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Romeo and Juliet: destiny or poor human choice?

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In the story, Romeo and Juliet, the final tragic outcome, namely the deaths of the two young lovers, was a result of human choices, rather than one of fate. Although fate played some role in Romeo and Juliet’s deaths, the various characters’ decisions and actions throughout the story eventually led to the tragedy. There were four main stepping stones, all resulting from man’s decision, which finally ended with Romeo and Juliet taking their own lives.

The first event that paved the way towards the tragedy was the fight between the Capulets and Montagues. This event was caused by Romeo’s and Juliet’s respective families’ poor choice to engage in the battle. When the story started, the two families were already quarrelling. Then Mercutio and Benvolio further taunted and provoked the Capulet family by “biting their thumbs” at them. This caused the Capulets to become enraged and battle the Montagues. Because of the continuous fighting, the prince declared that anybody who fights again will be punished by death. This declaration foretold the final tragedy of the two young lovers. One can see that this event was directly caused by Mercutio and Benvolio’s poor judgment to further inflame an already heated situation.

Secondly, Mercutio and Benvolio’s decision to bring Romeo to the Capulet party, and Romeo’s acceptance to go, brought both Romeo and Juliet one step closer to their deaths despite the fact that they had not even met each other yet. It was at this feast, where the two lovers met for the first time. At the beginning of the story, the reader is informed that Romeo has ended the relationship with his former lover, Rosaline. Because he was very depressed, his friends persuaded Romeo to go to the feast to look for another girl. The problem was that the feast was hosted by the Capulets. Romeo was the only Montague there; however, Capulet decided not to ask Romeo to leave in an attempt to prevent a fight. At the party, Romeo and Juliet met each other, and there was love at first sight between them. Although one may argue that it was fate that brought Romeo and Juliet together, in actuality, it was Romeo’s conscious decision to go to the party to find a new lover, and he was successful in doing so.

The third and decisive event which led to the deaths of the young lovers was the fight between Tybalt, Romeo and Mercutio. This event was again a choice made by the parties involved, which indirectly caused the deaths of the newlyweds. The sword fight started when Tybalt wanted to duel Romeo, but Romeo did not want to because he did not want to kill his brother-in-law. However, Tybalt was not aware of his new relationship with Romeo because Romeo and Juliet were secretly wed. In order to provoke Romeo to fight, Tybalt called Romeo womanly, which upset Mercutio, who was then killed during the heat of the fight. To avenge Mercutio’s death, Romeo killed Tybalt. Because of the prince’s new law, Romeo was banished from the town. Once again, it was the decisions of Tybalt, Romeo, and Mercutio to engage in a battle, causing Mercutio’s and Tybalt’s deaths, and the banishment of Romeo.

The final and most tragic decisions made by both Romeo and Juliet to end their own lives directly resulted in the tragic ending of the story. Both young lovers killed themselves because they thought that they would not be able to live without one another. Although fate played a role in the inability of Friar John to get the message to Romeo on time about Juliet’s staged death, it was Romeo’s poor decision to end his own life by committing suicide by drinking the toxic potion. Furthermore, Romeo’s decision also caused the death of Juliet, who also made the bad decision to kill herself once she realized that Romeo was dead. If the two lovers did not make the separate choices to end their own lives, they would have eventually realized that they were both alive and well, and could have had the possibility to live happily ever after.

In conclusion, the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet were due to a culmination of bad choices by various characters in the story. All the major events leading to their deaths could have been prevented if better choices had been made. Therefore, although fate played a minor role in what happened to Romeo and Juliet, such as the outbreak of the plague, man’s choice clearly decided and defined the tragic ending.

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