Factors Contributing to the Tragedy of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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"For never was a story of more woe/ Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." (5.3.315-316) Though many critics would argue that the woe is due only to the theme of fate, but many other factors significantly contributed to this tragedy. The theme of love does not exist only between the play's namesakes, but it extends to the love that many other characters share for this couple. Often, personal flaws interfere with love, and ultimately cause the downfall of another person. Such is the case with Juliet. Though they had good intentions, the individual flaws of the Nurse and the Capulets lead to her downfall at the end of the play. One of the most memorable characters in the play is the Nurse. Most prominently noted for her humor, the Nurse contributes a great deal to the play, though she appears in only twelve scenes. Once the climactic point of Mercutio's death is reached, the humorous qualities of the Nurse quickly diminish, never to be seen in their entirety again. At this point, the Nurse's main function as a messenger becomes apparent, which gives proof of her love and loyalty to her Lady. Her impact in the play is clear, the Nurse is the messenger of all news, good and bad, to Juliet regarding Romeo, until their tragic parting. Though the Nurse has nothing but good intentions for Juliet, her own personal flaws cause Juliet to lose full sight of situations. The Nurse has a somewhat questionable philosophy towards Juliet's situation with Romeo. "Her interests are immediate and material. Her commitment is to eros, and therefore toward the physical union of the lovers" (Stevens). The Nurse feels that her loyalty for Juliet overrides her loyalty for Capulet and his wife, and therefore believes she is justified in her interference wi... ... middle of paper ... ... the rescue to arrive to Romeo in Mantua (Shalvi). This ultimately causes her suicide, and her death is thereby laid upon the shoulders of her very own parents. Though the Nurse and both of Juliet's parents deeply loved and cared for Juliet, their own personal opinions, ideals, and personal flaws brought upon the finality of Juliet's own actions. Her feelings of despair are brought upon by loneliness: Juliet is deserted by her father, her mother, and her Nurse, "until she is left only with the power to die, or to consign herself to the horrible vault" (Stauffer). The cause of the deaths however, is not laid solely upon the shoulders of others, it caused by love itself. Love conquers all, and it is necessary to keep in mind that although others contributed to the actions which led to Juliet's death, it was her love for Romeo that brought her to her final decision.

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