Fate and the Deaths of Romeo and Juliet in William Shakespeare's Play
Before judging to what extent Fate was responsible for the deaths of
Romeo and Juliet, we must first answer the question: what is fate?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, fate is the 'inevitable
destiny or necessity destined term of life; doom.' On a more basic
level, fate can be described as a preplanned sequence of events
influencing one's life. In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, is it true
to say that Fate was the sole contributor to the deaths of the young
couple, or was their demise brought about by the mistakes of others?
In the modern world, most people choose to believe that they have a
sense of responsibility and can control their own lives. They suppose
that their problems are caused by the actions of themselves or those
influencing them. From one viewpoint, it is true to say that the
deaths of Romeo and Juliet were caused by the mistakes made by
themselves and others: the influence of fate was almost nonexistent.
Four characters in the play intensely manipulate the tragic path of
the young couple: (apart from Romeo and Juliet themselves) Mercutio,
the Nurse, Tybalt and the Friar.
Mercutio, one of Romeo's friends and a supporter of the Montague
household, changed the course of events by encouraging Romeo to go the
Capulet's masquerade and duelling with Tybalt in town. If Mercutio had
not encouraged Romeo to go to the Capulet's dance, the couple would
never have met and their deaths would have been averted. But was Romeo
destined to meet Juliet, regardless of the actions of others?
If Mercutio had not taunted Tybalt in town whilst out with Romeo and
Benvolio, Romeo would never have got into his fight with Tybalt and
therefore would not have been banished. Perhaps, however, the fight
initiated by Mercutio that hapless day was inevitable: could it be
that Romeo was somehow destined to be exiled?
The Nurse, Juliet's committed servant who treated her almost like a
daughter, changed the course of events by going behind Lord and Lady
Capulet's backs. If the Nurse had not performed Juliet's bidding and
acted as her messenger, it is possible that Juliet would have given up
on the idea of her marriage to Romeo and the couple's deaths would
have been averted. However, there is a strong possibility that
regardless of the Nurse's influence, the couple would still have gone
ahead with their doomed marriage once they had fallen in love.
The Friar, Romeo's friend and assistant of Juliet in her final plan,
changed the course of events by helping the young couple in their
plans to marry and assisting Juliet in her scheme to be with Romeo
once again. If the Friar had not agreed to marry Romeo and Juliet, it
is possible that the couple would have given up on the idea of being
together. On the other...