Essay on Romeo: Romeo and Juliet and Play

Submitted By pud1998
Words: 1525
Pages: 7

Who or what is mainly responsible for the death of Romeo and Juliet?
Almost all of the events that occur throughout the play lead up to the final conclusion of the death of Romeo and Juliet. Many, if not all of the characters could be argued to play a role in their deaths, some more than others. Equally, some people may argue that it was no one’s specific fault and therefore it was fate or society’s fault. These are the aspects of the play that I am going to consider throughout this essay. In the opening sonnet in Romeo and Juliet, the chorus states that Romeo and Juliet are ‘star-crossed’. We can gather from this that fate controls them, as it is said that fate is a power vested in the stars that controls their actions. This sense of fate runs as an incredibly strong theme throughout the play. Not only the audience, but also the characters can sense it as they often see bad omens such as when Juliet sees Romeo as he leaves and she says ‘methinks I see thee now, thou art so low, As one dead in a tomb.’ Similarly the acceleration of speed of action from scene to scene can signify the fates of the characters spiralling towards disaster. Conversely it could be argued that it was not fate that played a major part in the death of Romeo and Juliet but the actions of various characters that caused their destiny to be so bleak and unwelcoming. There is not one character that you can pin the blame squarely on, but everyone has played a major part in the deaths of both of these characters. The first people that could be blamed are Romeo and Juliet’s trusted counsel, the nurse and the friar. Both these two people have a major role in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. To begin with we first meet the nurse in act 1 scene 2. Shakespeare introduces her in a very innocent, jolly way with her first speech allowing her to babble on about how ‘come lamas-eve at night shall she be fourteen’. We can perceive from this that maybe Shakespeare wanted the nurse to represent Juliet’s innocence and lack of experience as she interprets everything as a laugh and a joke, without too much thought. The nurse could be said to hold responsibility for Juliet’s death because she is the one who conveys Juliet’s love notes to Romeo and his to her. The nurse preaches to Juliet about how she should first of all marry Romeo but then towards the end of the play she alienates Juliet completely by saying that she should marry Paris. This is where the Nurse could have stepped in and stopped Juliet from doing anything stupid, but we see the Nurses naivety and foolishness; her lack of wisdom causes Juliet to resort to extreme measures to get what she wanted. However should it have been the Nurses job to stop this crazy love story from spiralling out of control, or is it the man who aided the couple along the way? The Friar played a key part in their deaths for multiple reasons. Firstly he married the two of them knowing that they had only met three days previously and without consent from their parents. This leads us to believe that he was very irresponsible and this is shown well in the Zefferelli version of the play, where we first see the Friar collecting herbs without any cares in the world. This shows us how the Friar was quite simple minded and in this play Shakespeare represents him as a very two dimensional character. Again, it could be argued that the acceptance of the speed of the romance by the Friar and the speediness of the secret wedding could also play a part in the tragic death of the couple. Impulsive behaviour could also therefore be argued to be, in part, responsible for their fate. In this play the role of society could be said to be responsible for the deaths of both Romeo and Juliet. The pressures that are put on these two young people are both destructive and cause a lot of unnecessary damage. Firstly, the fact that there is so much pressure on a young girl who is not yet 14 to get married is one of the main factors in causing the whole