Romeo and Juliet

When you think of Romeo and Juliet, what do think of? Tragedy, suicide, death, and feuding families come to mind. How did it all get like that? No one but William Shakespeare knows for sure, but we can offer insight into The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. We all know the play, children born to feuding families that fall in love and die tragically. It has a harsh, desperate feeling to it that warns young people of the dangers of falling in love, and warns older people of what fighting between families can take away from them. However, on a lighter note, the play shows that by making conscious decisions, tragedy can be avoided.

There are numerous decisions that were made that severely altered the lives of Romeo and Juliet. The first noticeable example of the sway of the character’s actions in the play actually starts before either Romeo or Juliet were born and ends after their deaths. I am of course speaking of the longstanding feud between their families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Somewhere along the line, the two families wronged each other and chose to start some animosity between them. Another decision worth noting is the choice by Juliet’s parents to have her wed to Paris. If this seemingly small detail were overlooked, Juliet would not have had to drink the potion the Friar gave her, and Romeo would not have thought her to be dead and killed himself. These actions may have intervening fate, but, as I am sure you will agree, they are ruled mainly by what the characters want to do.

Yet another altering decision was the choice to end their lives so hastily. If Romeo had waited a few more moments before drinking the poison, Juliet would have awoken and they would have rode off to Mantua to live happily for the rest of their lives. They were much too willing to kill themselves for the person they loved, whom couldn’t even be saved by the act. A similar decision is their willingness to kill other people. Tybalt was willing to kill any Montague, but chose to kill Mercutio, Romeo’s friend. Romeo then killed Tybalt which caused his banishment from Verona.   

The most altering, of course, would have to be that Romeo chose to go to the party. If he had not chosen to go to the party, he would still be alive and pining over Rosaline. Juliet would have probably married Paris and never met Romeo. That would change the entire play; that particular decision was major. I am not saying that fate didn’t play a role, as the serving man happened to ask him if he could read the list of names, but Romeo definitely made a conscious decision to go to that party. That decision turned out to be life altering. Imagine the play if Romeo had never met Juliet. It wouldn’t be Romeo and Juliet without that one decision being made. The entire play hinges on one character’s action.

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is an amazing play that will be read for generation after generation. However, the evidence that the play is ruled in vast majority by the actions of the character is present. In many plays, movies, and stories things that would be considered fate are really ruled by what the character wants and what the character chooses to do. I implore you, that the next time you see things that seem fated, you take a closer look and evaluate the situation; ask yourself, “Is that really fate,” and be sure to answer correctly.

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