Who/what is the most to blame for the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

‘Romeo and Juliet’ has been described as one of the greatest love tragedies in play history. It is filled with strong emotions and views, tension, action, violence, humour and most of all love, that binds the star-cross’d’ lovers together. A wondrous play which captured the Elizabethan’s attention and for generations to come. In this essay, I hope to explore the play and see what or who is the main cause of this catastrophic love story.Before the first scene begins, the chorus tells us what is to be expected in the play. ” A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows, Doth with their death bury their parents strife.” “The star-cross’d lovers” mean that Romeo and Juliet’s love is to be hindered, because of the stars, that causes them to have bad luck in their relationship. This is described as “misadventur’d piteous overthrows” where someone or something has been a victim of something that they’re innocent in, we feel pity for them, we can call this a tragedy. This prologue has basically told what the plot is, but as most would do in the Elizabethan period, they wouldn’t be attentive at the start, especially if there’s just a man standing on the stage rambling on, they need action, which is what the first scene provides.In Act 1, scene 4, Romeo changes his mind and decides going to the Capulet’s banquet is not a good idea after all. He says, “I fear, too early; for my mind misgives, some consequence yet hanging in the stars.” Here Romeo has an omen of what to come. He feels that if he goes in there, something bad will happen. Meeting Juliet is a good thing, but also a bad thing, because it leads to their deaths. Shakespeare probably talked a lot about fate and superstitions in his plays, as the Elizabethan’s were superstitious and therefore in his plays it gave it that extra credit, to make the audience feel more interested. When Romeo leaves the banquet, Juliet says, “If he be married. My grave is like to be my wedding bed,” meaning if Romeo is married, she’ll die unmarried, as she won’t want to marry no other. Here we see a foreshadowment, because her grave does become her wedding bed.In Act 2 scene 6, Romeo says; “Then love-devouring death do what he dare: It is enough I may but call her mine” Here Romeo is challenging fate, which he does a few times throughout the play. “Is it e’en so? Then I deny you stars,” Fate does play a large part to blame for this tragedy. At the end before Romeo kills himself, he says, ” O here, will I set up my everlasting rest: and shake the yoke of inauspicious stars,” Here he is taking his chances on death. He is to be at peace when he dies, he will be free from the doom of his fate in the stars.Romeo cries; “Oh I am fortune’s fool,” He feels as though his life is just being played around with. When Romeo finds out Mercutio is dead, he says, “This day’s black fate on more day’s doth depend; this but begins the woe, others must end”. Romeo knows he has reached a point of no return. He will fight Tybalt to gain revenge, but he knows that won’t be the end of anything.You could say that the messenger not getting to Romeo on time, therefore the layout of the plan doesn’t get to him, could be a stroke of bad luck. It was fate that stopped that from happening. Romeo not knowing what the plan is thinks Juliet is dead and leads him to commit suicide.Juliet also mentions about fate and fortune being involved in her life. “Me think I see thee now…as one dead in the bottom…either my eyesight fails…” She here is having a premonition of his death. She then goes on to say after Romeo is gone, “O fortune, Fortune, all men call thee fickle,” Here she is talking to fortune, saying that Romeo is renowned for his faithfulness and that faithless fortune should leave him alone. Juliet is hoping that fickle fortune should leave him alone, but she is also hoping that it will bring her Romeo back.The main characters each are responsible for intervening in this tragedy, which might not have been, if they had not each done what they did. Romeo, his character is very headstrong, where his head rules him. “With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls,” Romeo, and in the next line, he is saying that with love he is invincible! When Juliet asks him how he found her, he replies, ” By love, who first did prompt me to inquire; He lent me counsel a1nd I lent him eyes.” Saying it was love who told him to go and find Juliet and in return for that, he gives love his eyes to find her.In the play at the beginning, Romeo appears to be very immature and does not yet know of true love, as one minute he was weeping for Rosaline and the next it was for Juliet in a matter of seconds. “Did my heart love till now? For swear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night,” which is a quick change of heart. Before he goes into the Capulet’s feast, he tells Benvolio, that he cannot compare any other with Rosaline, ” When the devout religion of mine eye, maintains such falsehood, then turns tears to fires,” and that his eyes would be lying if there was such another beauty as Rosaline. This shows that Romeo’s love for Rosaline was a ‘petit crush’When Romeo tells the Friar that he has a new love, the Friar is shocked and doubts Romeo know what love is. ” Young men’s love then lies, not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.” He criticises Romeo for his sudden change in heart. Even though these are all flaws in Romeo’s character for being too easy to change his mind, Romeo is still a benevolent person. When he kills Paris, Paris asks if he could be laid next his dead wife, even though Romeo loathed Pairs, he still carried out Paris’ request and respected him. If Romeo didn’t want to go to the feast and he had a gut feeling about this, then why did he go in the end? Perhaps he didn’t mean what he said and in fact was eager to go the party?Juliet is still yet young and like any other young teenage girl dreams of marriage and falls in love easily. She rushes into marriage very quickly, though it seems quite ironic, as at first she says to Romeo in Act 2 Scene 2, ” It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden,” but later on she says, ” Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,” Romeo and her only met about two hours ago, they hardly know anything about each other, and she’s already proposing marriage! This can also link onto how speed plays a part of her and Romeo’s death.The play happens in such a short space of time, the events within in it occur quickly, e.g. Capulet decides to have a feast with only one day’s preparation. He also decides to marry Juliet in the matter of 2 days. Romeo and Juliet marry each other within a day of meeting. Perhaps if things had slowed down and were more thought about, then the consequences of Romeo and Juliet’s’ actions may not have been so fatal. As Friar Laurence suggested, ” Wisely and slow they stumble that run fast” after he marries them, giving them a bit of advice.Friar Laurence thinks that Romeo is rushing into things, with regards to marrying Juliet. He doesn’t think that Romeo could understand what love truly is, if he can stop loving one person for another in a matter of moments. In Friar Laurence’s first soliloquy, he compares the plants to humans. He also says, ” virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied; And vice sometimes by action dignified.” He is saying that too much of a good thing can be dangerous and a bad thing can be used for the good. This is like a foreshadowment of the whole play. Romeo and Juliet fall in love and it causes their death, but their death brings the feud between the Capulet’s and Montague’s to an end. Friar Laurence is reluctant at the start to marry Romeo and Juliet, but then he says, ” In one respect, I’ll thy assistant be; For this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your households rancour to pure love.”He thinks he should play a bit of match making and marry these two to end the feud. If he did not agree to marry them so quickly, then they would have slowed down, they might not have died. Though he does advises Romeo a lot, he acts like a ‘father figure’ to him. He tries to talk sense into him, just before he is to be married. “There violent delights have violent end…” He is saying that he shouldn’t rush into things. The love won’t last. He left Juliet at the tomb at her funeral, maybe if he had not left, she wouldn’t have killed herself, he could’ve stopped her, ” Come go good Juliet, I dare no longer stay.” He probably left, scared of being found out, feeling ashamed and guilty.For Juliet, the nurse is her ‘mother figure’ She knows Juliet even better than her own mother, Lady Capulet. She even has nicknames for her, “What lamb, what ladybird,” which shows how close her relationship with Juliet is. The nurse is part of the family, she’s been there for a long time. She advises Juliet on what to do and lies for her, but when Juliet’s parents announces, that Juliet is to be married, the nurse tells Juliet, ” I think it best you be married with the County, O he’s a lovely gentleman…I think you are happy in this second match,” Juliet cannot believe what’s she’s hearing and asks, “Speakest thou from thy heart:” and the nurse says she does. As no one agrees with her and sides with her, she pretends to agree and play along with her father’s will. When the nurse leaves, she’s says to herself, “Ancient damnation, O most wicked fiend,” and feels betrayed by the nurse who probably did it because she didn’t want to lose her job and be blamed for it.You could say that Mercutio and his rivalry between Tybalt helped Romeo and Juliet come to their deaths. Tybalt is the main stirrer of the feud, if he had controlled his rage, then Romeo wouldn’t need to kill him. It’s quite ironic how Mercutio criticises Benvolio of being a quarreller when he’s the one who picked a fight with Tybalt later on in the play. “Thy head is full of quarrels” then he later says to Tybalt, ” …here’s my fiddlestick, here’s that shall make you dance: ‘zounds consort.” Mercutio’s character is very head-strong, you could say that the heat made him more easily irritated, “For now these hot days, is the mad blood stirring” When he is stabbed he says, “I am hurt. A plague o’both your houses! I am sped. Is he gone and hath nothing?” He feels that he has wasted his life and that dying for neither house is worth it and Tybalt goes away without a scratch. Mercutio casts a curse on both houses, he repeats this phrase, ” a plague o’both your houses,” three times, which was considered in the Elizabethan era to be a dead man’s curse. This could be a reason why Romeo and Juliet had no luck through out the rest of the play.The parents have a part to blame you could argue. They’re the ones, you could say who have pushed them to their death ever since day one. Romeo’s parents don’t really contribute much to his death, except for their part in the family feud. But it is mainly Juliet’s parents who force her to marry Paris. At the beginning of the play, when Paris asks Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage, Capulet says she’s too young, he says that Juliet is his only child, therefore the heiress to all his fortunes. He tells Paris to flirt with her and try his best in attempt to gain her love, but he says, ” My will to her consent is but a part” which means even if he does agree to the marriage, Juliet is the one with the final say.But later on in the play, he has a sudden change of heart. “…I think she will be rul’d, in all respects by me: I doubt it not.” And hurries his wife to inform Juliet about it. He is now saying that Juliet will listen to him and do what she is told, which is a whole different attitude as to the beginning. Notice that he says, ” Acquaint” which means “tell” and not “ask”. He now considers Juliet’s love can be given to anyone he likes.Lady Capulet goes to bring the news to Juliet. You can tell by how Juliet addresses her mother as “Madam” rather than mother, this shows how their relationship isn’t that strong. When Capulet comes to see how Juliet has reacted to the news. Lady Capulet says, ” Ay, sir; but she will none, she gives you thanks. I would the fool were married to her grave!” Which is ironic as that is what happened in the end. Capulet puts pressure on Juliet,”And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,” So it is making Juliet have no choice, but to marry Paris otherwise she’ll be thrown out. Lady Capulet then says, ” Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.” She’s had enough and Juliet has no choice or say in her life. In the end Juliet pretends to agree with the marriage and her parents are delighted. Capulet even moves the wedding to Wednesday instead of Thursday. Yes, her parents are threatening and forcing her into marriage, but you could say that, like most parents, they want what’s best for their children. If only they hadn’t forced Juliet to marry Paris, then, she wouldn’t have to have faked her own death.From the prologue, we know that there is a feud going on, “…Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” as the chorus tells us. The feud between the two households has been going on for along time. When the Prince comes in at the beginning to stop the street fight, he says, “Rebellious subjects enemies to peace…three civil brawls of bred of an airy word, By thee old Capulet and Montague.” The Prince is sick and tired of this war, that he commands that there will be no more fights between them, otherwise they’ll have to face severe punishments.At the end of the play, when they discover Romeo and Juliet have both died, the Prince says, ” Capulet! Montague! See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That heaven finds means to kill you joys with love” So the Friar’s thinking, of how Romeo and Juliet’s love could end the feud, was true, it did. Though it had to take the lives of two innocent beings for them to finally shake hands and make peace. Montague says at the end he will make a golden statue for Juliet and Capulet will do the same for Romeo.Overall, I think that all that I have mentioned above has played a fair share in the tragedy, but I think perhaps, that fate and fortune and the whole feud itself are probably the main causes for Romeo and Juliet’s deaths. If the feud had not been going on between the two families, then Romeo and Juliet would not need to have gone through with the things they did, and throughout the play, little went right for them, luck didn’t seem to be on their side. The play ends, with the Prince saying, “A glooming peace this morning with it brings, the Sun for sorrow will not show his head:…Some shall be pardon’d, and some punished. For never was a story of more woe, Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” This ends the play quite well, it ends with a rhyming couplet, “woe and” “Romeo”. The Prince is saying,” Look what has been done, the sun will not come out, as it is weeping for Romeo and Juliet, some of you will be forgiven, but others will be punished, this story was a moving one and though good came out of it in the end, it is still a story of despair.”

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