Essay, Research Paper: Romeo And Juliet

Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

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One of the oldest and most debated questions of all time is whether our lives
are governed by fate or by our personal choice. William Shakespeare, in Romeo
and Juliet, brings this question to the surface. Although fate seems to control
what happens to Romeo and Juliet their choices contribute more to their
"fate" than fate itself. Although some reasons that Romeo and Juliet
die are out of their control fate is not the largest reason that the lovers end
up dying. For example, when Romeo hears of Juliet's death before he is told that
it is being faked. Romeo heard of his love's death and rushed to her side to
kill himself so he may lye with Juliet. The choice to kill himself is his alone,
no one forces him to do it. The unfortunate circumstance that stops the Friar's
assistant from delivering his message also aids the death of the lover's but
does not cause it. Romeo doesn't need to hear of the Friar's and Juliet's
deception to stop them from dying. If he hadn't have done anything drastic they
would both have been alive and well. Also, Juliet could have told people about
her marriage to Romeo, accepted the consequences and then there would be no need
for the "fateful" message. Still, fate or circumstances above their
control do play a large role in determining the fate of the two young lovers. It
seems like Romeo and Juliet have the curse of bad luck throughout this story.
Fate seems to cause Mercucio to be killed by Tybalt under Romeo's arm. This
causes Romeo to want to avenge Mercucio's death and Romeo then slays Tybalt.
Hence, Romeo is forced to leave Verona or die and therefore one more
circumstance out of their control contributes to their deaths. This situation is
put on Romeo without his consent. Romeo and the choice whether or not to avenge
Mercucio's murder. Tybalt does not attack Romeo. Romeo goes after Tybalt with
the intent to kill him. To take it a step further, Romeo could stay in Verona
and face the wake of his actions. Many times Shakespeare refers to
"fate" as being the reason that they died. When the Chorus uses the
phrase "Star-crossed lovers"(1,1,6), this indicates William
Shakespeare's thoughts on what kills Romeo and Juliet. This tell the audience
that Romeo and Juliet are destined for trouble. Romeo saying "I am fortunes
fool"(3,1,145) after he kills Tybalt further emphasizes the point. Romeo
kills Tybalt yet he tries to blame fortune instead of blaming himself. He says
that fortune tricked him and he fell for it. "The unlucky manage of this
fatal brawl" (3,1,154), spoken by the Prince after he hears about the death
of Tybalt confirms that Shakespeare feels that luck is what determines what
happens. The fact that they were from feuding families that hated each other and
they still continued the relationship. Yet, Shakespeare doesn't tell about the
poor judgement that the two young teenagers use. He tries to make it seem that
they had no choice in the matter. What really plays the biggest part in their
death is not fate but the decisions of the two adolescents. Many choices
contributed to the end of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo's choice to go to the Capulet
party where he met Juliet was one example of their choice. He knows that his
family and Juliet's family hate each other. Still, he goes to their party fully
knowing what might happen. Furthermore, Romeo chose to seek after Juliet and to
continue to see her. He could have just left and not have returned to her house
and gone to her balcony. By making this choice he sets up all the problems that
occur later. Even if the later events happen by chance and it seem as if fate
was the reason that they died, their choices put them in that position.
Although, Romeo pursued Juliet he isn't the only reason that they die. Juliet's
choices play a large part in deciding their end. Romeo woos Juliet but Juliet
could have resisted. When he sends for her to marry him, she can decide not to
show up. They also could be honest and tell their parents. The parents might not
like it but at least Romeo and Juliet wouldn't die. When Juliet chooses to drink
the potion and not go with Romeo and leave Verona she makes a way for chance to
come into play. She could have left and lived with Romeo, but she didn't and
therefore suffered for it. Many elements of chance or fate and choice together
decided the outcome of this story of two star-crossed lovers. Yes, things out of
their control helped to kill them but they made the decision to pursue each
other and leave the opening for those things to happen. So, was it choice or
fate? I believe that personal choice is the real nemesis.
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