William Shakespeare’s tragic play, “Romeo and Juliet”, was written in 1597. This tragedy is based on the passion of love, including images of fate and death. – Elizabethans strongly believed that fate controlled their lives and everything was planned out. Most people believed that the power of the stars could foretell the future. In the prologue, Shakespeare mentions Romeo and Juliet’s destinies: “A pair of star cross’d lovers take their life” this suggests that stars take control of the two lovers’ destiny. – The prologue suggests that fate will play a very important role in “Romeo and Juliet.
It is written as a sonnet, which usually deals with the theme of love. The Montagues and the Capulets hold an “ancient grunge” against each other. Romeo and Juliet are “star-cross’d lovers”, fate has determined that Romeo and Juliet cannot live happily together and their love is “mark’d” by “death”. “But their children’s end, naught could remove”, it also tells us that the two lovers will end their parents’ fight by dying. Romeo and Juliet are destined to die and they cannot escape from their fate. – Entirely by fate, an illiterate servant of the Capulets asks Romeo to invites Romeo to their party.
Romeo believes that something will happen if he goes to the party and he talks to fate as if fate exists. “Some consequence yet hanging in the stars”, it is foreshowing that the chain of events will “expire the term” of Romeo’s life with “untimely death”. Romeo premonition seems to be in keeping with what the Chorus tells us in the Prologue. “He”, the god, “hath the steerage of my course” suggests that God is directing Romeo’s fate and he is more melodramatic than religious. However, despite his forewarning, he goes to the party because he trusts fate. Romeo and Juliet meet at the party and Juliet foreshadows her death for Romeo. In the first conversation of Romeo and Juliet, they share a sonnet which uses the images of saints and pilgrims. “For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch” clearly shows that their love can only be described through the words of religion. Shortly after this, Juliet foreshadows her own death, “My grave is like to be my wedding bed”, and this suggests that they are ordained to meet, fall in love and die because of fate. – The day after the party, Romeo asks Friar Lawrence if he will marry them.
The Friar explains that he will marry because he wants to turn the two families’ “rancour to pure love” and he believes that pure love can end the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets. The Friar says “Wisely and slow” to Romeo because he recognizes the impatience in him. This suggests that Romeo is an impulsive person. He does everything too quickly; he doesn’t think it through before he does it and this might lead him to death. – In act 3 scene 1, two fights break out due to a build up of tension between Romeo, Mercutio and Tybalt.
Shakespeare uses pathetic fallacy to create the mood in this scene: “These hot days is the mad blood stirring” this shows that people are moody because of the hot weather. It suggests to the audience that something bad will happen because people are so angry. After Mercutio gets stabbed he curses on both families: “A plague a’both houses”, this also tells us that Mercutio believes in fate. This would make Elizabethan audience it is of importance. They would think that Mercutio’s premonition would come true with the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. – Later on, Romeo declares that his love for Juliet has made him effeminate. This day’s black fate on moe days doth depend” Romeo thinks he must get revenge for the tragedy which he has endured. Immediately after Romeo kills Tybalt, he exclaims that he is a “fortune’s fool”. It suggests that fortune is responsible for Tybalt’s death, not Romeo. “Fortune’s fool” makes him sound like he is a puppet of fortune/fate. Fate directs Romeo to do such things and it will get him in trouble. – Changes in different scenes are so sudden and it dramatically builds up tension. They lead up to the final conclusion of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths.
Fate is the main factor which leads to Romeo and Juliet’s deaths because the two lovers trust fate so much that they always talk to and talk about fate. They believe that fate will guide them in a good way. Friar Lawrence is another person to blame for their deaths because he marries them. However, Friar Lawrence’s belief in fate, which leads him to believe that he can change destiny by stopping the feud, but by marrying Romeo and Juliet, he is just helping fate move them closer to death. Their deaths would make both modern and Elizabethan audience sympathize with them, as they haven’t really done anything to deserve to die.