Who is to Blame in Romeo and Juliet?

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In Romeo and Juliet, there are many guilty parties that contribute to the deaths and demise of Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, Tybalt, Count Paris and the many other victims of the bitterness and grudge between the Capulets and the Montagues. However, the three most culpable parties are the set of opposing parents; the Montagues and Capulets, the prince; Escalus of Verona and ultimately the lovers, Romeo and Juliet. The blame lies mostly on these three parties because their decisions greatly influenced the outcome of this Shakespearean tragedy. In this essay, I will prove and condemn the prince, parents and lovers for the losses of life and the confusion in Romeo and Juliet.

Prince Escalus of Verona plays an immense part in the effect of the Montagues’ and Capulets’ animosity towards each other. For the prince it is more of what he did not do than what he did. The prince lets the feuding families grow in enmity. He doesn’t take enough action to squash his rebellious subjects’ uproars, and when he does take action and punishes them, he is too lenient. The prince himself acknowledges his faults by saying, “And I for winking at your discords too. Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punished.”(Shakespeare Act. V: iii) And all are punished, but the ones who feel it the most are those who began the feud; the Capulets and the Montagues.

In the play, no one seems to know how the feud between the warring families happened, but it is kept alive for years because of arrogance, impunity and lack of understanding. Caught up in these troubles, both sets of parents don’t seem to pay much attention to their children or what they are doing. However, the Capulets are more to blame than the Montagues. If Lady Capulet had been more caring, or like ...

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... therefore damned, and yet again by lying. Nobody forced Juliet to drink the potion, nor kill herself. Romeo also chose by his own free will to kill Tybalt and to drink his poison.

The ill-fated lovers, the ill-disposed parents and the ill-mannered prince all contribute to the deaths. Because of their decisions and because of their behaviors and characteristics they play their parts in the conflicts. The Prince is to blame because he failed to fulfill his duty to the people of Verona. The parents are to blame for the neglecting of their children and for demanding marriage. And the lovers are to blame for their rash decisions. Those are the culprits in Romeo and Juliet of the deaths and demise of all and they carry the burden of blame.

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. “Romeo and Juliet.” Literature and Language. Illinois: McDougal, Littell and Company, 1992.

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