Romeo and Juliet- Fate

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The events of Romeo and Juliet are heavily influenced by fate, as oppose to the actions of the characters. To be precise, occurrences in the play are not always as a result of conscience choices that characters make. Rather, chance occurrences (or predestination, depending on one's opinion) cause events to take place; these events seriously alter the course of the play. Fate affects us all every single day, but the sheer number of occurrences related to fate, as well as the powerful affect these events have on the plot creates a specific connection between the play of Romeo and Juliet and fate.

Shakespeare makes it very clear to us that Romeo and Juliet are subject to fate. Before the play even begins, Shakespeare outlines the play for us in the prologue. The prologue summarizes the plot, this seems odd, but this was because Shakespeare's audience was already familiar with the story and the play was a portrayal of the well-known story. Importantly, Shakespeare establishes immediately within the prologue that Romeo and Juliet's plot includes heavy elements of fate. "A pair of star-crossed take their life." (Shakespeare, Act 1 Prologue L.6) Shakespeare refers to Romeo and Juliet as "star-crossed", referring to the belief of predestination (fate) and its connection with the constellations. Additionally, the prologue indicates a second time that the plot is influenced by fate; "The fearful passage of their death-marked love." (Act 1 Prologue L.9) The love of Romeo and Juliet is "death-marked", meaning that it is destined to result in death. This evidence suggests that the tragedy occurs as a result of predestination instead of chance, but nonetheless, this is fate.

Fate has such a large roll in Romeo and Juliet that it influences not only the overall story, but also nearly every character in the play. Romeo is affected greatly by fate, arguably more so than any other character. Instances of Romeo being affected by fate abound in the play, from initial coincidences all the way up to his final dramatically ironic death. Romeo's involvement with Juliet in the first place is based on fate. "God gi' go-den. I pray, sir, can you read?" (Act 1 Sc.2 L.58) The illiterate servant that Romeo stumbles upon gives Romeo the opportunity to attend the Capulet party, if this incredibly unusual event had not taken place, Juliet would have married Paris. The entire balcony scene where Romeo establishes his love for Juliet happens as a result of fate. "It is my lady! O, it is my love!" (Act 2 Sc.2 L.10) Romeo ducked away from his friends and happened to stumble into the Capulet's orchard while came out on the balcony, an astonishing instance of fate. Fate seems to work against Romeo as well. At the party, Romeo stumbles into Tybalt (a confrontation that ultimately means death for Mercutio and Tybalt as well as exile for Romeo), "This, by his voice, should be a Montague." (Act 1 Sc.5 L.56) Tybalt stumbles into Romeo by hearing him; this is an unlikely (chance) occurrence. Romeo is clearly suspect to fate, but what affect does it have on his overall role? Everything. It is fate that causes Romeo to pursue Juliet, and ultimately fate that tears him away.

Juliet is subject to fate in very much the same way as Romeo. Juliet's relationship with Romeo happens as a result of fate on her part as well. Juliet meets Romeo in an unusual way, and only because they met in this way was it possible for Juliet to persist with Romeo. Had Juliet known Romeo was a Montague she would not have pursued him, but she did not know this. For she later asks her Nurse, "What is yond Gentleman?" (Act 2 Sc. 5 L.130) Therefore, Juliet is wooed by Romeo and falls in love with him, then only later finds out he is a Montague. Because Juliet had already fallen in love with Romeo, when she states, "My only love sprung from my only hate." She remains in love with Romeo, but she probably would not have done so had she first found out Romeo was a Montague, and then met him. Just...
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