The ancient grudge is over. A young couple’s love has been destroyed and the great city of Verona is silent, mourning the death of these two ‘star crossed lovers’, but why did this tragedy occur?
I believe that the couple rushed into the relationship without thinking about the consequences. Juliet led a sheltered life and was very naï¿½ve. Juliet’s eagerness to enter a relationship could have caused her to overlook the very important family feud that would eventually destroy their relationship. Juliet had never had a relationship before and was keen to rush into one.
Romeo and Juliet fell in love with each other at their first meeting. In Baz Luhrman’s film this is at the Capulet party, they see each other through a fish tank perhaps indicating the separation between the two families. With Juliet dressed as an angel perhaps showing her innocence and Romeo as a bold courageous Knight. I think that Luhrman tried to use the costume they were dressed in to reflect their personalities.
Love cannot be ignored and Romeo and Juliet refused to let anything prevent them from seeing each other, although Juliet entered the relationship with questions. Juliet says,
“Lest that thy love prove likewise variable”
Showing that Juliet feels that their love is too sudden. Romeo on the other hand expects more from the relationship saying,
“O wilt thou leaving me unsatisfied”.
Romeo expects more so early into the relationship, showing lustful and fickle personality having only just ended a relationship with Rosaline.
Friar Lawrence plays a significant part in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, although, they are no direct fault of his own. The Friar is at first persuaded by Romeo to marry the young couple and later by Juliet to help her escape from Verona to re-unite with her darling Romeo. However the Friar should have foreseen the many complications that could arise by marrying the couple. The Friar has some good reasons for carrying out the ceremony, he says,
“To turn your household’s rancour to pure love”.
The Friar was keen to end the feud between the two households and believed marrying the young lovers would be a good way of achieving this. Eventually the feud did end but only after the death of the married couple.
The Nurse could have also helped to save Romeo and Juliet by revealing their secret to Juliet’s parents, even though it would severely harm her relationship with Juliet. The two lovers might not have died and their relationship may have eventually been accepted. The Nurse showed loyalty towards Juliet. This is evident from the warning she gave her when her mother was about to enter her room. She says to Romeo and Juliet,
“Your mother is coming to your chamber. The day is broke look about”.
I feel that the Nurse wants Juliet to be happy and she wants to protect her.
The Prince had the responsibility of keeping law and order in Verona. I feel that if the fighting was stopped earlier by the Prince it could have saved the lives of not just Romeo and Juliet but also of Mercutio and Tybalt.
Tybalt, the cousin of Juliet, was a major factor in the cause of their death. Tybalt was the only member of the Capulet family that demonstrated a negative attitude toward the Montague family. Tybalt said,
“It fits when such a villain is a guest: I’ll not endure him.”
This quote shows that Tybalt is not willing for member of the Montague family to be present at a Capulet party even though his uncle, Juliet’s father, says,
“He shall be endured.”
Capulet shows that he does not mind the Montagues being present at the party and he does not want to instigate any trouble. This starts a feeling of anger and resentment by Tybalt towards the Montague family, especially Romeo. Tybalt willingness to start a fight with the Montagues, demonstrates his eagerness to uphold the feud.
In Baz Luhrman’s interpretation of the play Tybalt was dressed as a devil at the Capulet party, I believe Luhrman wanted to portray Tybalt as a nasty and evil character.
Tybalt’s blood thirsty personality played a large part in the death of Romeo and Juliet. In Act 3, Scene 1 Tybalt came looking for a fight with Romeo.
“Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries. That thou hast done me, therefore turn and draw”.
Mercutio, Romeo’s friend, fought Tybalt but was killed. His actions show the close relationship that existed between these two friends.
“Come sir, your passado.
As Mercutio dies he says,
“A plague a’both your houses”
Mercutio shows his anger regarding the feud and wishes a curse on the houses of the Montagues and the Capulets.
Romeo kills Tybalt in revenge of Mercutio’s death. This action acts as a means of making the Romeo and Juliet’s situation worse. As a result of Tybalt’s murder the Prince decided to banish Romeo from Verona. Consequently, Romeo could no longer see Juliet.
In the absence of the feud, I believe that no lives would have been lost as Tybalt would not have resented the Montague family and the Montagues and the Capulets would not have opposed with the relationship between Romeo and Juliet.
This quotation shows that even from the very beginning, the young couple were doomed. “Star-crossed” refers to the prediction on destiny as far as astrology was concerned. People of Shakespeare’s time had greater belief in astrological predictions. By including this quotation so early in the play, Shakespeare creates a sense of anticipation. From this point, they know what the eventual outcome will be but the questions of how and why are only answered as the play advances.
After the Capulet party, Juliet mentions fate having realised that Romeo is a Montague:
“My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy.”
Juliet seems to suggest that the meeting of herself and Romeo was possibly too remarkable to be based on coincidence alone. She recognises the ironic situation of her ‘only love’ (Romeo) sprung from her ‘only hate’ (Montague’s). By including these lines, a tense atmosphere is created by indicating how the lovers will meet their downfall.
When Juliet talks to the Nurse after finding out about Romeo’s banishment, she cries out a further statement based on fate:
“Alack, alack, that heaven should practise stratagems
Upon so soft a subject as myself!”
This statement indicates Juliet’s sorrow at hearing of her lover’s banishment. She mentions ‘heaven’s stratagems’, meaning fate. By including these lines, Shakespeare tries to make the audience pity the doomed couple, particularly the blameless young Juliet, whilst realising that their sad destiny cannot be changed.
A further example of one of the characters from the play referring to fate is when Friar Lawrence is talking to Juliet shortly before she stabs herself:
“A greater power than we can contradict
Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away.”
The ‘greater power’ to which Friar Lawrence refers is fate. Again, the blame is placed on a higher power rather than an individual, indicating his desire to make the audience believe that fate was responsible for the deaths of the young couple rather than any person or thing.
Oxymoron’s are used frequently throughout the play. I think Shakespeare uses the oxymoron’s for example,
“loving hate”, “waking sleep”, and “cold fire”
I think that Shakespeare has used oxymorons to represent the opposites in the play for instance the completely opposite feelings that Juliet has for Romeo compared to those of her family towards Romeo.
In conclusion I believe that the death of Romeo and Juliet was caused by numerous parties. However, I do feel that without the feud, lives would have been saved and the relationship between Romeo and Juliet might have been a successful one. The feud led to hatred between the two families and Tybalt acted as a catalyst of events. In my opinion, the cause of this argument occurred years before anyone involved was born. My view is that without the feud, this play would have been a romantic love story, not a tragedy.