Four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare wrote the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, a popular play that continues to capture the imagination and emotions of people around the world. The drama portrays the passionate, violent and often desperate lives of the youth of Verona. Even today, the tragedy resembles a blueprint of the problems that the adolescents of the twentieth century must face each day.
In this play, Shakespeare explores the pitfalls of young love and the consequences they face from their actions. They explained their love to be true love and they knew that they had to be together, even though their families were enemies and it was truly forbidden for the two of them to marry. This created countless problems for these two young lovers, whose lives ended as a result of this feud.
This play is extremely popular. Even so long after it had been written. This play is very popular with all ages. It is especially popular with teenagers. It is so popular with teenagers because it is easy for them to relate to Romeo and Juliet.
Who or what is responsible for the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet? Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, is a tragic love story about two young lovers whose’ love was destined for destruction. These two young star-crossed lovers did not imagine that their love would lead to the tragedies that it did. They did nothing wrong except fall in love. Three aspects of their destruction included the feud between the two, Friar Lawrence because of his irresponsible actions and the most important aspect of all is fate. The feud was an aspect of this tragedy as the obstacle of not being able to see each other proved too great. In a way, Friar Lawrence can also be to blame as he did agree to marry Romeo and Juliet without their parents’ consent. I believe fate played the most important part in the tragic end. It seems this tragedy was unavoidable.
The feud between the families partly caused the deaths. They were not allowed to see each other. Perhaps if they were allowed to and the parents knew about the situation, Romeo and Juliet may have been convinced by their parents that they were moving too fast and possibly would have agreed to wait. If all the above happened, it is highly unlikely it would have all ended tragically. The hate between the families was so great that even the servants hated each other. The fight scene at the beginning of the play shows this, (act 1 scene 1 line 1). This feud caused countless problems for the two young lovers.
Friar Lawrence was also responsible. It was his idea for Juliet to fake her death. His plan failed and Romeo and Juliet’s lives ended. Perhaps if the Friar had taken his own advice, and not allowed Romeo and Juliet to rush their marriage, they might have lived. There is no doubt that Friar Lawrence is responsible, but to what extent? It can be said that the feud between the families forced the Friar to act like he did. He only wanted Romeo and Juliet to be happy so he did what he thought was necessary, but this does not excuse him, nothing can. What he did was wrong. He shouldn’t have agreed to marry the two without their parents’ consent. He should have informed the parents of the situation. The Friar was a good man. The prince also thought so and didn’t punish the Friar. (act 5 scene 3 line 274-275). Even though he meant well, he was still wrong.
Fate was also a factor of the tragedy, but to what extent? Before judging to what extent fate was responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, we need to define what fate is. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, fate is the ‘ inevitable destiny or necessity destined term of life; doom.’ So basically fate is a pre-arranged sequence of events in someone’s life. In ‘Romeo and Juliet’, was fate the main cause of the deaths of the young couple, or was their death caused by the mistakes of themselves and others? Today, most people choose to believe that they have responsibility and control their own lives. They believe that their problems are caused by the actions of themselves or those who are around them. From one point of view, it is true that the deaths of Romeo and Juliet were caused by the mistakes they made themselves, but from another, it couldn’t have been avoided. In my opinion, it was fate. This is because the sender of the message was not allowed into Mantua. Even if he did get in, Romeo wouldn’t have received the message as he was already informed by Baltazar that Juliet had passed away and hurried to Verona. In result he thought Juliet was dead and he killed himself. Some say if the message was sent sooner by Friar Lawrence, they may have lived, but I disagree. Simply because what happened didn’t seem like a coincidence. Too many things happened for it to be coincidence. It could only have been fate.
Shakespeare’s use of language engages the audience in the tragedy. Throughout the play, his language of love makes the audience feel empathy for the Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare writes things such as,
Shakespeare used many oxymorons in the story of Romeo and Juliet. These oxymorons show contrast in the play. The main contrast is of love and hate which is the central theme. The whole play is based around the fact that Romeo and Juliet love each other but the hatred between their families creates many problems for them.
The prologue played a very important part in the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet. It tells the audience the basic story line of the play. The prologue talks about tragedy and this makes it seem that everything that happens in the play is pre-destined. This also creates a sense of dramatic irony, as the audience knows that everything will end in tragedy.
In conclusion the central tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is very engaging, even so many years after it was first written. It is so popular because it is based on love and hate, which is universal and something every one of us can relate to. Teenagers find this play very easy to relate to, especially those who have experienced young love and realise the pressures they must face.