William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's plays about tragedy. It is about two lovers who commit suicide when their feuding families prevent them from being together. There were several events leading up to their deaths. These events include their meeting and falling in love, their separation, their reunion and finally their suicides. The tragic death of both Romeo and Juliet is an indirect result of the decisions and actions of several characters in the play.

One example of such was when Benvolio told Romeo to "Go thither [to the Capulets' feast] and . . . compare [Rosaline's] face with some that I shall show . . . " (Act I, Scene 2, l. 85-87), he was unawarely setting the stage for the suicides of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo wouldn’t go at first, he was depressed because Rosaline didn't love him. On the insistence of Benvolio, Romeo unwillingly agreed to go. On the way to the feast Romeo still did not believe he could find a girl more beautiful than Rosaline. When he saw Juliet, however, his attitude as well as outlook on life had changed. This was the first action of many which led to the deaths of two lovers, Romeo and Juliet.

When Romeo and Juliet decided to get married, they too were bringing their suicides closer to becoming reality. They each fell in love with the looks of the other; it was love at first sight. However, they both knew that neither of their families would accept that they fell in love with someone from the feuding family. So they decided to marry secretly, not realizing that their parents might have plans to have them married. This unforeseen dilemma puts the two in as much blame as anyone for their own tragic deaths.

When Friar Lawrence first appeared in the play, he was talking of how good intentions can sometimes have bad results (in Act II, Scene 3). At the time that Romeo asked Friar Laurence to marry him and Juliet, he agreed to, thinking that he could marry the two and then announce it to the feuding families later. He had hoped that this secret marriage would end the feud between the two families. But when Romeo was banished, this was no longer an option. The Capulets would have been less than pleased to learn that their daughter was married to Tybalt’s killer. Thus, the Friar's good intentions led to bad results -- the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

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The feud between the two families was one of the many factor which contributed to the destructive outcome of Romeo and Juliet’s destined love. "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny".(Prologue, pg.9 l. 3) The two families, Montagues and Capulets, had many grudges for generations. There was so much hate between the two families that even the servants hated each other. This feud created many obstacles for Romeo and his sweet Juliet. These two young lovers knew the many consequences, and for that reason alone they chose to keep their marriage a secret. If their parents discovered their secret, they would have made their children's lives more miserable then one can only imagine. Romeo and Juliet would not have been able to see each other. In the prologue one learns that the only way the to bury "the strife" was to bury their children. "Doth with their death bury their parent's strife". (Prologue,pg.9, l. 8) Neither the Montagues nor the Capulets would have accepted the marriage. Keeping the marriage a secret caused Romeo and Juliet their lives.

The Nurse was one of the characters who betrayed the young couple. The Nurse who was not only Juliet’s nurse but also her friend, had turned against her at a very crucial time. The Nurse told Juliet that it would be best if she married Paris. "I think it best you married with the county". (Act 3, scene 5, l. 219) This betrayal by the Nurse left Juliet alone. She was a wise young woman but it still would have been beneficial for her to have the help of the Nurse. Juliet was left on her own to make some very important decisions. One can assume that if the Nurse had been around to help Juliet things may have turned out differently. Juliet had no one to turn to and ask for help. She could not have gone to her parents because they would not have understood. The Nurse was supposed to be one of Juliet's best friends. So, at a time when it was important for Juliet to have someone there for her to open up to, she had been left betrayed.

In reuniting the two lovers, timing played the largest role in deciding if they would live or die. Friar Laurence had two chances to deliver the message to Romeo regarding Juliet's present state. The first and most practical method of sending this message was through Romeo's "man", Balthasar. The second method was to send the message with Friar John. Timing was a crucial factor in both of these events. Friar Laurence had missed his opportunity to send the message with Balthasar and reverted to sending it with Friar John. Unfortunate for Friar Laurence, Friar John was locked up in a condemned house because of the plague. As a result Romeo received incorrect information about his sweet Juliet. The only information he received from the unsuspecting Balthasar was that Juliet was dead, and she was lying in a tomb at Friar’s cell. There are two important points to note in this area of the play, one being the fact that Balthasar gave Rome invalid information which had triggered Romeo to go and buy poison to poison himself. The second is the fact that Friar Laurence failed to send the telegram in time, the result of that was the devastating tragedy/death of Romeo and Juliet.

The tragic deaths of Romeo and of Juliet were the consequences of the actions and decisions of several characters. Benvolio had a part in it by telling Romeo to go to the Capulets' party. Romeo and Juliet themselves did not foresee the difficulties they would encounter if they would marry secretly. The Friar too did not foresee the difficulties when he married the two. Thus it was free-will of the characters, not fate, that was to blame for the deaths of the lovers Romeo and Juliet.

In the tomb, when Juliet awakens to see her husband's dead body, she learns what has happened. With no reason left to live, Juliet kills herself with Romeo's dagger. The tragedy has a tremendous impact on both the Montagues and the Capulets. The families are hurt so much by the death of their children that they agree to live in peace regardless of what had occurred in the past between the families and never fight again.

In conclusion, from the very beginning, the love of Romeo and Juliet was destined to be destroyed. It is tragic that both these people had to die. There were circumstances throughout the course of their lives that led up to their deaths. If their parent's had not been feuding and if the Nurse had not betrayed Juliet, the outcome of this story would have been different, although fate could not be changed. This was the most important factor in the lives of Romeo and his sweet Juliet.
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