Nicholas Sparks once said “ we fell in love, despite our differences, once we did, something rare and beautiful was created.” In “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare demonstrates just how beautiful—and fragile—the balance of love is. Although the beauty of Romeo and Juliet’s love is arguable, the fallout of their love is caused by several dynamics; such as destiny, decisions made by others and decisions made by Romeo and Juliet all play a large role in the demise of this “pair of star-crossed lovers.”(pro.6).
From the beginning it is evident that destiny plays a large role in the lovers’ tale. For attention is drawn to this from the very start:
Two households both alike in dignity,
In fait Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal lions of these two foes,
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife(Pro.1-6). This ancient feud has essentially left the two families doomed by fate to have their children-- the “star-crossed lovers”—Romeo and Juliet fall in love leading to a fatal ending. Had the two families ended their naïve quarrel and looked past each other’s flaws perhaps the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet would have never happened. Although Romeo’s intuition tells him to stay home: “For [his] mind misgives some consequence, yet hanging in the stars…”(1.4.106-07) he ignores his better judgment and attends a party, his family’s rivals the, Capulets, are hosting. If Romeo had listened to his intuition instead of attending the party; he would have never met Juliet and fallen in love with the forbidden fruit of the Capulets. Which in turn would have prevented the define demise of their lines. However destiny is an unstoppable force thus fate continues to guide Romeo the tragic pursuit of Juliet. Romeo beside himself with grief and rage challenges their fate when he hears of Juliet’s death: “Is it e’en so? [t]hen I defy you, stars!”(5.1.24). Romeo leaps into action, quickly planning his own death. Perhaps if he had taken a moment to think things through and not react so rashly the lovers would have had their happily ever after.
Fate, however, is not the only dynamics that brings these lovers to their end. The actions of others also play a role in it as well. True, not all the actions of others are intended to cause a tragic end to the two lovers. Friar Lawrence tries to warn Romeo of how dangerous his haste could be” FRIAR LAWRENCE. But come young waverer, come go with me. In one respect I’ll thy assist be; for this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households’ rancor to pure love.” ROMEO. O let us hence! I stand on sudden haste.
FRIAR LAWRENCE. Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.”(2.3.89-94). Had Romeo heeded the Friar’s warnings of slowing things down, his and Juliet’s deaths might not have happened. Indeed Juliet’s father, Capulet, has a large part in the demise of the young lovers. Capulet begins a hasty preparation for a wedding, but not the wedding of Romeo and Juliet. No, Capulet is planning the wedding of Juliet and Paris:
“Monday! Ha, Ha! Well, Wednesday is too soon.
A Thursday let it be---a Thursday, tell her,
She shall be married to this noble earl.
Will you be ready? Do you like this haste?” (3.4.19-22)
Of coarse, Juliet refuses to marry Paris in such haste, which infuriates Capulet: “God’s bread! It makes me mad”(3.5.176). Continuing on his rant, He threatens to disown Juliet: “But, an you will not wed, I’ll pardon you. Graze where you will, you shall not house with me.”(3.5.188-89). Due to Capulet’s hasty wedding plans and threats, Juliet feels as though killing herself is her only way out of this. If Capulet had listened to Juliet’s plea to postpone the wedding, the tragedy could potentially be prevented. Friar Lawrence assists in more that one way it seems. Unfortunately Friar Lawrence’s mistake is one of the greatest: FRIAR LAWRENCE. Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo?
FRAIR JOHN. I could not send it – here it is again –
Nor get a messenger to bring it to thee,
So fearful were they of infection (5.2.13-19).
Juliet and Friar Lawrence both think Romeo is aware of the situation and should be there shortly to complete his part in all this, only to find that Romeo has no idea. Romeo, having no idea that Juliet is faking her death, thinks she is truly dead. If the letter had been delivered on time he would have arrived just as Juliet awoke, in turn living happily ever after.
The final dynamic that plays a role in the fallout if the “star-crossed lovers” is the actions of the lovers themselves. After fighting with her father, Juliet goes to see Friar Lawrence to enlist his help: Give me some present counsel; or, behold,
‘Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
Shall play the vampire, arbitrary that
Which the commission of thy years and art
Could to no issue of the true honor bring.
Be not so long to speak. I long to die
If what thou speakst speak not of remedy (4.2.61-7).
At which point friar Lawrence suggests Juliet fakes her death, since she is already willing to die forever. If Juliet had just waited to go through with this plan until Romeo was fully aware of it, they both would have had a long happy life together. As a result of Juliet’s faked death and Romeo not getting the letter informing him the death is staged, Romeo reacts rashly: … I still will stay with thee
And never from this palace of dim light
Depart again. Here, here I will remain
With worms that are thy chambermaids. (5.3.106-09)
Romeo, thinking Juliet is dead, kills himself just minutes before Juliet awakes. Had Juliet made sure Romeo knew she was not really dead and had Romeo taken care to notice her cheeks were rosy also that she was breathing, the lovers would have been able to escape together. However, for these two “star-crossed lovers”, the ending is not a happy one: What’s here? A cup, closed in my true love’s hand?
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end.
O churl! Drunk all, and left no friendly drop
To help me after? I will kiss thy lips.
Haply some poison yet doth lay on them
To make me die with a restorative.(5.3.161-66).
When Juliet realizes there is no poison left, she plunges a dagger into her chest, thus ending her life.
It is true, several factors worked together in, William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet” to end in the demise of the “ star-crossed lovers”. However, the most important lesson the reader should take away from this tragic story is the key to communication. Due to lack of communication throughout this tale, Romeo and Juliet’s love comes to a tragic end.