Essay, Research Paper: Romeo And Juliet Story

Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

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The names "Romeo" and "Juliet" have passed in our language
as a symbol for love. For centuries, no story of love has been more influential,
prominent and emotional than The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. In the
extraordinary track of the play, the unconquerable love, heroic actions, and
faithful vows of the two lovers finger our hearts hard like a spiky thorn and
soft like the delicate silk. Who is to blame for the deaths in the play? Friar
Laurence certainly holds the responsibility. He marries the two lovers, offers
Juliet to drink the potion, fails to send the letter to Romeo in time,and runs
selfishly away from the vault for fear of trouble. Friar Laurence marries Romeo
and Juliet even though he forebodes that this hasty marriage may lead to a
catastrophic outcome. When Romeo informs Friar Laurence about his marriage to
Juliet, the Friar hesitates because their love emerges too sudden and too
unadvised that it may end just as quick: These violent delights have violent
ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which, as they kiss,
consume (II, VI, l. 9-11). The Friar, in particular, questions Romeo’s
temperament towards love. The love of Romeo to Rosaline shows that Romeo is
fickle, superficial and immature towards love: Is Rosaline, that thou didst love
so dear, So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies Not truly in their
hearts, but in their eyes (II, III, l. 70-72). Despite these misgivings, Friar
Laurence chooses to marry Romeo and Juliet because this may help end the feud:
In one respect I’ll thy assistant be, For this alliance may so happy prove To
turn your households’ rancor to pure love (II, III, l. 97-99). Being a
religious and holy man, the Friar always believes the good side of things.
However, he should have a second thought, for the feud between the two families
has been ancient and brutal. Can the alliance of Romeo and Juliet really help to
end the feud? If it can’t, then is he aggravating the matter by allowing Romeo
and Juliet to be together? Should he rule this marriage without the
acknowledgement of their parents? Later on, this marriage does provoke a brawl,
which takes the lives of Mercutio, Tybalt, and Lady Montague. Had Friar Laurence
not made Romeo a relative to the Capulets by marrying him to Juliet: Mercutio
would not have been slain by Tybalt; Romeo would not have killed Tybalt for
revenge; and Lady Montague would not have died from the grief of Romeo’s
banishment. The Friar offers Juliet the potion, which hypnotizes her for 42
hours in order to avoid the marriage with Paris. When Paris finds Juliet dead on
the day of their marriage, he feels being cheated and angry towards Juliet:
Beguiled, divorced, wronged, spited, slain! Most detestable death, by thee
beguiled, By cruel, cruel thee quite overthrown! O love! O life! Not life, but
love in death! (IV, V, l.62 – 64) In spite of his anger, his love for Juliet
is truthful. On night of that day, Paris lays flower on Juliet’s tomb and
weeps for her death: "The obsequies that I for thee will keep nightly shall
be to strew thy grave and weep" (V, III, l. 16-17). When Romeo is present,
Paris becomes enraged and blames Romeo on murdering Juliet by slaying her dear
cousin Tybalt. Paris draws out his sword and tries to avenge Romeo for
Juliet’s death but in time slain by Romeo: " O, I am slain! If thou be
merciful, open the tomb; lay me with Juliet" (V, III, l. 72-73). Paris
devotes his love to Juliet and is willing to die with her, but predetermined
fate means that Juliet’s affinity with Romeo comes before her marriage to
Paris. If Friar Laurence didn’t plan to let Juliet drink the potion and
"die", Paris would still be alive. Friar Laurence is to blame for the
death of Romeo for he fails to send the letter, which informs him about the
plan. The Friar depends his entire plan on a letter to Romeo: In the meantime,
against thou shalt awake, Shall Romeo by my letters known our drift, And hither
shall he come, and he and I Will watch thy waking (IV, I, l.115-118). The Friar
makes his plan in such a hustle that he hasn’t thought about the possible
failures or an alternate plan. When Romeo hears that Juliet is "dead",
he blames fate for taking Juliet’s life: "Is it e’en so? Then I defy
you, stars!" (V, I, l.25). Romeo hurries to Juliet’s vault where he
drinks the drug and dies beside his love: "Here is to my love. O true
apothecary, thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die" (V, III, l.11-12).
If Romeo had received the letter from the Friar, his state of mind and actions
would have been completely different. Lastly, the Friar’s selfishness is to
blame for the death of Juliet. When Juliet wakes up, the Friar tells her that
Romeo is dead and his whole plan is abolished. He directs Juliet to escape with
him before the watch comes: Come, I’ll dispose of thee Among a sisterhood of
holy nuns. Stay not to question, for the watch is coming. Come, go, good Juliet.
I dare no longer stay. (V, III, l. 161-164) Juliet refuses to leave, and the
Friar exits selfishly for fear that he will be in trouble if anyone finds out
his involvement in the affair. If the Friar did stay with Juliet and took the
dagger out of her hand in time, Juliet would not have irrationally killed
herself. The hasty marriage, wrongful use of the potion, failure to send the
letter, and selfishness of the Friar are the causes for the deaths that occurred
in the play. In spite of the many coincidences and references to heaven and
stars, Romeo and Juliet however, is not totally a tragedy of fate. Each
character has his/her freewill and is responsible for his/her actions. The
tragedy of Romeo and Juliet should be designated as the failure of human
responsibility or human error rather than fate. Who should be blamed for this
tragedy may remain long controversial, but the story of the two star-crossed
lovers will remain timelessly in the world of literature. "For never was a
story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo" (V, III, l.320-321).
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