Analysis of Characters in Romeo and Juliet
"It is not so much the central characters of the play, Romeo and Juliet themselves, as the minor characters that are responsible for their tragic end." I agree with this analysis to a high extent, but have also considered the other possible reasons why they died.
The most commonly seen reason for Romeo
's and Juliet
's downfall would be the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues. However, the over-looked, minor characters play an important role in the downfall of Romeo
and Juliet. They were constantly pushing them into secrecy and forcing them to construct a large and complex plan that results in Romeo's and Juliet's deaths.
Tybalt is the trigger that sends Romeo and Juliet off on their downward path. He is always causing trouble and never once in appears in the play without being in the battles. One can find him constantly harassing Romeo and trying to start a fight. When Romeo finally does fight him to get revenge, he ends up killing him and thus gets exiled as the Prince promised earlier in the play. Romeo getting exiled means that when Friar Laurence and Juliet plans their devious scheme, Romeo is not able to hear about it straight away. In fact, he never hears about it, so assumes Juliet is truly dead.
Paris seems to keep everything Romeo and Juliet does very hasty as he wishes to marry Juliet in two days. This means that Juliet drinks the potion that night, where she speaks her monologue in her bed. If Paris wasn't going to marry her in two days time, then she would have waited for a reply letter from Romeo. None of the confusion would have arisen. Paris doesn't love Juliet, not as Romeo does, but instead his love is only skin deep. He never really gets to know Juliet. If he did, then she may have liked Paris better than Romeo, which would completely cancel out everything else.
The Prince contributes by exiling Romeo near the beginning of the play. Romeo thinks this very unfair ("Tis torture and not mercy. Heaven is here, where Juliet lies."). This causes many problems. Romeo cannot hear about The Friars and Juliet's plan, so he doesn't know that Juliet was still alive when he killed himself on top of her. The Prince doesn't really play much more of a part than this.
The Friar doesn't play a very large part in Romeo and Juliet's tragic end. He concocts the potion, but this in itself doesn't contribute to their tragic end but it is fate, in that the letter he wrote never reaches Romeo in Mantua and so he doesn't know of the Friar's plan. The Friar is always giving council to Romeo and Juliet and is really only ever helping the two lovers. The only thing wrong he does is to marry Romeo and Juliet just a few days after they meet. This is not good because it is too hasty as he points out when he says, "These violent delights have violent ends" which comes true within the next two acts.
Capulet is the worst offender. He never allows Juliet to marry Romeo, because Romeo is a Montague. Therefore, Romeo and Juliet cannot have a normal relationship and must keep their love for each other well. Capulet also changes his mind very quickly. Near the beginning of the play he answers to Paris's query that Juliet is still too young to woo Juliet and that he should wait two years. Later on in the play, which is only a couple of days later, he tells Paris that he shall wed Juliet in two days time. This causes all sorts of problems. It means that Juliet must seek help from the Friar that introduces many more things that could have gone wrong.
The Nurse also does not help. She tells Juliet to perform bigamy by marrying her to both Romeo and Paris. At the beginning of the act, she is on Romeo's side and is paying out Paris. After that she rapidly changes and starts preferring Paris instead of Romeo. "Romeo's a disclout to him" The Nurse quotes. She suggests Juliet should marry Paris. Even though, the Nurse never goes out to hurt Juliet. She is only misinformed. The Nurse occasionally teases Juliet, also. For instance, when she gets back from her meeting with Romeo, she rambles on and on about something else. Finally, at the very end of her speech, the Nurse finally tells Juliet what actually happened in their meeting. This isn't meant to deliberately hurt Juliet, but she is more just playing around.
Mercutio contributes slightly to Romeo and Juliet's untimely end. When Tybalt tries to agitate Romeo, but does not fight, Mercutio believes he is being a coward and so hastily jumps in to try and defends Romeo's honor. When Mercutio gets himself killed, he not only does this, but also contributes to Romeo's own death. He gives Romeo no choice but to kill Tybalt in revenge.
Romeo and Juliet also contribute to their own death. Romeo is a lot more to blame than Juliet. He is the one who gets exiled. Romeo is extremely hasty and rarely thinks before he acts. Juliet, though, always acts with control and much thought throughout the play. We first see Romeo's hastiness that starts them on their downward fall when he quickly turns from peacemaker to aggressor, throwing consideration to the wind and attacks Tybalt in a fit of rage. This ends up in his banishment from Verona.
Still abrupt after his punishment, Romeo believes the first thing he hears and immediately rushes off to the apothecary to buy some poison. When he hears of Juliet's death, while in Mantua, it is his hastiness that leads to his and Juliet's death. He does not consider the best thing to do, but instead rushes to Verona, and risks death by being there, to kill himself on top of Juliet. Had Romeo taken more time in his actions, all would have been well.
As anyone can clearly see, the deaths of Romeo and Juliet were not caused just by themselves. The minor characters had a big portion in the deaths. In conclusion, I feel situations should be handled by the main person themselves and people should think twice before letting other people become involved.