Fate or carelessness

After reading Romeo and Juliet for the first time I cannot help but wonder the role fate played in this tragic romance. Is Romeo and Juliet’s end predetermined? Does fate control Romeo and Juliet’s love?
The play starts out with the chorus explaining that the two children of rivaled families are born to love each other and die by suicide. This quote shows what fate already has in store for them before they are born. The first time you notice it from the characters themselves is before Romeo attends Capulets ball where he first sets eyes on Juliet, he admits he has a feeling like something is “hanging in the stars”(1.4.13) Romeo has the feeling that something was about to happen but a new love was the last thing he could have predicted. The one thing he does speculate is that fate had control not him. This event was surprising as the reader that Romeo was not removed from the party after being recognized as an uninvited guest from the opposing family. After the two lovers make a vow to each other despite their feuding families to stay together Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin Tybalt “O’ I am fortune’s fool.” (3.1.131) He realizes afterward that he gave into fate.
Romeo not receiving the letter from Juliet telling him the plan she and the friar arranged was probably the biggest intervention of fate. When Romeo hears of Juliet’s death he states “Is it even so? Then I defy you, stars!” (5.1.24) Romeo is convinced that he and Juliet be together despite fate. The timing of Juliet’s wake up just a short while after Romeo drinks the poison was a bit cruel as well. So not only did Romeo not get the message of her plan, but he hastily reacted leaving her no choice but to do the same.
If any one of these events did not occur, their relationship would have been significantly different. These young lovers were fate’s way of bringing these two families together, the alternative would have been them killing each other off one by one. Fate sacrificed four lives to save hundreds. Does fate get to claim the credit for the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio? With many warning to stop the feud and violence fate finally took control of the situation and made a statement that neither side could ignore. Although both sides suffered great loss I would say that Juliet’s father suffered the greatest. He had lost his only kin who would have allowed his legacy to continue. With Juliet’s death he had no one to pass his family’s fortune to. He states this perfectly in “Death is my son-in-law, Death is my heir” (4.5.38)

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3 thoughts on “Fate or carelessness

  1. burnettd1

    I agree that fate did bring the Montague and Capulet families together at the end of the play. After the families feuded for many years, their lives changed drastically when Romeo and Juliet fell in love with one another. Romeo and Juliet’s love was impossible because of the families “ancient grudge”. Therefore, Romeo and Juliet had to sneak behind their parents’ backs and get married to one another. When Romeo was banished for killing Tybalt, this changed the play by causing Romeo and Juliet to be forced to separate. In the end, the only way the two lovers could be together was if they both died. Since the timing of things continued to be an issue throughout the play, it caused fate to take over which lead to the tragic ending. The only good thing that came from Romeo and Juliet’s death is that the feud between the Montague and Capulet families ended. This was represented when Montague said that he was going to build a statue of Juliet and a statue of Romeo would be placed directly next to her. These statues symbolized how fate ended the feud and brought peace among the two families.
    I also agree that Juliet’s father did suffer the most from Juliet’s death. Her father had nobody else to give his fortunes and wealth to when he dies; therefore, his wealth would die along with his daughter. Since his daughter never got married to Paris like he wanted, he would not be considered his son-in-law; therefore, he had no male heir to pass on his wealth to.

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  2. victoriamackey

    How interesting that fate played such a role in the play! I also noticed the repetition of “stars”, and the multiple areas in the dialogue where “stars” is personified to be more than lights in the sky. The same applies with the use of “fortune” that you mentioned. Romeo defies “fortune” in the same way he defies his family name, as though “fortune” would be personally affronted by Tybalt’s death, sealing Romeo’s destiny.

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  3. Michelle D.

    I personally believe that if there is a choice between all of the things that occurred being fate or carelessness, I would say it was carelessness. It’s ridiculous the way that every single thing went down in this play, granted there was a certain, if not complete, amount for dramatic theatrical benefit. I felt as though each decision that was made was mostly a poor one, not something that “the fates” could have avoided. There were moments throughout the play, such as the entire plan that Juliet had to pretend to kill herself, that could have gone more smoothly. I always felt like if it were going to be a serious plan like that, why not have several backup methods to make sure an important member of said plan (Romeo) knew all about it as well. The other part I don’t completely agree on is how Juliet’s father supposedly lost the most. He lost a lot, granted. But it just feels like everyone had a part in this terrible doing which in the end was the undoing of both families and the feud, but I would think that the children that died lost the most because of the combination of their parents and poor quickly schemed plan.

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