Some believe that whatever happens during the course of their lives is inevitable and every event destined and laid out before them like a map to their life; in other words, fate. Fate is defined as a force, principle or power that predetermines events, it is the inevitable events that are destined by this force. Why do Romeo and Juliet meet? Why do Mercutio and Tybalt have to die? Why does Juliet awaken seconds after Romeo dies? These occurrences are caused by fate. Romeo and Juliet’s fates were linked from the beginning.
In the Prologue it states “A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life”. This sentence expresses that from the start that the fate of Romeo and Juliet was written in the stars, and they were cursed to death. In the play, fate directs the lives of the characters. Secondly, it foreshadows events that were yet to come. Lastly, the characters are aware that they are controlled by their destiny and fate. In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, fate plays a significant role. Fate directs the lives of the characters in the play.
Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting isn’t purely coincidental. A servant of Capulet crosses paths with Romeo and Benvolio, and invites them to the Capulet party, 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” (I. ii. 78-80). It is by fate that Romeo and Benvolio run into the Capulet servant and learn of the party. It is not just an accident that the servant tells the two cousins about the party at which Romeo is destined, yet still unaware, that he will meet his one true love.
Also, it is not by coincidence that Friar John is unable to deliver the letter of Friar Lawrence’s plans to Romeo. It is destined for Balthasar to tell Romeo that Juliet had died. “Her body sleeps in Capel’s monument, And her immortal part with angels lives” (V. i. 18-19). Even though he says what he believes is true and had good intentions, Balthasar’s news is the cause of the tragedy. He is the final piece of Romeo’s puzzle of fate. Romeo, being oblivious to Friar Lawrence’s plan, returns to Verona only to take his life next to his “dead” wife. In the play, fate controls the paths of life of the characters.
Fate is an omen for bad things to come various times during the story. The first time fate foretells the future was before the Capulet ball. Romeo has a strange feeling before he arrives to the party; he says: Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars, Shall bitterly begin his fearful date With this night’s revels, and expire the term Of a despised life closed in my breast By some vile forfeit of untimely death (I. iv. 107-111) Romeo predicted that fate isn’t on his side that night; going to the party would set Romeo on a life altering course which would lead to his utter demise.
The death of both Romeo and Juliet is the “consequence” Romeo speaks about. Another prime example of foreshadowing by fate is the last time Romeo and Juliet meet being alive and well. Juliet proclaims “ O God, I have an ill-divining soul”(III. v. 54); it is God’s will that her soul forebodes evil and malice. Juliet then remarks that it appears as though Romeo is in a tomb and that he looks deathly pale. Romeo’s death is envisioned yet again, making it impossible to deny that his fate will lead him to any other outcome. Fate is a harbinger of Romeo and Juliet’s definite future: death.
Characters believe that fate controls their destiny. This realization is made by Romeo after fighting and killing Tybalt, he says “O, I am fortune’s fool. “(III. i. 135). Romeo is upset over slaying Tybalt, subsequently destroying his future with Juliet and the possibility of ceasing the feud between the two families. He sees himself as a subject to his “fortune” or fate, and recognizes that he cannot control his actions. Later on, when Romeo learns of Juliet’s apparent death, he exclaims “Then I defy you, stars! ”(V. i. 24).
Romeo tries to oppose the stars, or fate by expressing his independence by saying that he is in charge of his own life and that he is not ruled by some fixed series of events. However, Romeo cannot change his fate and everything that happened to him was going to happen no matter what and he was destined to fall in love and come to an unfortunate end. Committing suicide next to his love Juliet is exactly what fate had in store for him. In the end, Romeo did the opposite of defying his fate by fulfilling it. In conclusion, in Romeo and Juliet, fate plays a powerful and meaningful role.
Fate has a plan laid out for each character. It is a prediction of the couple’s doomed and tragic end. Also, the characters are aware that their life’s course is decided for them by fate. As Lemony Snicket once said “Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like. ” ; Nobody will truly know what fate has in mind for them; every experience and outcome happens for a reason. Whether it is good or bad, fate will always get its way no matter the cost.