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The Effect Of Fate On The Outcome Of A Drama

1165 words - 5 pages

Every day, humans wonder whether they control the choices they make or if a greater force controls them. From the first page of Shakespeare’s romantic drama, The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, fate is out to get the players. This deplorable catastrophe is set in Verona, Italy, where two feuding households war with each other. Romeo and Juliet, children of the fighting heads of the households, secretly wed each other and eventually kill themselves because society declares the couple cannot be together. Most individuals like to attribute blame on people when bad occurrences happen. Even though most people blame personal responsibility, they do so because they cannot control the actions of fate. Humans accuse others solely because they wish to completely disregard the impact fate has on the tragic outcome. In fact, circumstance alone is the reason Romeo and Juliet suffer a tragic ending.
Since before the birth of Romeo and Juliet, fate knows of the impending doom approaching and affects the turn of events to ensure the ‘correct’ outcome. Even Romeo knows that he is doomed to some “consequence yet hanging in the stars” (Shakespeare I.iv.114). He begins to recognize that he is a pawn in this play and has no real affect on the outcome due to this supernatural feeling. Chance has control over this play’s course and does not relinquish its grip until the end. Later in the play, Romeo and Tybalt battle and the latter dies, causing the foolish Romeo to be banished to Mantua. The young man realizes that “[he is] Fortune’s fool!” (III.i.142). The gallant lover is now sure of fate’s plan to make an example of him. Chance avoids the boy’s pitiful attempt to escape with Juliet by “seal[ing] up the doors [of Friar John]” (V.ii.11), the bearer of the letter to Romeo. This allows Romeo time to make his way to the Capulet’s tomb. Even the friar, schooled in the Christian faith, acknowledges that “an unkind hour / [i]s guilty of this lamentable chance!” (V.iii.150-1). The Friar understands too late that the tragic occurrences were out of his control. Circumstance directly and indirectly took the measures necessary to achieve the outcome it desired. Fate affects the players of this performance by causing banishment, confusion, and death.
One of the reasons fate targets Romeo and Juliet is because of the couple’s mistake to challenge and tempt fate, at the risk of worsening their lives. Even though fate has predetermined Romeo and Juliet’s deaths, the teens are not doing themselves a favor by coaxing circumstance. A study on psychology reveals that “negative outcomes are more accessible following actions that tempt fate than following actions that do not tempt fate” (Risen). This is because of chance’s desire to impact our lives in uncontrollable ways. Romeo is overconfident with his plans to marry Juliet and declares to “[let] love-devouring death do what he dares” (Shakespeare II.vi.7). The foolish boy provokes chance to bring death and...

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