Romeo and Juliet, two young and helpless star-crossed lovers that deal with rivalry, death and tragedy throughout the play, is set in the town of Verona, Italy, where two households the Montagues and the Capulets have a long-standing hatred which cause revenge, love, and a secret marriage that force the young star-crossed lovers to grow up quickly and fate causes them to commit suicide in despair.
Shakespeare explores the theme of fate, in the opening lines of the play the audience is told what is going to happen to the lovers “a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life.” Throughout the story, the audience is put in an omnipotent, god-like position from the start encouraging them to think about fate and to what extent our actions are free. Because we know Romeo and Juliet’s fate from the outset we are constantly hoping that they will take a different course perhaps that Romeo will arrive just after Juliet has woken. However, their fate is sealed and we are forced to question our own destiny and ability to make free choices. When Mercutio shouts “a plague on both your houses” we are reminded of the protagonists’ fate. This bloody scene in which characters are killed gives us a glimpse of what fate has in store, marking the beginning of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic downfall. It is not merely a coincidence that Romeo and Juliet meet in the first place. A serving man comes across Romeo and Benvolio in the first act, unaware that they are Montagues, and informs them about the Capulet party: "My master is the great rich Capulet, and, if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup of wine". It is by fate that Romeo and Benvolio run into the Capulet serving man and discover the party. It is not just a simple accident that the serving man tells the two cousins about the party at which Romeo is destined, yet unaware, that he will meet his love. Furthermore, before Romeo attends the Capulet party, he says, "Some consequence yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin this fearful date". Romeo already predicts what the fates have in store as he says something bad might transpire if he dares to show up at the party, where he will meet Juliet. It is fate that they meet because Romeo says it himself. The final deaths of them both Romeo and Juliet is the "consequence" that he is talking about and the bitterness that starts the pathway to their ultimate tragedy is their first encounter, since they are supposed to be opposing enemies. For these reasons, Romeo and Juliet's first meeting is compulsory and sure to happen, fate being the most powerful force at work, determining their future. Fate as an exceptionally crucial force, pulling the characters into a more animated state. Because of fate, the play becomes tremendously thrilling and it is exactly what manages the two young lovers to meet each other in the first place. Thus, fate is undoubtedly the most responsible influence for the couple's heartbreaking tragedy. It is also a result of fate that flaws agonize Friar Lawrence's plan which eventually leads to Romeo and Juliet's utmost and dire demise. For example, instead of knowing about what the Friar has in mind, Romeo is informed by Balthasar about Juliet's "death": "Her body sleeps in Capel's monument, and her immortal part with angels lives". Though it seems like an honest accident that Balthasar is the one to tell Romeo about the turn of events, it is more likely that fate holds a much greater influence. By fate, Balthasar comes to Romeo and tells him what he believes to be true, but the piece of information he offers is a cause of the tragedy. Friar Lawrence's plan is also ruined because Friar John is unable to deliver the message to Romeo: "I could not send it (here it is again) nor get a messenger to bring it thee, so fearful were they of infection". Because Friar Lawrence's message is crucial to