How far is Juliet a victim in “Romeo and Juliet”

In this essay I will evaluate to what extent Juliet is a victim of fate, her parents, Romeo, the expectations of her society and her own feelings in the play “Romeo and Juliet”.Romeo, the youngest son of Lord Montague and Juliet’s husband, inflicts a lot of power over Juliet in this play. Throughout the play, Romeo talks of love as a dangerous thing. For example, he talks about gall (poison) in the same paragraph as he talks about love. This is foreshadowing that love will turn into a dangerous thing (i.e. their death), this could also be referring to the poison that he takes, that kills him. He is constantly foreshadowing his and Juliet’s death, “Some consequence yet hanging in the stars, shall bitterly begin his fearful date.” Romeo also foreshadows, during the play that he will fall in love with the person that he is supposed to hate. “Here is much to do with hate, but more with love”.Juliet has no control whether he will fall in love with her or not. This is also shown in the fact that when Romeo and Juliet first meet at Capulet’s party, he sees her first, and asks who she is, when he is responded to as not knowing by a serving man, talks as if he is entranced by her beauty, and states that he has not loved until he had met her, even though they had not even spoken at this point. She has no say in whether Romeo should fall in love with her or not, as he is the one who states that he loves her before she does. It is almost as if he chose her, when it should be that two lovers choose each other to fall in love with.Romeo has a stubborn character in this play, he believes in his own dreams, unlike Mercutio, who knows his own dreams are just a fantasy. He makes himself believe that he loves Juliet, and does not take other people’s advice to not get involved with her. This results in both of their deaths. In this way he is stubborn.Romeo has a lot of conflict in himself. Throughout the play he uses a lot of oxymorons. This shows that he is confused. If he is so confused, does he actually want to be with her? Maybe he doesn’t even know whether he does love her or not, except for the fact that he is in love with being in love, he wants an excuse to love. Juliet is a victim of his mind.He hates Rosaline for not loving him as much as he loves her, if Juliet didn’t love him, would he still love her, is it true love or lust?When Romeo is told of Juliet’s “death”, he makes a long speech about his woes. However, the people who truly care for Juliet (the nurse) show their love by remaining silent, not being able to speak. Like Capulet, Romeo is putting on a front, and does not really love Juliet.However, apart from all the points mentioned above, Juliet is not a victim of Romeo’s sexual desires; she refused to sleep with him until he declared his love for her, and promised her marriage. She also refuses to kiss him when they first meet. “You do wrong your hand too much”. This shows that she is in control of their sexual relationship, and in that context, is not a victim of Romeo.You could interpret Romeo and Juliet’s relationship as that, he was dead before he met her, she awoke him. This is hinted at in his dream at the beginning of Act 5. Thus meaning that she is not a victim of him, but that he is reliant on her.Fate is a key role in the death of both Romeo and Juliet. Many events seem to fit into place, almost making it fate that Romeo and Juliet die.Fate is referred to from the beginning of the play, she is a victim of fate because, it is foreshadowed in the prologue that she will fall in love with Romeo, and that they will both die. “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; whose misadventured piteous overthrows, Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.” This quotation implies that even from the very beginning of the play. Juliet has no control over whether she falls in love or not, because it is fate. Juliet’s death is foreshadowed throughout the play, and particular events lead up to it. For example it was fate that the servant couldn’t read, this meant that he had to ask Romeo to read the invitation for him, this is how Romeo found out about the party. Also that the servant invited them to come. If Romeo hadn’t found out about the party, he couldn’t of gone. Which would of meant that he wouldn’t meet Juliet. Another reason that he went to the party, is because Mercutio encouraged Romeo to go, saying that he will fall in love with someone else, this is ironic because he does fall in love with Juliet, and it proves to be fatal.In Act 1 scene 3 Juliet says the least out of everyone, her marriage is being decided for her, she has no say, her fate has already been decided for her.If Mercutio had not taunted Tybalt in town whilst out with Romeo and Benvolio, Romeo would not of got into the fight with Tybalt and therefore would not have been banished. Perhaps, however, the fight initiated by Mercutio was inevitable, and was victimising Juliet by making it destiny that Romeo was banished, and therefore she took the sleeping poison.Throughout the play, many characters refer to fate. For example, “I fear, too early: for my mind misgives, some consequence yet hanging in the stars, shall bitterly begin his fearful date”. This shows that Romeo never felt happy with the idea of going to the Capulet party in the first place. If he had trusted his instincts and refused to go, the deaths of the two lovers may have been averted. By including these foreboding lines, Shakespeare suggests to the audience that the ultimate destiny of Romeo and Juliet was, in fact, fated.Even Juliet subconsciously refers to fate after realising that Romeo is a Montague. “My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown, and known too late. Prodigious birth of love it is to me, that I must love a loathed enemy. Juliet suggests that the meeting of the two young lovers was perhaps too extraordinary to be solely based on coincidence. She acknowledges the paradoxical situation of her “only love” sprung from her “only hate”. By including these lines, Shakespeare increases the tension in the audience by giving a clue as to how the lovers will meet their demise.Another coincidence, which led to Juliet’s death, is that the reason that Romeo does not get the letter from Friar Lawrence is because the man that was supposed to send it wasn’t allowed to go because he was suspected of having the plague. This is ironic because at the beginning of the play the Prince says “A plague on both your houses”; It was in fact the plague that killed them.The countless references to fate make it easy to conclude that fate was to a great extent responsible for Juliet’s death, and that Juliet is in fact a victim of fate in “Romeo and Juliet”.In this play, Juliet is also a victim of her parents. In Act 1 Scene 3, Juliet speaks to her mother in a very formal manner, “Madam, I am here”. She is not allowed to call her mother; this does not show a very kind and loving family. By not being brought up with love, she will crave it from other people. Maybe she is looking for a father figure in Romeo. Lady Capulet is a cold and formal woman, who must have been hard to confide in.Juliet’s mother makes all of her decisions for her, she is not included in the conversation, debating whether she should be married to Paris or not. She should decide that herself. Her mother does not even talk directly to Juliet, instead, she speaks to her daughter through the nurse, “That shall she, marry”. Juliet speaks the least in this scene, which is ironic, because she should be saying the most.One of the most obvious reasons that Juliet is a victim of her parents is that, they started the feud between the two families and taught Juliet to hate the Montagues, if she had not been brought up to be hateful and ashamed to be in contact with any of the Montagues, then maybe their lives would of been different, and Romeo and Juliet would not of had to of hid their love.In this play, the reader is given the impression that her parents do not love her, and cannot be bothered to care for her themselves. For example, Lady Capulet asks to speak to Juliet alone, but then as soon as they are alone in the room together, she asks the nurse to come back in. Also, Capulet acts surprised when Juliet says that she does not want to marry Paris, he lashes out and says hurtful things because he is not used to having to deal with his daughter.The fact that her parents never loved Juliet is also shown in the last two acts of the play. When Juliet is found “dead” by the nurse on the morning of her wedding. Lady was trying to live her life through Juliet; this is shown when she says “My only life”. Also Capulet and Lady Capulet make huge speeches about how upset they are, they are only concerned about their appearance, not actually about their daughter.On the other hand, in Shakespearean times, it was quite normal for upper class children to be brought up by a nurse or someone other then the parents. In this case, her parents cannot be blamed for their actions.Juliet has to “fight” with her own feelings throughout the play. She is a victim of her own feelings because she fell in love with Romeo. Falling in love with Romeo is the reason for both of their deaths.Throughout the play she is carried away for love, lust. She cannot control her feelings, they are controlling her.Her grief that she feels towards Tybalt’s death, plus her remorse of the fact that Romeo has been banished, all pile up on top of her, and do not let her think in a straight forward and logical way.If Juliet had loved Paris, then she would not of fallen in love with Romeo and taken the poison to pretend to be dead.On the other hand, she should be able to have control over her own feelings. People are only rarely “victimised” by their own feelings. She could of just wanted some excitement in her life, and therefore exaggerated all of the circumstances she was put in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *