Fate's Fatality Essay

1417 words - 6 pages

Attempting to explain natural phenomena of the world, man turned to mythology in order to gain such understanding. Mythology granted stability to cultures by fostering a shared set of perspectives, values, history, and literature through stories. When creating these stories, man credited many supernatural deities with controlling various aspects of the world, even the thread of human life. Because deities seemingly possessed all control over man and his future, man’s ability to act on his own will was considered worthless. The playwright William Shakespeare addressed this concern in his play Romeo and Juliet, which tells the tragedy of two star-crossed lovers whose deaths reconcile their ...view middle of the document...

Although the gambler appears to be in control, it is the fate of the game that determines who gets lucky. Unfortunately, Romeo fails to understand fate, which explains his depression for something beyond his control. In addition, drinking alcohol is common in pub settings. Because alcoholic beverages impair its users, drinkers lose control of not only motor skills but also rational thinking. Drinking leaves most people with compromised judgment and free will, and their actions after this point are out their control and in fate’s control. Thus, Luhrmann’s setting for this scene emphasizes how Romeo, like a drunkard, possesses a compromised free will, because he cannot control his love for Rosaline whether she loves him back or not. Once the broken-hearted Romeo decides to attend the costume party that night on his own will, fate introduces him to his new love, Juliet. Although gambling and drinking alcohol contradict religious ideals, Romeo’s illusion of free will leads him from the pub to the church.
Luhrmann places the secret marriage of Romeo and Juliet in the church to reveal how free will contradicts fate—even for a man of the church. Once Romeo leaves the Capulet mansion late after the party, he visits Friar Lawrence at the church on the next morning. Because Friar Lawrence is both a Christian and an apothecary, Luhrmann presents him as the sole figure of religion and wisdom in the film. Since Christians are to have faith and perform good actions, Friar Lawrence has faith that his act of uniting Romeo and Juliet will end the prolonged feuds between their families. All of his well conceived and well planning to unite the lovers takes place in the church, where he seems to be in control as a religious figure. However, once his plans are to be executed outside the setting of the church, fate is responsible for their failed execution. Because the Friar, like Romeo, fails to understand this fate, he continues to wrongly guide Romeo and Juliet on their love journey. Unfortunately, this advice and guidance proves to be pointless, because fate places them in a tragic situation each and every time. Furthermore, since Friar Lawrence’s medicinal room is joined to the church, Luhrmann highlights the friar’s understanding of the complex world of health and his inability to understand the simple idea of fate. He formulates and dispenses medicines and potions, which he has no control over once they are out of his hands and in the hands of fate. Similarly, the world metaphorically formulates and dispenses fate, which man has no control over. Even though Friar Lawrence’s plans serve as the main tools through which the fated tragedy of the play occurs, the Friar is not only subject to the fate that dominates the play but also, in many ways, he brings that fate about.
The powerful social institution of law influences Romeo and Juliet’s consequences and, thus, provokes the tension between free will and fate in the setting of the crime scene. In this crime...

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