Fate in Romeo and Juliet

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Fate, for better or worse, interrupts everyone's daily life, whether he/she chooses to acknowledge it or not. Thinking about fate conjures up different feelings for different people; some people believe strongly in it, some people think of fate as ridiculous, and some do not care one way or the other. However, in many instances, such as in William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, far too many coincidences occur to be strictly coincidental. Fate creates a powerful effect throughout the entire play, starting in the prologue, continuing as Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love, and tragically ending in the lovers' deaths.

In the prologue, Shakespeare makes it undoubtedly clear that Romeo and Juliet are subject to fate. The audience is first introduced to Shakespeare's ideas of fate when he describes Romeo and Juliet as "star-cross'd lovers" (I. Prologue. l. 6). Shakespeare chooses to refer to the lovers as being "star-cross'd", meaning that they are doomed from birth because of the position of the planets at that time. This conveys to the reader that no matter what actions Romeo and Juliet take during the course of the play, their destinies remain doomed. Farther along in the prologue, Shakespeare continues to interpolate fate into his play, referring to the love of Romeo and Juliet as "death-mark'd," (I. Prologue. l. 9) another word describing fate. By using this specific word, Shakespeare informs his audience that the love of Romeo and Juliet is destined to end in death. Because of the use of two very strong words describing fate, "star-crossed" and "death-marked," a reader easily sees that Romeo and Juliet possess little control over the events that eventually lead to their deaths.

After the initial dose of fate in the prologue, Shakespeare continues to utilize fate as Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love. As Romeo and his cousin, Benvolio, stroll down a street near the Capulet's house (I. ii), an illiterate servant with a list of invitees...
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