Who's to Blame for the Deaths of Romeo and Juliet

Who's to Blame for the Deaths of Romeo and Juliet

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“Some shall be pardoned and some shall be punished.” Whom do you think
is to blame for the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

Shakespeare did not invent this play himself as his main source was a
version from Arthur Brooke. “The Tragicall History of Romeous and
Juliet.”

Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story. They both chose to die
together rather than to live without each other. In the beginning
their fate is already destined for them both. It is “death marked”
love which is pronounced in the Prologue.

“A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;

Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows

Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.

The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love.”

The feuding from the two enemies, the Capulet household and the
Montague household are one of the reasons to be blamed for the deaths.
They are involved in an “ancient grudge” which Shakespeare does not
tell us about and he does not inform the audience about how it
started, this perhaps makes it more intriguing. However, this makes
the situation worse for Romeo and Juliet as they are the son and
daughter of the two enemies, but fate brings them together.

Already Shakespeare has set the mood for the first scene and
throughout the play, there is an extreme amount of tension and we can
see that the two enemies are drawn together by hatred and violence.
Early on the conflict between the Montague’s and the Capulet’s show
this, the feuding is liable for the tragic deaths.

The parents are to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet as they
push for an arranged marriage, Paris is eager to marry Juliet and Old
Capulet invites him to meet her at a family ball. Juliet’s parents are
happy about Paris, making him the ideal husband for her and as Old
Capulet will not tolerate disobedience “Hang thee, young baggage,
disobedient wretch!” Juliet is willing to follow her parent’s orders.
But as the night draws on at the family ball Romeo arrives and sees

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Juliet and immediately falls in love with her.

To a certain extent the feuding is directly responsible for the
secrecy of the marriage because of Romeo being the enemy’s son, which
is another reason to blame for the death of the two lovers. Also Paris
is eager to marry her and her parents are happy, this then forces
Juliet to marry Romeo quickly.

As the play draws on, the love of Romeo and Juliet increases and their
passion towards each other are extremely powerful. Throughout the play
Shakespeare uses may literary techniques including alliteration, for
example “Love’s light wings” This is found in act 2 scene 2, Romeo
states that he wants to fly over the wall just to see Juliet and does
not care if anyone sees him. This is an example of Romeo and Juliet
falling sincerely in love with each other. They also do not understand
the hatred of the two household and why they are quarrelling, that
also applies to the servants. They believe that they should keep the
family honour but they do not know why the two households are
quarrelling.

Romeo and Juliet can only turn to Friar Laurence for help throughout
the play. He represents God, religion, moral guidance and support. As
he is persuaded to marry Romeo and Juliet “I’ll tell thee as we pass,
but I pray, that thou consent to marry us today.” He is motivated by
the best intentions to make peace between the two families, he uses
love to conquer hate.

But Friar Laurence is partially to blame for the deaths, he was the
one to plot the scheme, but his good intentions to marry Romeo and
Juliet and to make peace within the families goes wrong. It was him
that gave the “poison” to Juliet.

It is also dramatic irony, as we the audience know that Juliet is not
dead as she has taken the “poison” she is just sleeping.

“Myself condemned and myself excus’d” Here an oxymoron illustrates
Friar Laurence, he blames himself for the calamity of what has
happened.

Benvolio is one of Romeo’s friends, he is a serious and sensitive
young man and he represents the role of the peacemaker. In the
beginning of the play he has always questioned and persuaded Romeo to
say why he is so depressed, he has the best intentions to make Romeo
happy. “Tell me in sadness, who is it you love?” (Act1, Scene1)

In Act3 Scene1, Tybalt and Mercutio are fighting; they both want to
honour their family, and again Benvolio wants peace. Romeo does not
want to fight Tybalt because he wants to honour both families, as he
is married to a Capulet. But as Mercutio is killed by Tybalt, Romeo
changes immediately in character, he is infuriated about the death of
his friend, he turns to violence. They both fight and he then kills
Tybalt Juliet’s cousin. Benvolio is protective about his friend and he
orders Romeo to go from Verona. Romeo believes in fortune and fate, he
blames himself for what he has done. “O, I am fortune’s fool.”

As Romeo flees from Verona, the citizens, the officers of the watch,
the Prince and the heads of the households appear, the Prince demands
to know the truth.

“Benvolio who began this bloody fray?”

As Benvolio is meant to be on Romeo’s side he tells the truth to the
Prince, he is loyal, but at the same time he is moderately to blame
for the deaths. He was the one who told the Prince what exactly
happened and it was him who told everyone that Romeo had killed
Tybalt.

To some extent the Nurse is also to blame for the deaths of Romeo and
Juliet; early on she is quite caring and compassionate for Juliet but
then she is insensitive and immoral. The Nurse respects the Friar but
is bawdy with others. She often speaks in prose rather than in a
poetic verse. She has little regard for Juliet’s feelings as she
delays giving Romeo’s message. She often alters her mentality whenever
the opinions in mind. For example, she supports Lady Capulet in praise
of Paris and then she helps Juliet arrange the marriage to Romeo. She
also warns Romeo and Juliet of the approach of Lady Capulet in Act3
Scene 5 and yet at the end she much prefers Paris saying, “Romeo’s a
dishclout to him” and suggests Juliet should marry Paris. The Nurse is
also prone to exaggerate

“I think it best you married with the County.

O, he’s a lovely gentleman!”

As Juliet and her parents have had a dispute she demands comfort from
her Nurse, but she had no comfort to offer. The Nurse lets down Juliet
at a crucial time in Act 3 Scene 5 and Juliet is infuriated by it. She
is completely alone and isolated.

Old Capulet wants the best for his daughter, he believes that she
grieves for the death of her cousin Tybalt, and thinks marriage to
Paris will make her happy. This is why he agrees to the marriage
without consulting her. “She shall be married to this noble earl.”
(Act3 Scene 4) But as Juliet’s parents learn that she does not want to
marry Paris they are outraged.

Romeo and Juliet believe strongly about fate and fortune. It is fate
which determines that the lovers should be born of enemy families,
that Mercutio should be killed by Tybalt, that Friar Laurence’s letter
should not be delivered. This is what destroys them. Romeo blames
himself “O, I am fortune’s fool.” And later on he speaks of himself of
his “betossed soul” suggesting that he is blown all over by fate.

Juliet exclaims that she is a weak victim of fate’s schemes “Alack,
alack, that heaven should practise stratagems/Upon so soft a subject
as myself!”

Overall no one in particular is to be blamed for the deaths of Romeo
and Juliet. Everyone had a contribution and a part to play in their
deaths. It was a remarkable turning point for both families as they
are joined together at the end, but they are told by the Prince that
their deaths are “bitter-sweet” Shakespeare uses an oxymoron as indeed
their deaths were bitter and united in death, their love is sweet.
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