“Two households, both alike in dignity, / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, / From ancient grudge brakes to new mutiny, / Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. / From forth the fatal lions of these foes / A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life; / Whose misadventured piteous overthrows / Doth with their death bury their parents strife. / The fearful passage of their death-marked love, / And the continuance of their parents rage, / Which, but their childrens end, naught could remove” -The Prologue, Romeo and Juliet (by William Shakespeare).
Fate plays a major role in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The prologue describes Romeos and Juliets fate, which we see come up many times later on in the play. Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet unwittingly realize they cannot exist in such reality and that a tragic fate awaits them. The two families, the Montagues and the Capulets continue being rivals all the way to the end of the play until the inevitable event takes its place.
In the play, there are many pieces of evidence that further present the prologues sad foretold reality. Even as early as the first scene of the play, we already see some evidence to back up the prologue. “RomeoAnd makes himself and artificial night.” (I, i, 38) This passage can be seen as the foreshadowing of Romeos suicide.
Another line said by Montague, which is “Unless good council may the cause remove” (I, i, 140), also is evidence of Romeos tragedy. In the first act, Romeo is introduced. His great sadness is shown right away and the theme of love is seen as well. Through Romeos mellow mood we see how desperate he is for love.
Romeo is in love with Juliet, which is the daughter of an enemy to the house of Montagues. Fate is definitely involved here, and this innocent love is the first step in a chain of events that lead to the fate driven tragedy. In the same scene, Tybalt is infuriated with Romeo. He is ready to kill him and believes that Romeo is his sworn enemy.
Tybalt. This, by his voice, should be a MontagueFetch me my rapier, boy. What, dares the slaveCome hither, covered with an antic face,To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?Now, by the stock and honor of my kin,To strike him dead I hold not a sin.(I, vi, lines 54-59)And to even worsen the situation, Tybalt, says the following to his father, in the intent to show that he is not joking and that he is going to try and kill Romeo: “I will withdraw; but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet; convert to bittrest gall.
” (I, vi, lines 91-92) The two families rage here is shown and also fate takes its slow coarse and death is already foreshadowed. It is very important to emphasize at this point that the love between Romeo and Juliet cannot exist because of the rage between the two families. Fate is already taking its place. And this particular event, the first acquaintance between Romeo and Juliet, has started the chain of tragic events that shall eventually bring peace to the streets of Verona.
Here is another passage which underlines the effect of Romeos and Juliets deaths: “For this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households rancor to pure love.” Many times there are small reminders between the lines, of the tragic fate that the play is heading towards. Such one is this: “Friar. These violent delights have violent ends and in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which, as they kiss, consume.
” (II, vii, lines 9-11) This line tells of sad reality and its consequences. As tough as reality might be, it gets even worse for Juliet and her Romeo. She has to marry Parris because her father wants her to do so. She now has to hide her love and secretly meet Romeo, so that no man in Verona shall know of their forbidden love.
Her fate it sealed, as it now seems. But stars have different intents with Romeo and Juliet. As Juliet is in despair, she confronts the Friar Lawrence. They talk of how they shall not allow Juliet to marry Parris.
Juliet, in a state of madness, talks of horrible things, and convinces the Friar that she shall go to any means in order to avoid being with Parris. Going back on the events, fate has played its role many times. The quarrel between Tybalt and Mercutio is the aftermath of Romeos appearance at the Capulets Ball. When Mercutio is slain by Tybalt, Romeo seeks revenge, and in term, slays Tybalt.
The tragic cycle of events is leaving Romeo no choice but to flee Verona and live in the shadows until his name is forgotten and he is able to go back. Much is happening while he is gone, and in the midst of all the chaos, Juliet is in great depression, which brings us back to her talk with the Friar. Juliets father is a large disappointment, and his practical view of Juliets marriage consumes him and pushes his actions to extreme limits. He is so outraged at Juliet for not wanting to marry Parris, he holds himself no more and speaks his true thoughts.
Capulet. I tell thee what get thee to Church on ThursdayOr never after look me in the face.Speak not, reply not, do not answer me!My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce though us blestThat God has lent us but this only child;But now I see this one is one too much,And that we have a curse in having herOut on her, hilding!(III, vi, lines 162-169)Little does he know, that he is totally wrong.
God ( representing fate), send Juliet to stop the ageless war. It is not “a curse in having her”, but rather a blessing, which shall prove to be a tragic one indeed. The most fate driven event in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, must be the misunderstanding of Juliets death by the Romeos ambassador and the inability of the messenger to deliver the Friars letter to Romeo. Laurence.
Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo?John. I could not send it here it is again-Nor get a messenger to bring it thee,So fearful were they if infection.Laurence. Unhappy fortune!(VI, ii, lines 13-17)Here it is seen how fate has misguided the letter and Romeo had no way of knowing that Juliet was alive.
Now that he is blinded by madness and has no control over his feelings he is full of anger and nothing can stop him. His intentions are nothing but death. He does not want to live, if he cannot have Juliet. “Romeo.
Well Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.” (VI, I, 34) If only he would have known of the true state of Juliet, he would not go to such extreme measures. What he does not know is that Juliet is artificially asleep, and awaits his return. This information is concealed in the letter, but as one can see from Johns lines, the letter does not find its way to Romeo.
The prince finally sees how fate played a major role in Romeos and Juliets deaths. And in between the lines of his final speech he says, “That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.” (VI, iii, 293) As the play progresses, Romeo and Juliet, uncover their tragic fate. From the moment they meet to the moment they die, they knew their love was forbidden and could not survive in their reality.
Juliet. My only love, sprung from my only hate!Too early seen unkown, and unkown too late!Prodigious birth of love is to meThat I must love a loathed enemy. (I, vi, lines 139-142)The first time Juliet meets Romeo and falls in love with him, she finds out he is of the house of Montagues, and realizes how impossible their love is. Romeo is hot with fire and sees no limits to his love, and as at the end of the play he does, he talks of suicide and death as opposed to living without Juliet.
My life is better ended by their hateThan death prorogued, wanting of thy love.(II, ii, lines 77-78)And his love knows no limit:Romeo. With loves light wings did I oerperch These walls;For Stony limits cannot hold love out,And what love can do, that dares love attempt.(II, ii, lines 66-68)After Romeo kills Tybalt he shouts, “O, I am fortunes fool!” (III,I, 134) Here Romeo clearly understands the full impact of this tragic event on his future, and how everything that has happened to him after he met Juliet was not in his favor.
Fate is so strong that it works within the characters, and Juliet says “If all else fail, myself have power to die.” (III, vi, 244) , once she sees how all the events lead to a tragic end. The rivalry between the two families is first introduced in the prologue and continues until the very end of the play before the death of the two lovers. In the first act the servants boys from the tow families rant and make jokes about each others masters and reveal the one of the major conflicts of the play.
Fate is the driving force, that is set to stop the war between the two houses, therefore it is important to understand what is the motive behind Romeo and Juliets deaths from the prospective of fate. Many times in the play the two families have to confront each other in uncomfortable situations. Their first encounter that is seen in the play is after the prince has come to stop the chaos on the streets after being told of the quarrels going between the two families. Montague is all fired up after seeing Capulets men, and so is Capulet after seeing Montagues.
Capulet. My sword, I say! Old Montague is come And flourishes his blade in spite of me.Montague. Thou villain Capulet! Hold me not, let me go.
(I, i, 75-77)And so their hate continues to exist. Even after Tybalt is dead, and Mercutio lies beside him. The Capulets wife is not any better than her husband. After she sees Tybalt slain, she asks the Prince to punish Romeo, even though she is not certain how this tragic event came to be.
Only at the end of the play, after their childrens death do they realize how unjustifiable their hatred was, and how meaningless it was to pursue their ancestors sins towards one another. Montague. There shall no figure at such rate besetAs that of true and faithful Juliet.Capulet.
As rich shall Romeos by his lady lie-Poor sacrifices of our enmity!(V, iii, 302-304)In this exchange of apologies and forgiveness we see that both fathers are ready to put everything behind and honor each others child, for being messengers of love driven by fate to stop the cycle of hatred. That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.(v, iii, 293)The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is fate driven. All the events that happen in the play lead to one major event, for which the play is said to be tragic, in which for most part fate plays a large role.
Both destined lovers realize their love cannot be pure and simple, and that no matter what they do, it will be tragic. The two families, whos strife can only be stopped by the predetermined love of their offspring, seize the hatred between them.