A Justified Tragedy
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare is considered part of the tragic genre, and justly so. Throughout the play, aspects that align with the Greeks definition of tragedy appear frequently. Because of the multiple appearances, combined with many other aspects, Romeo and Juliet, is indeed a tragedy. The characteristics of Romeo and Juliet fit those required of a tragic protagonist. Romeo and Juliet come from “Two households, both alike in dignity” (1.1.1), as do all protagonists in tragedies. Once Romeo and Juliet become wed, Romeo shows his tragic flaw while leaving “Tybalt slain” (3.1.128) in the streets of Verona. This action brings out Romeo’s character flaw, impulsiveness. He kills Tybalt, not thinking of the consequences to come and now he must deal with them. After Romeo’s tragic flaw becomes obvious, he comes to his downfall when having to deal with his “banishment” (3.3.11). Romeo clearly does not wish to accept this fate as he had just married Juliet. Banishment is the highest form of Greek punishment so it is suitable for the protagonist of a tragedy. The ending of Romeo’s downfall is death, which was by his own hand. This is another example of his impulsiveness, since Juliet is not deceased, but alive and following the Friar’s plan. He acts upon this situation before he can see the outcome of the plan, instead of waiting and going to the funeral where he would have been once again united with his lover. Romeo was too urgent to make a quick and costly decision that would end both his and his lovers life. That brings the spotlight to Juliet’s tragic flaws, which include putting too much trust in others and her loyalty to Romeo. She willingly takes a “vial” (4.1.93) of potion to make her appear dead when really she is not, so that she can see Romeo again. She put too much trust into Friar Lawrence’s plan, which failed, and led to the eventual deaths of both Romeo and Juliet. The protagonists...
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