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Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Romeo and Juliet - Role of Fate

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The Role of Fate in Romeo and Juliet  


Fate is the dominant theme throughout the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The word fate generates a bit of confusion, and can have many different connotations. Fate is an inevitable and often adverse outcome or condition; destiny. The destinies of these two lovers was not revealed to the reader at the start of the story, but every event brought Romeo and Juliet closer to their inevitable fates.

Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers, shared the unfortunate fate that they were from feuding families. The two of them were a perfect match, and were completely in love with each other, and the odds that one was a Montegue and one was a Capulet are incredibly slim. They both showed their grief when they learned that the other was from the opposite family. “O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt.” (A-1:Sc5:ln 132), and “My only love sprung from my only hate.” (A-1:Sc5:ln 152) were the two expressions that Romeo and Juliet exclaimed, respectively. Juliet had the right idea when she showed her frustration with the feud, and its influence on R&J’s relationship, in her soliloquy on the balcony, and said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet...” (A-2: Sc2:ln 41-52)

Besides the fact that they probably would have never been able to live a peaceful life, none of the tragedies would have occurred had they not met in the first place. This scene, where the Montegues find out about the play is another twist of fate. The servant of Capulet, who happens to be illiterate, was given the job of telling people about the party, but only those specifically on a list written up by his master. Since he could not read, he was forced to ask two strangers to explain it to him. Those two people could have been anyone, but they just happened to be Romeo and Benvolio. Another ironic fact is that Romeo went to the party because he was madly in love with Rosaline. Hypothetically, if Rosaline had been there, and she returned Romeo’s love, then all the following suffering would have never occurred. Romeo was completely in love with another woman going to the party, and only found out about it in the first place, through an adverse twist of luck.

Although Romeo and Juliet were responsible for their own physical deaths, but fate played a big role in getting the two into a suicidal mindset. The first and most obvious example was the quarantine in Mantua. Friar Laurence’s plan was that Juliet would be laid in the tomb, appearing to be dead, and when she woke up, Romeo would be there to meet her. The Friar was to send a message to Mantua, where Romeo was banished to, and inform the anxious boy about the scheme. This is a seemingly perfect plan, and gives the readers a sense of hope, but it is squashed when the they discover that there was a quarantine in Mantua, and Romeo was unable to get the letter and, even right to the very end, fate was still rearing it’s ugly head because if Juliet had woken up seconds earlier, these two wouldn’t have ended up like they did.

Shakespeare had countless times where he could have saved both of them, but he does not. He gives the reader a little hope that the two will survive, but with each event, that hope is squashed. Although Romeo and Juliet did not have to kill themselves, none of the tragedies would have occurred, had it not been ‘written in the stars’. Truly fate is the most dominant force in the play, and is most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

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"Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Romeo and Juliet - Role of Fate." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Apr 2014
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