The Fools in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet


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The fall of Romeo and Juliet is a culmination of many factors. A

controlling father, an ongoing feud and a gullible friar all contribute to this

catastrophe, but, for the most part, it was Romeo and Juliet themselves that

lent a hand to their own doom. The two lovers were fated to meet and die, but

this never could've happened without their help. Had they been patient and

rational, perhaps the situation would've worked itself out, but what can one

expect from a couple of thirteen year olds who insist that they are in love?

 

     The first instance of Romeo's immaturity occurs when he first encounters

the lovely Juliet. He know that the party is hosted by the Capulets, and yet he

still chooses to attend anyway. As a teenager, he loves to party and is sure

that there will be pretty girls there in which to flirt with. Instead of being

rational and realizing that this party was a bad idea for a Montague, he and his

friends enter without fear.

 

     Once the party is over, Romeo hears Juliet on her balcony talking of how

she loves Romeo and together they speak of their impending marriage. What? It

seems that they are obsessed, not in love. How could they love each other when

in fact they have just met hours earlier? They are children who have crushes and

plenty of melodrama to enhance it.

 

     Romeo demonstrates his immaturity again when he slays the Capulet, Tybalt.

Being an idealist, he does not think about the consequences of his actions. He

knows that Tybalt is Juliet's cousin, and that injuring him would wreck any

chance of them getting together legitimately, yet he does it anyway. Instead of

pausing a moment and thinking about the situation in an adult manner, Romeo

allows "fire[ey'd] fury be [his] conduct..." and instantly kills Tybalt.

 

     Although a bit more realistic than Romeo, Juliet has instances of emotional

drama and impatience that symbolize a thirteen year old girl with a terrible

infatuation. True, her father is insisting that she marry Paris, but Juliet

never lets her feeling for Romeo be known to her parents. Instead of telling the

truth about her marriage to Romeo, she leads her parents to believe that it is

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Tybalt she is mourning for. When Lady Capulet tries to comfort Juliet, Juliet

tells of how she will "venge her cousin's death" (1082) instead of how it is

really Romeo she is crying for. Her parents may have still forced her to marry

Paris, but maybe they would've reconsidered had they known how strongly Juliet

felt for Romeo. Of course the hate solidified when Romeo killed Tybalt, another

instance of rash behavior.

 

     Juliet is very rash and impractical also. Though more realistic than Romeo,

she has a tendency to incorporate melodrama into her actions. She goes to the

friar desperately for some of his wisdom, and before he even has a chance to

think she threatens suicide with a knife. How impatient she is! She accepts the

friar's potion without any reservations and drinks it down without considering

the ramifications. The poison could be what "the friar hath minist'red to have

[her] dead"(1085) so that he won't get in trouble for marrying the two young

lovers. Juliet could die and yet she doesn't care because her Romeo has been

banished. Sounds a little too dramatic, Juliet is but a child.

 

     Upon seeing Juliet "dead" in her tomb, Romeo again acts rashly kills Paris.

At this point, his actions have made it nearly impossible for the Capulets to

accept him. Not only has he killed Tybalt but also the famous Paris, the mate

from a higher social class. Romeo has no choice now but to end his own life and

so "with a kiss [he] dies"(1091) by drinking poison (but not the short-acting

kind).

 

     Perhaps the love shared between Romeo and Juliet was true and fated, but

they were just children! One can remember the intensity that love brought while

a teenager. The feelings of immortality and tragedy are so intense when love is

a new experience to relish in. This was the case with Romeo and Juliet. They

were young and inexperienced and died as a result of their hasty decisions. Had

they been a bit more mature and reasonable, perhaps things would have been

different for the pair.


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