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The phrase “a pair of star-crossed” lovers first appears in the
prologue of the story so you immediately get the impression of a love
story. The Elizabethans were big fans of astrology and horoscopes and
the idea of fate was a big part of the Elizabethan lifestyle.
Throughout the story the characters mention fate, or how its God’s
choice to make there decisions. The reader knows immediately that
Romeo and Juliet are going to die after reading the prologue so the
questions are asked why would two star-crossed lovers end up dying?
Shakespeare was famous for his tragedy plays and it was him who
controlled the characters but he uses the words of the characters
themselves to map out there own fate.
We must look at what the characters say to see how they suggest fate
in their lives. The three key scenes where fate is shown are at the
Capulet’s party, the fight scene with Tybalt, Romeo and Mercutio, and
the death of Romeo and Juliet.
At the Capulet party, Romeo knows that he shouldn’t be there, but
comes along anyway not knowing what to expect. He notices that his ex
love Rosaline is that the party and as he loves her no more his heart
is open for a new women. It was by pure chance that he happens to meet
Juliet at the exact time he did, and manage to get a chance to talk
with her and kiss her. He says, " Did my heart love till now? Forswear
it, sight! For ne'er saw true beauty till this night."
He is already declaring his love to Juliet and wants to contain their
love with marriage.
After Tybalt has seen Romeo and Capulet stops him from causing
trouble, Tybalt states “I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, Now
seeming sweet, convert to bitt’rest gall”
This gives the idea that Tybalt will not let this go and the two will
meet again in the future.
In the same scene it cuts to Juliet and her Nurse.
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married, My grave is like to be my wedding bed”. So if Romeo were
already taken then she would never fall in love with anyone else. This
ties the Romeo and Juliet together as they can only love one another
and no one else.
Friar Lawrence warns Romeo that rushing into things with Juliet is
unwise and can only have a negative outcome. “ Wisely and slowly, they
stumble that run fast”
This in turn tells us that something may go wrong as it is at the end
of the scene and has some significance.
In the fight scene with Tybalt and Mercutio is again pure coincidence
they meet up and as the fight ensues, Romeo also happens to turn up.
Mercutio’s death allows Tybalt and Romeo to have a showdown that
Tybalt had wanted after not getting him at the party. They fight and
Romeo comes victorious. He knows although he won he is in trouble with
the law and he utters the words “O, I am fortunes fall”
This however was not natural fate, but it was of Romeos doing as he
attacked in anger at Tybalt for revenge of Mercutio’s death.
The Banishment of Romeo means that he could not be with Juliet which
is the worst thing that could to happen to them so extreme measures
have to be taken for them to see each other. To spell an end to Romeo,
Shakespeare made Friar John the messenger to late to deliver the
message to Romeo
In conclusion Romeo and Juliet are not only victims of fate, but also
of coincidence. All the scenes of coincidence fit perfectly into to
play to form a tragic tale. From Romeo and Juliet first meeting, to
Rome dying minutes before Juliet wakes up, it is all perfectly staged.
It is however the Capulet party scene where the characters fate begins
to unfold. It is where the two main characters meet, where in the end
they will die. It is where Tybalt begins his undying hatred of Romeo,
which ultimately leads to his death. From Tybalts death Romeo gets
banished and it’s from his banishment that the final plan to reunite
them fails and both Romeo and Juliet die.