Fate in Romeo and Juliet
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 when dealing with the situation....
Cited: Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Roy, Ken. Toronto.
Harcourt Brace, 1987.
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