The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

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The deaths of Romeo and Juliet were in turn caused by many things, the younger generation and the elder generation contributed in a great deal of ways and each generation's influences could be seen to be as equally important as the other. Each person in their own generation could be seen to have been the cause, just as equally as another, because each event up to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet were all equally important. If one event had not happened then maybe another would not have, the whole play was full of "what ifs", "maybes" and "buts" yet it is up to the audience to come to their own decision whether the younger or elder generation were to blame.

One young man in "Romeo and Juliet" was Tybalt, he was a nephew of Lord Capulet and a cousin to Juliet. It was his petty rivalry that can be said to have triggered off the sequence of events that led to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet and if he had maintained a calm composure and ignored the Montagues then perhaps his cousin would not have died. Tybalt was the one that sought out Romeo, but Romeo did not react to Tybalt's antagonism and so Romeo's best friend and fellow Montague, Mercutio, who had a fiery personality, was outraged at Romeo's unresponsiveness to fight with their enemy and so he began to fight instead. Mercutio died at Tybalt's hand and thus made Romeo avenge his death by slaying Tybalt. Tybalt had instigated this small feud and Tybalt, therefore, was to blame. The audience could tell Tybalt had started the fight and was solely responsible, as Tybalt said to the Montagues:

"I am for you."

Mercutio, another young man in the play also participated and contributed to the line up of events that caused Romeo and Juliet's death. If he had not intervened when Romeo refused Tybalt's demand for a duel, the duel would not have taken place and nobody would have died. Mercutio said to Romeo when he did not fight Tybalt:

"O calm dishonourable vile submission!"

And with these words, Mercutio and Tybalt began to fight.

Paris was a young man, betrothed by Juliet's mother and father to marry Juliet and he also participated in the events that caused Romeo and Juliet's deaths. Paris wanted to speed up the wedding, if he had not done so then the plan the Friar had devised would not have failed, and if the plan had succeeded then Romeo and Juliet would not have died.

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Due to his young age he was impatient and this impatience was a sign of his immaturity. He said to Lord Capulet when he wanted to speed up the wedding after Tybalt's death:

"These times of woe afford no times to woo"

Romeo and Juliet themselves can be to blame for their own suicides, they were young and naﶥ, they propelled themselves into marriage, and therefore a sexual relationship within only two days. Juliet, whom only hours before meeting Romeo had never even thought of love or marriage and then suddenly proposed to the first man she met. She had said to her parents about marriage:

"It is an honour I thought not of"

Romeo, who just hours previously was passionately in love with Rosaline, then forgot her. He said about Rosaline:

" She'll not be hit

With Cupid's arrow: she hath Dian's wit"

He was comparing Rosaline to Diana - a chaste goddess, when he suddenly dropped this goddess, for someone he had only just met.

Both Romeo and Juliet as the youngest members in the play could have been said to be almost solely to blame for their own deaths because of this. Due to their immaturity they still relied on others to help them and this involvement was their downfall. If they had kept themselves to themselves then maybe they would have had a chance together and would definitely not have had to die for each other.

However, the elders in the play can be blamed also and so should not be excluded. The Friar was the most influential man in both Romeo and Juliet's lives. The church had played an important role throughout their lives and as an older man he should have understood the younger generation's needs having watched them all grow up. He should have known, as a member of the church and as a mature adult, that deceit and lies were not a way to get what was best. Although, whilst he was helping Romeo and Juliet, he did continuously warn them to take things slowly and to think what they were doing. He warned Romeo not to rush into things, he said:

"Therefore love moderately - long love doth so:"

With this statement he was trying to explain to Romeo that it was best to love Juliet slowly, to strengthen their love they would have to take things a step at a time and then their love would last longer. This was mature advice Romeo and Juliet should have heeded because if they had done so, they probably would not have died.

The Nurse was one of the most, if not the most influential person in Juliet's life and in this respected position, as an adult, she should have thought more into how she acted and influenced Juliet. She was constantly making smutty, dirty jokes around Juliet that would have given her the impression it was right to get into a sexual relationship at her age and this strong influence may have affected her judgement when it came to Romeo.

Yet, she always wanted what was best for Juliet, when Juliet's father turned on her, she intervened and in the case of Romeo, she gave him this warning:

"But first, let me tell ye, if ye should lead her

in a fool's paradise, as they say, it were a very gross

kind of behaviour, as they say; for the gentlewoman

is young; and, therefore, if you should deal double

with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered to

any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing."

It can be said that the Prince helped and was a major part in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. He did not try hard enough to prevent the feuding on his streets of Verona between the Capulets and the Montagues, if the Prince had tried harder to stop that, as an older, wiser man should have, Romeo may not have been banished and Romeo and Juliet probably would not have had to die to be together.

He did not act how a mature adult should have, he based his decisions to banish Romeo on circumstantial evidence. Mercutio had explained his story, yet the Capulets themselves influenced his decision by weeping over the dead body of Tybalt and if he were to judge fairly, he would not have let that affect his decision. He said as he banished Romeo:

" And for that offence

Immediately we do exile him hence."

Romeo and Juliet's parents should have been the most influential people in their children's lives and in some ways they were, (Juliet had not thought of marriage until they suggested it, having chosen the man they wanted for her.) most of the time however, Romeo and Juliet's parents left the parental duties to others.

As elders, and wiser members of both the Montague and Capulet family they should have both talked together, forgot their petty squabbling and lived their lives as friends. They did not, so the younger generation inherited the dislike of each other and turned the dislike into an intense hatred for one another, hatred so intense that even the elders did not share it. For example when Romeo and his Montagues intruded on the Capulet's party Montague did not mind, it was young Tybalt who was outraged, Montague merely stated about Romeo:

" Verona brags of him

To be a virtuous and well governed youth."

If the elders had shared this liberality and calm thinking with their feisty, hatred filled children then Romeo and Juliet would not have died. Yet, the elders did not, they acted immaturely and not as adults should do and so in turn, they caused the deaths of their most beloved.

So with all this I can see that in my opinion the old are to blame and not the young, I believe this because if they had guided their children and thought of what was best for their younger generation and not what was beneficial to their own selfish needs. Acted more like parents and been more selfless, influencing them properly, then Romeo and Juliet would not have died. The elder generation should have called upon their life experiences and acted in a more mature way, talking to their children, explaining that fighting was wrong and should have seen, and explained that this lifetimes long feud was pointless. So, the Prince, the Friar, the Nurse, Lord and Lady Capulet and Lord and Lady Montague and the whole elder generation in "Romeo and Juliet" were all, in their own individual way to blame, they should have known how to act, should have helped more and should not have been selfish in their actions as they were.

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