Fate vs Free Will- Romeo and Juliet & West Side Story

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The Walls Go Crashing Down
When two people are meant to be together, no time is too long” (Anonymous). Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare and West Side Story by Arthur Laurents show the pure evils of acting extremely hastily and how it can change the outlook on the future. Romeo and Juliet are two young lovers who were taught to hate one another and who suffer deeply because of the consequences of fate. Romeo and Juliet’s deaths were sure to be tragic as was hinted at early on throughout the play. Both families suffer with the loss of their children as well as other family members. Maria and Tony are split from one another because of extreme violence, hatred, and the differences between their New York City gangs. Each of them uses their knowledge of the power of love in hopes of them being together forever. Choices both Maria and Tony made resulted in severe heartbreak, the death of three teenage peers in the gangs. Romeo and Juliet is controlled by fate, while West Side Story is driven by free will.

The events in Romeo and Juliet are very clearly compelled by fate. Undoubtedly, Lord Capulet tells his beloved daughter that she needs to marry Paris or he will disown her. Fate came into play in this situation because Juliet is already married to Romeo and if she were to marry Paris, she would break her vows with Romeo, the love of her life. Juliet then gets advice from Friar Laurence and says, “Tell me not friar, that thou hearest of this,/ Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it./ If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help,/ Do thou but call my resolution wise,/ And with this knife I’ll help it presently” (IV.i.50-54). Juliet is pleading to Friar Laurence for his help in the situation. She needs to find a way to avoid the upcoming marriage in hopes of being happy and with Romeo. Romeo helps the Capulet servant read the list of people invited to the party that night and is then asked to attend. Benvolio persuades Romeo into going to compare Rosaline to...
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