Romeo and Juliet- fate

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Report Thread starter 3 years ago
Could anyone give me advice on this?
How does Shakespeare present fate in Romeo and Juliet?

Throughout the play, the audience are reminded of the fate of Romeo and Juliet- in the beginning of the play, the chorus introduces the story “in fair Verona, where we lay our scene” and then quite quickly, Shakespeare tells us that the lovers are “death-marked” and “star-crossed”. It is clear to the audience that the story has chosen Romeo and Juliet, and they cannot escape from their fate. Furthermore, Shakespeare tells us that from “the loins of these two fatal foes, a pair of star cross’s lovers take their lives” to show us how the story will end. This allows the reader to understand that the play is about how and why the lovers killed themselves, and it emphasises that their fate was written in the stars, before they had even met each other. The alliteration of the f in “from forth the fatal loins” emphasises the way which fate has chosen the lovers.
Shakespeare creates a fight within the first few scenes of the play; these highlights how the feud has affected all of the townspeople. However, Prince Escalus’ warning “your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace”. This foreshadows the deaths that are caused by the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. It warns the audience that peace can only come about with death, and so brings in the theme of fate again. Shakespeare also does this to portray how extreme the feud was.
Romeo also comments how he feared he was “too early, for my mind misgives, some consequence yet hanging in the stars”. The celestial imagery shows how he is already the “star cross’d lover”, which emphasises the theme of fate even more. Furthermore, it foreshadows that Romeo can sense there is “some consequence” which will come of the Capulet’s ball. In addition, “too early” resembles how fate took Romeo to Juliet’s tomb “too early” for she was not yet awake. Moreover, Shakespeare highlights that Romeo now has entered onto a journey which can only end with his death.
“My grave is like to be my wedding bed” is a use of irony for the audience know that only a few days after her marriage, she is laid onto her grave. This shows how fate has caused such as sudden death for Juliet. In addition, Juliet comments how she would “cut out” Romeo into little “stars”. This is the use of celestial imagery, which again emphasises the theme of fate, for Shakespeare presents them as “star cross’d lovers”. Therefore, referencing the stars shows how they are “fortune’s fool” and cannot escape their fatal fate.
Friar Lawrence is introduced in his garden, with all of his herbs. Shakespeare introduces him in this way to show the reader that he gave Juliet her sleeping draught from all of his herbs from the garden. The Friar has a soliloquy in the beginning, and as he talks about his plants, he comments about “two such opposed kings” which is a metaphor for the “opposed” Capulet and Montague houses. In addition, the Friar comments that “virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, and vice sometime by action dignified” to portray how fate hopes that the sad death of Romeo and Juliet will turn into something good, such as peace. This emphasises how fate must use their death for peace.

Thank you!
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Report 3 years ago
Are they in charge of their actions or is fate conspiring against them? What is fate? If it's pre-ordained in their stars did they have any free will and also culpability (being at fault). Does chance play a role, such as if Romeo had arrived a moment later, he would have found Juliet starting to wake up and tragedy would have been avoided. Are they aware of fate and how do they feel about that (fearful, defiant, pleading, angry, accepting etc.) and interact with it, e.g Romeo talks directly to fate/fate-like entity a few times: "whoever has the steerage of my course etc.." and "I defy you, stars!"

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