Romeo and Juliet Astrology Paper:: This paper analyzes the role of astrology in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Essay by clio945Junior High, 9th gradeA+, December 2004

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Chorus: "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

A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows

Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.

The fearful passage of the death-marked love,

And the continuance of their parents' rage,

Which, but their children's end, naught could remove,

Is now the two hours traffic of our stage;

The which if you with patient ears attend,

What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend."

-Romeo and Juliet, Prologue

During the Renaissance, astrology was a respected science. Although some critics believe there are too many coincidences in Romeo and Juliet, many of those coincidences were due to fate rather than choice or chance. This is something that confuses many modern readers.

In order to really understand Romeo and Juliet you have to know how life was lived when the play was written; you need to know about astrology.

Throughout history, astrology has been both praised and condemned by the church. At the beginning of the Renaissance, astrology was reborn. Marsilio Ficino said, "This century, like a golden age, has restored light to the liberal arts, which were almost extinct: grammar, poetry, rhetoric, painting, sculpture, architecture, music... this century appears to have the perfect [astrology]." (Warnock) The Renaissance was a point in history when the church chose to embrace astrology. Many clerics thought that if they allowed their followers to practice astrology, it would keep them from practicing more heretical magic.

Astrologers were respected like doctors are today. They recorded data, analyzed the heavens, and diagnosed a person's future. As an American astrologer once said "Unlike...