Question 11: What role does fate play in Romeo and Juliet?
Shakespeare refers to Romeo and Juliet as “star-crossed lovers.” We can not deny
the fact that they are ‘destined to be together,’ it is just something that the reader must
accept. Fate is inevitable throughout the whole play; Shakespeare never gives readers an
explanation as to why there is a feud between the Capulets and the Montagues, it is rather
an undeniable aspect of the world of the play. The events surrounding the love affair of
Romeo and Juliet are not merely coincidences, but rather all elements that will bring out
the unavoidable outcome of the young lovers’ deaths.
When fate begins to work its magic, the events of the play and the work of
Shakespeare begins to unravel itself. The only reason Romeo decides to attend the
Capulet’s ball is entirely in the hands of destiny. By chance, a young knave of the
Capulet’s, who could not read himself, had asked Romeo to read an invitation list for the
ball. Young Romeo was hopelessly I love with Rosaline at this time, and he attended the
party only in hopes of seeing her. However, at the ball, Romeo falls in love with fair
Juliet the moment he lays eyes on her. We can easily say that Romeo and Juliet were
’destined’ to meet and fall in love.
After meeting Romeo that night, Juliet is talking to her nurse; ridiculously
desperate and dramatic. She has not known man for more than three hours, yet she is
hinting that she will die if she does not marry him; as given when she says, “If he be
married my grave be my wedding bed.” Acts I and II will appear completely ironic to
those who know of the events yet to come. Juliet continues to talk about how their love
will kill him, “Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing,” this being one of the most
ironic of quotes, as it turns out that their love is the actual cause of their deaths.