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Fate's misfortune in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"

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Fate's misfortune in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"

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In modern times, and in the Elizabethan era, fate plays an

important role in people's lives. Many people believe it to be written

in stone, and unchangeable. Many others believe it to be controlled

by a person's own actions. In Romeo and Juliet, fate is one of the

main themes, described as having power over many of the events in

the play. Fate is often called upon, wondered about, and blamed for

mishaps. However, where fate is blamed in the play as the ultimate

cause for a mishap, there is always an underlying action, or

combination of them, on the part of human beings that decides the

consequences. Human weakness, the loss of self-control, is always

the direct cause of a bad choice or mishap, and not fate itself.

One of the most noted instances where fate is blamed for a

mishap is when Romeo cries out the he supposedly is fortune's fool.

He claims that fate has brought on Mercutio's death, and has lead

him to kill Tybalt in revenge.

In Act 3, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is seen to be

upset at Mercutio's death and predicts that the "days black fate on

more days doth depend." (III, I, 118) Tybalt then re-enters and

Romeo becomes more upset that Tybalt is triumphant with Mercutio

being dead (III, I, 121). As Romeo becomes overwhelmed with

Mercutio's death and Tybalt's joy over it, he suddenly declares that

either he or Tybalt must die with Mercutio (III, I, 128). Tybalt

responds predictably and threatens Romeo (III, I, 129). Romeo takes

the threat, then fights Tybalt until Tybalt is finally killed. When Tybalt

dies, Romeo suddenly comes to grips with what he has done, and,

unable to believe that he did this of his own will, cries out that he is

fortune's fool (III, I, 135).

While many people may say that Romeo's grief caused him to

kill Tybalt, this still places no responsibility on fate. Romeo, being a

peaceful individual, should have kept as much of his cool as possible...