The Role Of Fate In Romeo And Juliet
Fate is one of the biggest themes in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare plays with the idea that it is fate and not decision that determines the lives and the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The idea of fate is given in the opening sonnet showing the audience that fate is something to be examined throughout the play and there is nothing that Romeo and Juliet can do other than to follow their fate.
FATE AND THE OPENING OF ROMEO AND JULIET
Shakespeare opens the play with a sonnet describing Romeo and Juliet as ‘Star-crossed lovers’ suggesting that the roles have already begun to take shape even before they meet. He then continues with the idea of fate showing the audience what the outcome will be even before the play begins by describing how death is the outcome by describing Romeo and Juliet as ‘death-marked’.
FATE AND THE CHARACTERS IN ROMEO AND JULIET
Romeo and Juliet also seem very aware that their lives are governed by fate and not by decision alone as both refer to the idea of fate throughout the play. Romeo refers to fate intervention as he claims ‘hanging in the stars’. Romeo is not alone in believing fate is playing a part in their live because Juliet also refers to fate as she claims ‘This is far more mysterious for us’.
All these references to fate would not have gone un-noticed by the audience of Shakespeare’s plays. People of the time were known to be superstitious and believers in fate. It was this fear of superstition that led to the Witch trials and executions later in Shakespeare’s life and beyond.
INTERVENTION OF FATE THROUGHOUT ROMEO AND JULIET
There are many examples throughout Romeo and Juliet of fate intervening in the lives of Romeo and Juliet. Right from the beginning, fate places Romeo at a party he should not be at where he meets Juliet for the first time. Fate also intervenes as the woman Romeo falls in love with happens to be the daughter of his father’s enemy.
Fate does not stop at the lovers meeting and also plays a part as Romeo misses the messenger Balthasar. This one incident alone leads to Romeo believing Juliet is dead and drives him to his own suicide.
Fate is a main theme throughout Romeo and Juliet as this is seen to drive their lives from meeting to the final double tragedy at the end. Fate in Romeo and Juliet is seen to be a cruel device leading to a conclusion of how the feuding families need to be taught a lesson to end their fighting.