Romeo and Juliet: Fate and Free Will

Good Essays
Romeo and Juliet: Fate and Free Will

Shakespeare hasn't chosen about fate or free will, he is telling us to

decide. At the very opening of the play the Chorus tells us of fate,

"…A pair of star crossed lovers take their life;

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows


Doth with their death bury their parents' strife…"

This is saying that pair of ill-fated lovers (written in the stars)

have an unlucky (fate?) accident and the price of their deaths are end

their parents troubles with each other. The Belief that fate

determines our lives is brought up throughout the play, Romeo is

scared that fate will be unhappy if he goes to the Capulets' party: 'My

mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars'. Juliet fears

what will happen as she parts from Romeo: 'Methinks I see thee now,

thou art so low / as one dead in the bottom of a tomb.' Romeo and

Juliet struggle to get out of whatever fate shows in dreams and

thoughts. 'Then I defy you, stars!!' Is Romeo's defiant challenge when

he hears of Juliet's death.

At the start of the play it looks like fortune is on the side of the

Romeo and Juliet. They meet almost by chance, Romeo having read the

invitation to the party, encouraged by Benvolio to go. The meeting

later of the two also hinges on chance. It appears that fate brings

the two together. Once the marriage is made, things go badly wrong. In

a way this is Shakespeare manipulating everything in a way that both

Romeo and Juliet are unable to deal with the circumstances. Fate has

taken a hand and they seem destined not to be together. There seem to

be powerful outside force...

... middle of paper ...

... asks them to help

him, they see Rosalind's name on the list so Benvolio says he's on the

list and they both obtain invites so Benvolio can show Romeo that

there's plenty more fish in the sea; '…And I will make thee think thy

swan a crow…' He would show Romeo that Rosalind's ugly compared to

other women at the party. They go to the party and accident number two

happens, Romeo sees Juliet and asks a servingman her name,

unfortunately' 'I know not, sir." Was the Servingman's reply. If the

servingman had known she was a Capulet, Romeo would never have gone

near her! Unluckily for him, he didn't know till a bit too late that

she was a Capulet!

My final conclusion is that Shakespeare added 'accidents' to twist the

story even more and he tried to show us that Fate, free will and

accidents are very hard to separate.
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