The tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet could have been avoided if many of the events that took place during the play had not occurred. Romeo and Juliet did not influence their own deaths as much as the other characters around them did. The events that took place may have only happened by coincidence, not a higher force. Thus there are three things that could have caused the deaths; other characters in the play, coincidence and fate.
All of the characters in this play made choices which have an affect on events that come about thus causing the deaths. All of these characters have different traits and personalities which influence the decisions that they make.
Romeo is a leading character in the play, he is a teenage boy in the later years of adolescence, I get the impression that he is in the age range eighteen to twenty-one. He is the eldest son of Lord and Lady Montague. He spends his time mostly with a group of friends, little of whom are known to the audience, only Benvolio, Mercutio and Balthazar. He falls deeply in love with Juliet, the only child of Lord and Lady Capulet.
The first time Romeo appears on stage he is behaving like a love sick teenager, he claims to be mourning over the lack of love a girl named Rosalind shows toward him (Act 1 Scene 1). However he is quick to forget these feelings as in Act 1 Scene 5 he falls in love with Juliet. This behaviour shows spontaneity and a need for drama. The fact that he was so keen to dismiss the feelings seen in Act 1 Scene 1 and transfers his feelings to Juliet so readily suggests that he was not at all in love with Rosalind but more in love with the idea of being in love. One trait that can be seen in Romeo’s character is immaturity. The spontaneous side of him controls his practicality making him behave much like a child in that he acts before he thinks and is unwilling to take the consequences for his actions, he chooses to blame his misfortune or the stars or fate instead. An example of this can be found in Act 3 Scene 1, after he has killed Tybalt and realises how he has jeopardised his new marriage he cries out “O, I am fortunes fool.” This event also reinforces the theory that he is quicker to act than he is to think.
Such qualities in Romeo affected his decision making, for example (Act 1 Scene 2) he does not think for long about the option to go tot the Caplets’ party or not, he decided to go to the party where the he meets Juliet for the first time. Similarly he asks her to marry him upon an impulse without thinking of the practicality of the situation. Again in Act 3 Scene 1 he chooses to kill Tybalt on a whim, this also proposes a subconscious yearning for drama in his life.
Juliet is the only child of Old Capulet and his wife, she is a young teenager around the age of thirteen years old.
Juliet falls in love with Romeo at the Caplets’ feast. Nurse is her friend and nanny; she was employed to look after Juliet from birth. Tybalt is Juliet’s cousin.
Juliet is a gentle girl, she is loyal, can think for herself and usually obeys her parents. She is practical as she knows her parents wish her to marry the County Paris, whom she does not love, and so asks Romeo to marry her which will stop her marriage to the county Paris going ahead and let her stay with the one she loves. Sometimes she does not think of the penalties of her actions but mostly does. She shows her loyalty to Romeo by taking the vile risking everything rather leading a safe life, this also shows that she is passionate about everything, she could not bear to live her life with no feeling, no Romeo. She shows her loyalty and love at the balcony scene,
” The orchard walls are high
and hard to climb
And the place death, considering
who thou art. ” (Act 2 Scene 2)
Juliet’s choices also depend on her characteristics. Her practicality and impulsiveness helped her to marry Romeo. Through loyalty she takes the potion and it is through passion that she dies for him.
Friar Laurence is the head friar for the whole of Verona, Caplets and Montague’s alike. He is quite elderly considering the average age of death in the time and place.
The Friar is likely to know everyone in the play but the only relationships that are known to the audience are Romeo, Juliet, Nurse, and Friar John. Friar John is a more inferior friar to the Friar Laurence and he could not deliver the message to Romeo because he was stuck in a quarantine house.