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Romeo and Juliet: Fate

By ostoner Feb 27, 2013 603 Words
Fate: the course of someone's life, or the outcome of a particular situation for someone or something, seen as beyond their control. This is exactly what determines Romeo and Juliet’s beginning and end. The play, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, is about two young lovers in Verona, from opposing families, whose passion to be together against all odds, leads to their demise. Shakespeare introduces their relationship as “A pair of star-crossed lovers” (Prologue.1.6) which stems from the belief that the stars rule the fate of people’s lives. Romeo and Juliet could not control their destiny because it was predetermined for them to be together eternally.

Fate strongly affects the way that Romeo and Juliet first meet and fall in love with one another. First, of all people, Capulet servant Peter asks Romeo to read the guest list of the Capulet party. This leads to Romeo seeing his initial love, Rosaline, on the list and tempts him to want to attend so he can see her. It was Romeo’s destiny to be chosen to read the list that encourages him to attend the affair. Without ever reading the list, Romeo would never have the chance to meet Juliet due to their feuding families, which would keep him from attending the party. At their first meeting, Romeo uses religious images to express his feelings for Juliet by saying, “O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do! / They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.” (1.5.105) In this quote, he talk to her as if she is a saint and prays that she will kiss him. He tells her that if she doesn’t kiss her, he will lose all faith. This is where divine intervention plays a role in their destiny.

Additionally, after the party Juliet soliloquizes on her balcony and doesn’t know that Romeo is just below her. As fate would have it, he hears her and confirms his love back to her. When Romeo proclaims, “My life were better ended by their hate / Than death proroguèd, wanting of thy love.” (2.2.77) he is saying that he rather be dead than be alive without her. In the story, the reader is reminded many times that each lover would much rather die than be alive without the other. Fate has made it so once they fall in love, they are so passionate for each other that death hardly even separates them.

Furthermore, fate has just as much to do with the way that Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love, as it does with the way they die. Juliet wakes up from the potion in her tomb to find Romeo lying dead atop of her. As Friar Laurence declares after Juliet wakes up, “A greater power than we can contradict / Hath thwarted our intents” (5.3.153) he confirms that a power beyond man’s control has damaged the plan, which allows the two lovers to be together. Juliet then stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger, proving that they were meant to be together in life and death.

Ultimately, Romeo and Juliet could not control their destiny because it was predetermined for them to be together eternally. Shakespeare sets up many obstacles for the young lovers to overcome, such as their feuding families, previous relationships, and timing. Romeo states, “With love’s light wings did I o'erperch these walls, / For stony limits cannot hold love out” (2.2.66) meaning that they could overcome any obstacle in which destiny throws at them. Fate brings them together, and keeps them together, even in death.

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