Romeo and Juliet
December 11, 2013
Romeo and Juliet, much like many of Shakespeare's timeless plays, deals with great tragedy.
This particular play, however, deals with multiple deaths at the result of two young lovers desperately struggling to be together, despite all odds against them. There are many debates over the subject on whether these two are the victims of those around them, as in the family they were born into; their own choices, made poorly, or that it was simply written in the stars. Rather than being victims of just one of these situations, Romeo and Juliet's deaths were the result of fate, choices, and their society.
First of all, the fate present in the story. Right in the opening prologue, A pair of Star Crossed lovers take their life (William Shakespeare, Prologue)
This line does not specifically suggest that it was the stars that caused them to take their own lives, but rather it was their love that was destined to be. They were meant, always, to fall in love, and the result of this love, along with the feud between their rivalling families, was the taking of their own lives. This proves that fate and choices, society as well, having been what caused them to end up committing suicide, can all be present as one in the play, working together in the plot. The carefully crafted and strategically written turn of events in this story contain all three situations, and at the beginning of it all, is the root of fate itself.
Following the presence of fate in the story is the subject of the society Romeo and Juliet were born into. This one, alone is a very important point in the story, as without it, Romeo and Juliet would have been able to live out their days together in peace.
After Tybalt struck down Mercutio, having been defending Romeo, only to be distracted by him and fatally wounded at the blade of the spiteful Capulet, Mercutio exclaims,
A Plague on both your houses! (William Shakespeare, 3.1.91) This, the first death in the story to occur, is the critical turning point where it ceases to be a romance and quickly becomes a tragedy. It is not the actual 'plaguing' that Mercutio curses upon his dying moment, butrather the chain of events that follow as a result of it, the plaguing being more in the moment, leading a downward spiral in the lives of Romeo and Juliet as well as those close ti them that eventuallyt pushes them to the point of taking their own live, being their own choices. Had it not been for Tybalt's hatred towards the Montagues and pride for his own family, which first resulted in Mercutio's untimely death, the feud would not have been sparked anew and Romeo would not be banished from Verona for his irrational act of vengeance for his fallen friend.
Yet another event in the society that seems against the union of Romeo and Juliet is displayed here-
By my brotherhood, the letter was not nice but full of charge, of dear import, and neglecting it may do much danger. (Friar Lawrence, 5.2.17-20)
The letter from Friar Lawrence informing Romeo of Juliet's death being a hoax, would not reach Romeo in time for