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Romeo And Juliet Essay, Research Paper

One of the oldest and most debated questions of all time is whether our lives

are governed by fate or by our personal choice. William Shakespeare, in Romeo

and Juliet, brings this question to the surface. Although fate seems to control

what happens to Romeo and Juliet their choices contribute more to their

"fate" than fate itself. Although some reasons that Romeo and Juliet

die are out of their control fate is not the largest reason that the lovers end

up dying. For example, when Romeo hears of Juliet’s death before he is told that

it is being faked. Romeo heard of his love’s death and rushed to her side to

kill himself so he may lye with Juliet. The choice to kill himself is his alone,

no one forces him to do it. The unfortunate circumstance that stops the Friar’s

assistant from delivering his message also aids the death of the lover’s but

does not cause it. Romeo doesn’t need to hear of the Friar’s and Juliet’s

deception to stop them from dying. If he hadn’t have done anything drastic they

would both have been alive and well. Also, Juliet could have told people about

her marriage to Romeo, accepted the consequences and then there would be no need

for the "fateful" message. Still, fate or circumstances above their

control do play a large role in determining the fate of the two young lovers. It

seems like Romeo and Juliet have the curse of bad luck throughout this story.

Fate seems to cause Mercucio to be killed by Tybalt under Romeo’s arm. This

causes Romeo to want to avenge Mercucio’s death and Romeo then slays Tybalt.

Hence, Romeo is forced to leave Verona or die and therefore one more

circumstance out of their control contributes to their deaths. This situation is

put on Romeo without his consent. Romeo and the choice whether or not to avenge

Mercucio’s murder. Tybalt does not attack Romeo. Romeo goes after Tybalt with

the intent to kill him. To take it a step further, Romeo could stay in Verona

and face the wake of his actions. Many times Shakespeare refers to

"fate" as being the reason that they died. When the Chorus uses the

phrase "Star-crossed lovers"(1,1,6), this indicates William

Shakespeare’s thoughts on what kills Romeo and Juliet. This tell the audience

that Romeo and Juliet are destined for trouble. Romeo saying "I am fortunes

fool"(3,1,145) after he kills Tybalt further emphasizes the point. Romeo

kills Tybalt yet he tries to blame fortune instead of blaming himself. He says

that fortune tricked him and he fell for it. "The unlucky manage of this

fatal brawl" (3,1,154), spoken by the Prince after he hears about the death

of Tybalt confirms that Shakespeare feels that luck is what determines what

happens. The fact that they were from feuding families that hated each other and

they still continued the relationship. Yet, Shakespeare doesn’t tell about the

poor judgement that the two young teenagers use. He tries to make it seem that

they had no choice in the matter. What really plays the biggest part in their

death is not fate but the decisions of the two adolescents. Many choices

contributed to the end of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo’s choice to go to the Capulet

party where he met Juliet was one example of their choice. He knows that his

family and Juliet’s family hate each other. Still, he goes to their party fully

knowing what might happen. Furthermore, Romeo chose to seek after Juliet and to

continue to see her. He could have just left and not have returned to her house

and gone to her balcony. By making this choice he sets up all the problems that

occur later. Even if the later events happen by chance and it seem as if fate

was the reason that they died, their choices put them in that position.

Although, Romeo pursued Juliet he isn’t the only reason that they die. Juliet’s

choices play a large part in deciding their end. Romeo woos Juliet but Juliet

could have resisted. When he sends for her to marry him, she can decide not to

show up. They also could be honest and tell their parents. The parents might not

like it but at least Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t die. When Juliet chooses to drink

the potion and not go with Romeo and leave Verona she makes a way for chance to

come into play. She could have left and lived with Romeo, but she didn’t and

therefore suffered for it. Many elements of chance or fate and choice together

decided the outcome of this story of two star-crossed lovers. Yes, things out of

their control helped to kill them but they made the decision to pursue each

other and leave the opening for those things to happen. So, was it choice or

fate? I believe that personal choice is the real nemesis.


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