‘Romeo and Juliet’ is one of Shakespeare most famous plays and one of the most famous love plays written in all time. In this essay I will explore how Shakespeare emphasises the inevitability of the lover’s deaths, by using a variety of different techniques.
‘star cross’d lovers’; this suggests fate will play a major part in the play even before the play has started. In the 19th century stars were strongly linked with fate. As the audience are already aware the lovers are going to die it will create high levels of anxiety and dramatic irony. The moral of the play is made clear by the chorus ‘the continuance of their parent’s rage, which but their children’s ends’, nought could remove’. It needs something as drastic as their children’s death to end the feud between Capulet and Montague.
Shakespeare devises action and events to emphasise the inevitability of the lover’s deaths. As Romeo makes his way to the Capulet ball he has a premonition that this will be the start if a chain of events, which will lead to an ‘untimely death’ ‘for my mind misgives some consequence, yet hanging in the stars’ The Elizabethan audience would have strongly believed in predestination, and there was no way Romeo could escape his premature death. Romeo also mentions he is hanging in the stars which would have reinforced the audience’s thoughts that he would eventually die.
As the play progresses Shakespeare offers some hope that the lovers would be saved, however each time fate is against them. If Mercutio would have escaped his death Romeo would have had no reason to kill Tybalt. ‘Mercutios dying curse a plague on both your houses’. This reminds ...
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...er class usually speak in pros. ‘If I profane with my
Unworthiest hand, this holy shrine, the gentle sin is this, my lips two blushing pilgrims ready stand. To smooth the rough touch with a gentle kiss’. This sonnet also shows the love between Romeo and Juliet. At this point dramatic irony comes in as the audience are indulged in Romeo and Juliet’s love, but at the same time scared for them as they know they will both take their lives.
Overall Shakespeare hugely emphasises the inevitability of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths, by using a wide range of techniques. For a typical 19th century audience it will reinforce their beliefs in fate; however a modern audience might not be drawn in by the idea of fate alone. A modern audience would watch the play mainly to see how the play unfolds and how such a loving relationship can go from one extreme to another.