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Fate In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

905 words - 4 pages

In modern times, and in the Elizabethan era, fate plays an important
role in people's lives. Many people believe it to be written in stone, and
unchangeable. Many others believe it to be controlled by a person's own
actions. In Romeo and Juliet, fate is one of the main themes, described as
having power over many of the events in the play. Fate is often called upon,
wondered about, and blamed for mishaps. However, where fate is blamed in the
play as the ultimate cause for a mishap, there is always an underlying action,
or combination of them, on the part of human beings that decides the
consequences. Human weakness, the loss of self-control, is always the direct
cause of a bad choice or mishap, and not fate itself.
     One of the most noted instances where fate is blamed for a mishap is
when Romeo cries out the he supposedly is fortune's fool. He claims that fate
has brought on Mercutio's death, and has lead him to kill Tybalt in revenge.
     In Act 3, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is seen to be upset at
Mercutio's death and predicts that the “days black fate on more days doth
depend.” (III, I, 118) Tybalt then re-enters and Romeo becomes more upset that
Tybalt is triumphant with Mercutio being dead (III, I, 121). As Romeo becomes
overwhelmed with Mercutio's death and Tybalt's joy over it, he suddenly
declares that either he or Tybalt must die with Mercutio (III, I, 128). Tybalt
responds predictably and threatens Romeo (III, I, 129). Romeo takes the threat,
then fights Tybalt until Tybalt is finally killed. When Tybalt dies, Romeo
suddenly comes to grips with what he has done, and, unable to believe that he
did this of his own will, cries out that he is fortune's fool (III, I, 135).
     While many people may say that Romeo's grief caused him to kill Tybalt,
this still places no responsibility on fate. Romeo, being a peaceful
individual, should have kept as much of his cool as possible when dealing with
the situation. Leaving was a choice that Romeo had, and would most likely have
spared Tybalt's life and the consequences of his death. Benvolio also had the
choice to take Romeo away while he was in despair, and so it was in part
Benvolio's choice not to that led to the tragic results. Romeo's comment on
black fate is a thought that foreshadows ill events in the future. Since he
realizes that these events will take place, he should try to control them as
much as is possible by keeping a cool head and not letting his emotions rule
him, as is seen to be the case. This would give Romeo control over his future,
taking away the element of fate.

Capulet is viewed as a man who enjoys control. His decision to have Juliet
marry Paris is the reason for Friar Laurence's plan to fake Juliet's death. In
his...

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