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Romeo As A Tragic Hero Essay

1643 words - 7 pages

“A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;” (Prologue, 6)

Tragedy, events of great misfortune, has engulfed the world for centuries. Tragedy often giving rise to feelings of depression, anger, sorrow, and guilt. Romeo, in the tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, is a wealthy adolescent of the Montague family. He falls in love with young Juliet, of his rival family—the Capulets. Romeo’s infatuation with Juliet leads to a hasty desire for marriage. This creates a rash and careless mindset, making Romeo susceptible to errors in judgement. This same poor judgment causes Romeo to thoughtlessly slay Tybalt, as revenge for the death of his friend, Mercutio. Through fate, Romeo coincidentally falls in love with a Capulet, his family’s rival. It is ultimately Romeo’s hamartia, combined with chance, and death, that produce the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo is only human, an as such, will inevitably make errors—but some will have a much larger impact than others. Hamartia, or a tragic flaw, is an error in a certain character, which leads to his destruction. During the Capulet’s masquerade ball, Romeo is love-struck at the sight of Juliet, for “[he] ne’er saw true beauty till [that] night.” (I, v, 52). Romeo is suddenly entranced and overcome by emotion. Romeo feels forced to linger and see Juliet once again. He finds Juliet, on a balcony, unaware of his presence. Juliet secretly hopes Romeo would “refuse [his] father and refuse [his] name:” (II, ii, 34). Romeo, struggles with the notion of betrayal of his family. Refusing his father would lead to the loss of his entire inheritance. This choice imposes compromise upon Romeo. He must make a tough decision—his lifestyle or his love. Romeo’s naive infatuation with Juliet has made him very hasty, and so, agrees to abandon everything he owns, in order to be united with her in marriage. He failed to realize the repercussions of his family’s abandonment, especially since he has abandoned his family for an enemy. This infatuation and haste gives birth to an altered mindset—one “too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden,” (II, ii, 118). This mindset causes a loss of self-control. Romeo becomes driven by passions, and ignores reason. It should be noted that passions are found the bottom of the hierarchy of the human soul. This hierarchy states the importance of each guiding sense, and following passion leads to dire consequences—usually death. Romeo’s reckless actions echo throughout the remainder of the play. During a brawl in Verona, Mercutio is slain by Tybalt. Romeo impulsively steps in and challenges Tybalt—claiming that “either [Tybalt] or [he], or both, must go with [Mercutio].” (III, i, 125). Romeo thoughtlessly engages in combat, hoping either Tybalt or he (Romeo) will die to honour Mercutio. This conflict results in Romeo killing Tybalt. Consequently, Romeo is banished from Verona by Prince Escales. Romeo is similarly hasty in deciding to end his life after discovering...

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