“Romeo and Juliet: Fate or folly”

Romeo and Juliet is very well known for the love and the twists it contains. Although there are many versions of the play, Shakespeare’s one is particularly popular. The Prologue of this play gives us an insight on what the story is about. “In fair Verona,” tells us where it all takes place. Verona is a real location; it’s a town in Northern Italy.This story is about two people who fall head over heels for one another just after their first meeting. There is an attraction and love at first sight. This story expands and we acknowledge that the families of these lovers are enemies. Both Romeo and Juliet don’t care about one another’s surnames when they follow their hearts instead of their heads. This is the first obstacle of many in their relationship in which there is a heartbreaking finish with blood being spilt between both families with the lovers dying for love all because of their family names.The Prologue has a rhyming scheme and is 14 lines long. It is a form of love poetry known as a sonnet. The prologue states that Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed lovers.” When you talk about stars you think of fate as star-crossed lovers is another phrase for fate. This therefore implies that at that time Shakespeare’s audience would have believed in fate. This would have added a more theatrical atmosphere as people would believe in certain parts of the play therefore linking the story with reality.The prologue also says, “death mark’d love”, which also is another example of pointing out fate. This tells us that there is no control over what happens which is closely linked to fate as you have no control over that either. What is meant to happen will eventually happen despite what our actions are. We are told the lover’s misfortune ends up leading to a depressing and tragic end when it says, “Civil blood makes civil hand unclean.” This clearly shows a murder takes place. This sonnet invariably carries out an argument and is originated from Italy.Fate is a consequence of events, which are destined to happen and sometimes the power to know these events before hand, it is known as destiny and divine will. Fate is something that is meant to happen whereas fortune is equivalent to a wheel that people are on in which fortunes can increase (making then successful), decrease or jus stay still. Folly is silliness and stupidity, which can have a direct consequence that may not have been foreseen. Fortune all depends on luck whereas fate isn’t dependant on anything, it is going to happen.Some people believe that Romeo and Juliet met because of destiny but some also argue that they met by accident and were not supposed to meet at all as Romeo shouldn’t have gate crashed the Capulet party in the first place. In the play Act 3 Scene 1 line 117, Romeo mentions fate when saying, “The day’s black fate.” He’s given fate the colour black, which is a dark colour sometimes used to represent evil. His fate doesn’t seem to be a positive one. He also says, “O, I am fortune’s fool.” This example of fortune is decreasing making him unlucky. The audience would have believed in all 3 of these as well as dreams foretelling the future. This could have been what influenced Shakespeare to include fate and fortune into his work.In the early stages of this story Romeo’s parents are worried about him, they think he is ill. Benvolio who is Romeo’s cousin as well as a friend thinks it is love and tries to find out what’s wrong. The name Benvolio actually carries a meaning, “Ben” meaning good and “volio” meaning voice, even his name explains he is someone you can talk to. Romeo does indeed have the issue of love in his conscious. However this cannot be categorised as true love, he has an obsession with Rosaline. Romeo is living in a separate life to his family.He seems to have isolated himself, which makes his parents concerned. The conversation between Romeo and Benvolio is shown in Act 1 Scene 1. Romeo describes his state when he says, “I have lost myself.” He is feeling rejection and depressed because of Rosaline not realising his love. He has drifted someplace else as if he is daydreaming. He also states, “Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast.” This is a very clever way of putting his point across. In other words he is saying that he is heart broken as your heart is on the side of your left breast. He is explaining his problem with love. Romeo isn’t actually in love but is peculiarly in love with the idea of being in love.He questions Benvolio as he says, “Can you be in love with the idea of being in love?” He himself knows he is really infatuated with Rosaline not in love with her. These emotions he is feeling is due to an obsession. Shakespeare wrote this play when he was writing his love poetry. He obviously put the idea of love into his play showing Romeo’s love for love before his true love for Juliet, which is why he moves on to love Juliet so quickly because he knows his feelings before her were false. Love is in inspiration or theme for this story and is exposed in three levels. These are spiritual which is to do with the heart, mental with the mind and physical with the body. Romeo’s behaviour changed when he saw Juliet for the first time. He immediately fell in love with her without bothering to take care of the fact she was a Capulet.Romeo is seen as an innocent boy who let’s love takes over his mind easily. Your first impressions are that he is a real romantic at heart. Juliet however doesn’t show love at the beginning. She is a normal young woman, although not yet fourteen. The fact that she hasn’t reached fourteen is mentioned twice. Her age is stressed to show that she is still very young to become a bride. It reminds you that she has only just started her teenage years and therefore is still growing up both physically and mentally. There isn’t much emotion showed by Juliet but this changes vastly when she meets Romeo because she too falls totally in love with him. From the first meeting both Romeo and Juliet share an instant connection then becoming in love with one another. In Act 1 Scene 5 Romeo’s first words about Juliet are very bizarre because of his choice of words.Their conversation with one another is very significant because it is the only time in the play when religious imagery is used. Words such as, “Pilgrims” and “Holy shrine,” are used. “For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch.” There are many examples of a religious reference here. As well as having a religious theme the speech used follows a rhyming scheme and sets a very romantic mood. One of the most famous scenes in all of Shakespeare’s plays is the balcony scene in Act 2 Scene 2. This is because of the language and the way love has been publicized. Juliet, from her balcony, proclaims her love for Romeo, who is below in the Capulet orchard. This balcony scene is very symbolic because it doesn’t just show two people declaring their love for one another. It actually shows the light and darkness.Romeo imagines that she is the sun, transforming the darkness into daylight. Romeo similarly personifies the moon, calling it “envious” as well as “sick and pale with grief.” He believes Juliet, the sun is far brighter and more beautiful. These quotes are essential because as well as it being the play’s most imaginative, beautiful and prominent moment in form of a sonnet, it is also a prime example of the light and dark motif, which runs throughout the play. This contributes to setting a particular mood in the scene. Many scenes in Romeo and Juliet are set either late at night or early in the morning, and Shakespeare often uses the contrast between night and day to describe their current situations.Juliet makes a key point when she starts talking in line 33. She tells us she is willing to denounce her name, and no longer be a Capulet because she is so in love with Romeo. She doesn’t see the importance of a name when she questions, “What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot…” This is a motivating argument, which explains that a name isn’t of any importance when you experience love. Juliet is a lot more mature than Romeo and for her age. She is more adult than him when she tells him this is all too sudden and tells Romeo not to swear love on anything.She answers Romeo with, “What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?” Romeo seems to rush into decisions however Juliet is more grown-up to think the situation through. The reason why there is such a rush to get married is because Juliet’s parents have started talks of her marriage to Paris and are beginning to pressure her into agreeing. Both Romeo and Juliet have acknowledged each other’s family background and the danger of their love being exposed. This is a romantic scene as the two proclaim and solidify their love for one another. We experience the magic of the moment and the youthful passion with this discovery of young love.Juliet doesn’t have a very close association with her parents instead she have an intimate relationship with the nurse, one which should originally be shared with her mother. Romeo is in similar circumstances. His parents have no idea what goes through his head. There is a lack of communication. Later on you find out Romeo shares his feelings with Friar Lawrence, which again should really be the bond with his biological father. Both the Nurse and Friar Lawrence seem to be playing the role of parents as well as close friends. The Nurse finds out about Romeo and ends up helping Juliet by passing messages between the two. However the Nurse it disloyal to Juliet when she encourages Juliet to leave Romeo’s path and marry Paris instead.Romeo goes directly to the cell of Friar Lawrence to tell him of his intentions with Juliet. At first Friar storms away in disbelief and doesn’t agree with what Romeo has to say. However a little while later he has a change of heart and agrees to Marry Romeo asn Juliet despite his sceptism. This is because he feels that marrying the two will ultimately bring a permanent end to the long and tiresome years of bloodshed between these two proud families, the Capulets and Montagues. So later on in the morning Romeo and Juliet meet up through contacting the Nurse who helps set this meetings.The ceremony gets under way and they become husband and wife. They both spend a night together as man and wife in Juliet’s room upstairs whilst downstairs Juliet’s future is being decided by her parents who are making wedding plans with Paris for an already married girl. There are all kinds of pressure against this couple even when united by marriage. The marriage then gets moved up a fay early. This is evidence that they have a lot of bad luck or bad fortune and the reality that time itself becomes an enemy as things are just starting to fly out of their control.The next problem this couple faces is to do with Tybalt. Tybalt and Mercutio are fighting, Romeo later arrives at this scene and tries to stop the argument. He isn’t successful. The fight leads to Mercutio’s death. Romeo is now filled with rage as he kills Tybalt. This has just caused bigger difficulties because now Romeo will have to be banished. After Romeo kills Tybalt, the frustrated Romeo exclaims, “O, I am fortune’s fool!”He has mentioned fortune and knows he has made a huge mistake killing Tybalt because now the Prince will want him to be killed as he warned both families to have no more fights. This is yet another obstacle for the pair. Whilst Romeo has been banished with the help from Friar Lawrence, Juliet is in a tricky position with her forced marriage to Paris around the corner. She goes running to Friar in aid of some help. He offers a fake poison, which will put her to sleep for a few hours and make her family think she is dead.She takes the poison and Friar sends out a note to Romeo so he knows that Juliet isn’t really dead. However he misses the note and arrives to think that Juliet has really died. This leads to the death of Romeo and when Juliet awakens to see Romeo lying dead beside her she does the same and ends her own life too. Now you could say that folly caused this death. The fact that he made the mistake of missing the note. You could also assume it was fate, they were meant to die.Fate it mentioned throughout this play. Romeo has a dream that Juliet finds him dead. This is trying to imply that they are both destined to face death at some point. Shakespeare’s audience would have believed dreams told the future so would have taken this very seriously and then thought that both the couple had an ill fate. As well as a dream Juliet sees a vision of him already dead at the bottom of a tomb. Both Romeo and Juliet can sense that what will happen to them in the future wont be good because they seem to be destined to face death.This is something they cannot control. So even though they have had dreams and visions they still are together. Romeo says, “I defy you stars.” This shows he knows he is going against fate but because he is in love he doesn’t care. What Romeo needs to take into consideration is that he has no control over his destiny. No matter how motivated he is to change what is written in the stars, he cannot. It has already been decided. However you can also say folly is the cause of this tragedy too. This is because both lovers behaved foolishly because they were in love. They got married in a rush without trying to tell their families of their love in hope it could bring the Capulet’s and Montague’s together. Instead the pair acted without thinking of the consequences first.Their behaviour was very irrational. Also the Nurse and Friar could be blamed for this tragedy too. Instead of putting an ending to this silly behaviour they helped the lovers out. However Shakespeare goes to a great length in showing the parents are the ones to blame. The feud is the real cause of the teenage deaths. Their love is “death-mark’d” because of their parents’ rage. In the last scene, the Prince blames the Capulet and Montague. He continues saying everyone has been punished by the deaths of those they love, including him because of the death of Mercutio.So as my conclusion I think that the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet was a mixture of both fate and folly. Fate because of the unusual way they met, as if it was meant to be and the way their families were enemies. There were a lot of indications to fate in this play which could be used as evidence to the fact that fate did exist in this story. Also in addition to fate I believe there was also folly involved. As normal teenagers Romeo and Juliet didn’t think their action through enough. They didn’t realise what they got themselves into when they fell head over heels for each other. It was silly mistakes like taking the poison in the first place and not receiving the note that also caused the death of these two innocent human beings.

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