to the deaths of two people, Tybalt and Mercutio. Tybalt kills Mercutio and Romeo becomes furious and as an end result he kills Tybalt. Romeo is then banished to Mantua because of his crime. This incident leads to him not being informed about the Friar’s and Juliet's plan about a sleeping potion. One of Juliet's mistakes was taking the potion because there was a lot of easier ways that would have solved her problem besides pretending to be dead. For one thing Rome and Juliet could have run away and it would, be much less hurtful to their parents and odds are more successful.

Also, when Friar Lawrence sends a fellow Friar John to send Romeo a message he is me by ill-timed situation. It could not have been fate that caused disease at that time to stop Friar John so it had to be unlucky conditions. This unlucky condition has Friar John quarantined by authorities on his journey “Sealed up thy doors and would not let us forth. So that my speed in Mantuna there was stayed.” (V, iii, 11-12) Balthazar Romeo’s servant who was not informed about Friar Lawrence’s plan gets to Romeo first and gives Romeo false information that “Her body sleeps in Capel’s monument.” (V, i, 18) This action causes Romeo to think Juliet's dead and he buys poison from an apothecary who lives in bad conditions and desperately needs money and therefore, breaks the law to sell Romeo the poison. Without the circumstance of the poor apothecary, Romeo might not have had the mind set to commit suicide. In a final unfortunate circumstance, Romeo meets Paris at the tomb and in a wave of grief and anguish kills him. Realizing what he did he was in such pain that he does not recognize Juliet's "Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks" (V.iii.96) as a sign that she lives. Instead, in a final twist of circumstance, Romeo kills himself just before Juliet awakens. Once again an action always has a reaction and when Juliet wakes up and sees her true love dead she too kills herself to join him in the afterlife. The characters are driven by feelings and quick thinking and not by fate.

All of these factors were major influences of lovers' deaths. Without the feud life for Romeo and Juliet would have been different. It is no wonder people say love is chemistry not only because some elements and combinations don’t work, but because every action has a reaction. Thus, if Romeo had never snuck into the party at the first place nothing would have ever happened and Romeo would have probably ended up alive. The conclusion that can be drawn is fate did not play much of a role where as circumstance propelled the story forward and the characters actions led to their own downfall.

Works Cited:"Romeo and Juliet: Entire Play." The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Web. 12 Dec. 2009. .