The role of fate in Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Fate is an unseeable and inescapable thing. It can create many fatal events in human lives. In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, fate is an integral element of the plot that connects Romeo and Juliet’s lives. Fate is shown in Romeo’s communication with the illiterate servant, the apothecary and finally Romeo and Juliet’s trying to intervene in their fate.

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How does fate play a role in Romeo and Juliet

The meeting of the two main characters was not an accident at first. From the beginning of the story, when the servant of the Capulet mansion encounters Benvolio and Romeo, he asks for their help with the guest list, not knowing that they are Montagues.  “My master is the great rich Capulet, and, if you be not/of the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a / cup of wine.” (Rom. I II, 81-84). It is no coincidence that the servant ran into the two Montagues. This case was definitely the will of fate. Also, Romeo’s melancholic behavior and unrequited love for Rosaline is timed perfectly with the event of the Capulet ball. Romeo’s great desire to see Rosaline at the ball was the main reason for his arrival. “Sips the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves, With all the admired beauties of Verona:” (I ii, 85-86). Shakespeare, through plot manipulations, shows the main role of fate in changing events in both Romeo and Juliet’s lives.

Also, throughout the play, various characters influence the fate of Romeo and Juliet. For instance, the Apothecary in act five played a significant part in identifying Romeo and Juliet’s fate.“Come hither, man I see that thou art poor. / A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear as will disperse itself through all the veins.”(V.I.59-61).  Shakespeare used this character to develop the plot leading the lovers to their untimely death. The Apothecary plays an important role in making the fatal decision to give Romeo the poison he needed to commit suicide. On his way to the Apothecary, Romeo depicts the physical condition of the Apothecary, both of the man and the store. Figuratively, these depictions are describing the Apothecary, but they also give us an insight into Romeo’s mental state. The moment when Romeo is so depressed that he even can’t have the strength to survive Juliet’s death shows how much fate affects the further development of events.   Romeo, not realizing his actions, falls into the trap of fate and takes his part. Also, the fake death of Juliet by the will of fate is intertwined with the Apothecary’s poverty and his desperate desire for wealth. Romeo’s journey along with his meeting of the foolhardy Apothecary were all timed by fate. The life paths of the star-crossed lovers are weaved by fate, eventually bringing the lovers to their tragic end.

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The role of fate in Romeo and Juliet

In the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare determines the importance of fate from the very beginning. “A pair of star-crossed lovers.” (Prologue. 6-7) The quote makes it clear that lovers are not meant to be together. Shakespeare skillfully plays the fate of lovers, and in many instances, characters realize their fate. Throughout the story, Romeo and Juliet try to defy their fate as star-crossed lovers and desperately want to be together for the rest of their lives. In act three scene four Romeo asks Juliet to marry him. The two characters try their hardest to build their love even despite the fact they belong to warring families. Romeo and Juliet realize that their couple will never be accepted due to years of conflicts and hostility between their families. Indeed, Juliet tries to fight her fate by acting without her parents’ knowledge and breaking traditions.

Moreover, Juliet cabals with the Friar to avoid her parents and her arranged marriage to Paris. Unaware of her actions, Juliet sets in motion a chain of events that ultimately lead to Romeo’s death. Romeo, deciding that Juliet is dead, cannot live without her and makes the fateful decision to commit suicide. Juliet awakens to find her lover dead and as Romeo believed she knows they can only indeed be together eternally through death. In the end, the two families realized the misery their feud had led to and made peace.

Conclusion

In summary, fate is shown in many areas of the play including Romeo’s contact with the illiterate servant, the apothecary and Romeo and Juliet’s attempts to thwart fate. From the beginning of the play, the role of fate in the lives of the two lovers was obvious. In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, fate played a significant role in controlling Romeo and Juliet’s lives and finally led them to their deaths. There is no reason for their hate. It led to the two stubborn families; unfortunately, having to lose their children to realize what a great mistake it is to be hateful. Fate ultimately teaches the families the lesson not to hate.

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  1. Shakespeare, W. (1993). Romeo and Juliet. Dover Publications.
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