Fate in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Length: 935 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
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Romeo and Juliet - Fate
Some people may not believe that fate is something that truthfully exists in the world. This portion of the population doubts that there is anything that is actually meant to be or supposed to happen thinking that there is always a way around troubling predicaments, knowing that it isn't necessary to turn out just one certain way. They trust that whatever occurs in their lives comes as a result of the decisions that they make with their own free will. Others, however, believe that whatever happens during the course of their lives is inevitable and every event predestined and laid out before them like a roadmap to life; in other words, fate. William Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet has 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. The moment that Romeo and Juliet meet is the exact incident that leads to their death, however unaware these "star-crossed lovers" are to that fact. Thus, fate is undoubtedly the most responsible influence for the couple's heartbreaking tragedy.
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" (I ii, 86-88). 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" (I iv, 114-115). 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.
Though they are the offspring of two families who have held a grudge over each other since antiquity, Romeo and Juliet are doomed to be in love. When Romeo discovers who Juliet is, he says to himself, "O dear account! My life is my foe's debt" (I v, 132). Despite the fact that they were born into feuding families, Romeo can't help but love Juliet because he already loves her before he discovers her true identity as a Capulet. Thereupon, it is fated that he loves Juliet even if it is forbidden. Moreover, when Juliet finds out from the nurse that Romeo is a Montague, she says, "My love sprung from my only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late! / Prodigious birth of love it is to me / That I must love a loathed enemy" (I v, 152-155). Since Juliet could not see beforehand that Romeo is an enemy, by fate, she begins to love him unconditionally. However, when she finds that her true love is also her true nemesis, it is too late for her to hate Romeo. Unfortunately, she has already been sucked in my love's overpowering gravity-like pull, which cripples her chances of defeating her true destiny of being in love with Romeo.
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" (V I, 19-20). 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" (V iii, 14-16). Because Friar Lawrence's message is crucial to the plan he devises, the fact that it is never sent creates a major rupture that can turn out to be quite deadly. Romeo, not knowing that Juliet isn't officially dead, makes a big mistake, because he is oblivious, that leads himself and Juliet toward their impending doom. The fate put over the friar's plan leaves Romeo a desire to die, which destines Juliet and himself to their conclusive fate: death.
Taking into consideration that Romeo and Juliet are predetermined to meet, love and die together, fate is clearly the dominant force for the most part of the play.