I personally believe that Romeo and Juliet are tragic figures. The characters' personalities, the feud, and simple bad luck cause most of the problems that arise throughout the play. Tybalt indirectly causes Romeo's exile by attempting to incite him to a duel, which leads to Tybalt fighting with Mercutio, which in turn causes Romeo to kill Tybalt in revenge. Killing Tybalt caused not only Romeo's exile: it also triggered a chain of events leading to the deaths of Romeo, Juliet, Paris, and Lady Montague.
Another example of an event beyond the control of either Romeo or Juliet was the hastening of the marriage by Capulet so as to distract Juliet from what he mistakes for grief over Tybalt's demise. Juliet then drinks a sleeping potion created by Friar Laurence that gives her the appearance of death.
Friar John's delay is the most striking example of fate in Romeo and Juliet as the cause of it was completely out of the characters' control. Obviously, Romeo then believed Juliet to be dead, evntually causing him to kill Paris and himself.
The actions that were needed to prevent the unfortunate events in Romeo and Juliet directly contradict the characters' personalities. Romeo's inherent over-emotionalism eliminated nearly all possibility of a joyful ending.
In my opinion, Shakespeare clearly intended for romeo and Juliet to be viewed as tragic figures. Fate as a dominating force is evident from the very beginning of the play. The Chorus introduces the power of fortune in the opening prologue when we are told that Romeo and Juliet are "star-crossed" (destined for bad luck) and...