Romeo + Juliet
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In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, many unfortunate tragedies occur due to uncontrollable acts of destiny. There are three separate branches of disaster: the first being the immediate families, then there are the secondary characters, and finally there is fate. Romeo and Juliet are innocent victims of circumstances beyond their control. Being together was never their destiny. The two enemy families influence the couple to make rash decisions. After the role of the families, the secondary characters play a very prominent position. Neither Romeo, Juliet, nor anyone else can control the misfortunes in one’s life. It is impossible to control anyone’s future, and in this case, the variables do not help.
The families’ interference in their children’s lives indirectly results in many disasters. The constant disputing among the Capulets and the Montagues has a negative reaction with the rest of the family, especially Romeo and Juliet. On one occasion the quarrel was so terrible one of the town’s officers had to come and said “Down with the Capulets! down with the Montagues!” (I.i.72). The officer wanted to end the fighting and saw no way to end it. The fighting is a large aspect of the play, the first brawl that the audience witness opens the first scene. It started with some words and progressed until swords and officers were involved. It seems that Shakespeare wanted to indicate that these families were always bickering, so he decided to have it commence the play. Capulet plays a double role, fighting as well as the marriage arrangements. Capulet forms new troubles when he accepts Paris’ offer to marry his only daughter. Capulet thinks it is a grand idea, but Juliet is none too pleased. This situation causes some tension between father and daughter.
Lady Capulet tells Juliet to “Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn” (III.v.113), thinking that it would lift her spirits. It would be customary to marry young since the purpose of women in Elizabethan times was to carry children and care for them. Juliet hears the news and is devastated, not only is she married to a man that lives far away she is going to be another man’s bride in the same week. This arranged marriage, the work of her father, will cause herself to commit suicide, Romeo to commit suicide and will be the death of Paris. Once again Capulet is important, he not only fights with the Montagues, sets up a marriage, he also has the worst father-daughter relationship ever. The communication between family members in both the Montague and Capulet households is dismal. There are closer relationships with servants than to his or her parents. When Romeo is down, Lady Montague asks Benvolio to unravel Romeo’s problems.
The same is true with the Capulet’s. Instead of a rational conversation telling her parents why see wishes not to marry Paris, they have an argument like this, “Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch! / I tell thee what: get thee to church o’ Thursday.” (III.v.161-162). The message is clear if she does not marry Paris than Capulet will disown her and treat her like the way he treats his servants. At this point Capulet is outraged and does not listen to anyone. When the Nurse tries to reason with him, he shouts to her “Peace, you mumbling fool!” (III.v.175). Due to the families blindness many decisions were made to better the situation, however it did not always turn out that way.
The role of the secondary characters is as important as the part of the families. In the beginning there is more advice given out by people like the Nurse, than Juliet’s own mother. For example, Juliet refers to her own mother as madam. Toward the end, all the secondary characters destroy Romeo and Juliet’s relationship and indirectly their lives. As a secondary character, Balthasar plays a vital position; many catastrophes arise because of Balthasar’s mislead and kind doings. Balthasar is loyal to his master even after he is exiled from Verona. He brings the news of Juliet’s ‘first’ death to Romeo in Mantua. When he reaches Romeo, he tells him that “Her body sleeps in Capels’ monument” (V.i.18). Romeo is dumbfounded and replies by saying “Is it even so? Then I defy you, stars!” (V.i.24). By bringing the news to him, Romeo says that the stars, or fate, let him down. At that point, when he realizes that he can no longer be with Juliet he quickly plans for suicide. If Balthasar was not so dependable and devoted to his master than maybe, the friar would have delivered his message.
Friar Laurence tried to be helpful and offered some solutions; usually, they were not sufficient. When it could not get any worse when Juliet wakes up the friar suggests to her to “dispose of thee / among a sisterhood of holy nuns.” (V.iii.156-157). Juliet was supposed to wake up to Romeo, not Romeo’s corpse, at this point the friar loses it. He is all stressed out and does not want to be involved so he offers to bring Juliet to a convent and she can hide there. The Nurse is a much needed character. Without the Nurse then how would the couple get married or how would all of this be a secret? The Nurse’s advice was much appreciated until she suggested marrying Paris. Juliet is fed up and says “So many thousand times? Go, councillor;” (III.v.239). Because of the Nurse’s unappreciated advice, Juliet seeks Friar Laurence’s help and that is the point where he offers the sleeping potion. After a string of awful advice, Juliet finds no other way to get out, other than to commit suicide or to at least pretend to. With her fake death, many real deaths were bound to come.
Fate plays the largest role in Romeo and Juliet. Several times fate is blamed for the ill luck of the couple. Countless things go wrong and causes sever consequences. Romeo commits suicide right when Juliet is about to wake up. If only the timing was a few minutes off than this whole occurrence would have never have happened. When Juliet wakes up she sees Romeo already dead and proclaims “Poison, I see, hath been his timeless.” (V.iii.162). If only Romeo waited longer or Juliet woke up earlier than two deaths could have been prevented. This shows that no matter what happens they were bound to be apart. The whole event when Juliet and Romeo first meet was by total chance. Romeo is not allowed to be there and then he finds a Capulet and wishes to marry her. It is quite ironic, the fact that he loves someone who he is not allowed to be loved. When he sees her, he thinks did “my heart love till now? For swear it sight! / For I ne’er saw true beauty, till this night.” (I.v.52-53).
Later on during the same ball Romeo declares that “My life is my foe’s debt” (I.v.118) which means that he will do what ever Capulet wants because he can not live without Juliet. When Romeo witnesses Juliet, it is love at first sight. Soon after, they will decide to marry. This whole fate argument starts here. If Romeo is not even supposed to be here and now he can not live without something he is not, supposed to have, than what would have happened if he decided not to go? Fate also plays the part of the weather because the extreme heat in Verona causes the death of Tybalt, and Mercutio and the exile of Romeo. Romeo kills Tybalt because Tybalt killed Mercutio. After Romeo killed Tybalt, the Prince banishes Romeo to Mantua. On the second day of marriage, Romeo and Juliet are no longer together. Benvolio’s advice to Romeo is to leave town because “The Citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.” (III.i.132). It is ironic that after they are married he is exiled from Verona and taken away from Juliet. The heat which was unusual caused many things this day, and if it wasn’t for the heat the day would have come out differently. If fate was on Romeo’s or Juliet’s side, than the outcome would have varied in a more pleasant way.
The possibility of Romeo and Juliet ever to be happily married was very low. There were so many reasons why this couple could have never made it. The families would have never of allowed such a marriage if they went public with a decision. Even if the families weren’t fighting they seem like the type who would argue about their offspring’s’ wedding. If the secondary characters like the Nurse, and Balthasar were not so committed to, their master’s than the friar’s plan would have actually worked out. If only Friar Laurence told Balthasar than there would be one very happy and alive couple in Mantua. Fate is a strong force that can ruin all of someone’s planning, hard work, fixing, and dedication. It can crush your dreams or elevate your thoughts. Only the heavens can control what one wants and what actually happens. Coincidences do not happen by accident and neither do catastrophes, it may not seem like it but everything is controlled by fate.