William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet Essay

2167 words - 9 pages

William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

According to the dictionary, fate is the “inevitable destiny or
necessity destined term of life; doom.” This means that fate can be
described as a pre-planned sequence of events influencing ones life.
Romeo and Juliet would have been performed to an Elizabethan audience
who believed very strongly in “fate” and “fortune”. Fate was destined
to happen and no one could alter it. Throughout the tragedy of Romeo
and Juliet, Shakespeare constantly utilises the motif of stars to
convey and develop the prominent theme of fate. Even and early as the
prologue, the words “A pair of star-cross’d lovers…” reveal
Shakespeare’s intent in conveying the association of fate with this
motif. Like stars, fate exists in the heavens. It is Romeo and
Juliet’s misfortune that leads to the sorrowful and tragic ending of
the play.

Romeo and Juliet is a play plagued with timing and fate. Some actions
are believed to happen by chance or destiny. The timing of each action
influences the outcome of the play. While some events are of less
significance, some are crucial to the development of the story. The
substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet are
the Capulet ball, the fight between Tybalt and Mercutio, and Friar
John’s plague.

A servant to Capulet, who is incapable of reading the list of guests
for a planned party, asks for Romeo’s assistance. Romeo notices that
Rosaline, his lover, is among these names. Benvolio challenges Romeo
to compare her with other “beauties.” He says, “Compare her face with
some that I shall show, and I will make thee think thy swan a crow.”
To show his appreciation, the servant asks for Romeo’s presence at the
ball. Romeo should have considered the servant’s warning; that if
Romeo occupies the name of Montague, he shall not be permitted, so he
disguises himself under a mask. Had Romeo and Benvolio not run into
the servant, he would never have met Juliet.

On the way to the Capulet party, Romeo admits, “My mind misgives. Some
consequence yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin his fearful
date with this night’s revels, and expire the term of a despised life
clos’d in my breast by some vile forfeit of untimely death.” Here
Romeo seems to be foreseeing his own death. He calls upon the one
“that hath the steerage” of his “course” – he who guides the path of
his life, to direct him to safety. The sea is often used by
Shakespeare as a symbol of the powerful and unpredictable forces of
fate and the audience already knows that Romeo’s fate is fixed for he
is “star-cross’d”.

Once at the ball, Romeo is searching for a woman to substitute
Rosaline. Romeo happens to gaze upon Juliet. He proclaims, “Did my
heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For ne’er saw true beauty
till this night.” Since Romeo declares...

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