The Fateful Journey of Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is about two kids who fall in love despite their feuding families. Romeo and Juliet are about fourteen years old and their troublesome love eventually causes their death. The play takes place in “fair Verona”. The action of the play moves quickly from the city streets to the Capulet's house, then to Juliet's balcony where she and Romeo fall in love, to Friar Lawrence’s' lonely cell and finally to the vault where the Capulets and the Montagues view their dead children. There are thought to be many underlying meanings for Romeo and Juliet’s death. However, by examining Romeo and Juliet’s fatal flaws, impossible coincidences, and the language in Romeo and Juliet, one can see that fate caused the deaths of the two lovers.
The play shows that fate is in control and Shakespeare also uses Romeo and Juliet’s fatal flaws for intensity. Romeo and Juliet both have flaws that inevitably lead to their deaths. Romeo and Juliet share the flaw of impetuousness. They both act without considering the consequences; this is dangerous in their case. For example, Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin Tybalt out of rage without considering how much it will worsen the conflict between the Capulets and the Montagues or how it will complicate his hidden romance with Juliet. Romeo grieves this by exclaiming “O, I am Fortune’s fool!” (III, i.130). This shows that Romeo doesn’t think about the consequence until after Tybalt has fallen. Romeo and Juliet’s worst flaw is that they resort to suicide as a brutal attempt to deal with their heartache. When Juliet finds out about her arranged marriage to Paris she states “If all else fail, myself have power to die” (III, v.255). Juliet’s warped conception of how to deal with pain eventually leads to her death. When Romeo thinks that Juliet is dead, he immediately thinks to kill himself. Romeo even has doubts about whether she was indeed dead or not, he examines her body and states “Thou are not conquered. Beauty’s ensign yet is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, and deaths pale flag is not advanced there” (V, III. 94-96). Considering that she did seem dead, Romeo should have waited for further evidence and if he had he would have gotten the information from Friar Lawrence that Juliet was alive. Instead Romeo acts impulsively, committing suicide beside Juliet. Juliet then wakes up, seeing that Romeo was dead, and kills her self as well. One can see that Romeo and Juliet’s fatal flaw of impetuousness leads to their eventual deaths.
Romeo and Juliet is full of unfortunate events that cannot be coincidences that add fuel to the fire and prove that fate controls the death of Romeo and Juliet. In the first act, a servant handing out invitations to the Capulet’s party who cannot read runs into Romeo and his cousin Benvolio on the streets and asks them to read the list. They read the list and decide to go the party, where eventually Romeo and Juliet meet. The servant’s random encounter with Romeo and Benvolio is fate; if they hadn’t talked to the servant they would not have known about the Capulet’s party. Another major coincidence is that Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love at the Capulet’s masquerade party which Romeo snuck into, oblivious to the fact that they hailed from feuding families. Secondly, the letter that Friar Lawrence sent Romeo telling him that Juliet is not dead doesn’t arrive to Romeo in time, so when he hears of her death he believes it. Also, Juliet wakes just minutes after Romeo finds her dead and kills himself because of it. If Romeo had arrives a few moments later, he would have found Juliet alive this would have prevented their suicides. These “coincidences” are nearly impossible, implying that it is indeed fate that led Romeo and Juliet to their deaths.
The language in Romeo and Juliet and their predictions also prove that fate controls the romance and death of Romeo and Juliet. Throughout the play Romeo dramatically predicts his death. Before Romeo goes to the Capulet’s ball he says “With this night’s revels, and expire the term of a despised life closed in my breast by some vile forfeit of untimely death. (I, v. 116-118). Here, Romeo prophesizes that he will die before his time, which eventually he does. When Juliet is talking to the nurse, she says that she will die if she cannot marry Romeo, which is an ironic anticipation of future events. Throughout the play Romeo and Juliet make references to their fate and destiny. Juliet says to the nurse, “Give me my Romeo, and when I shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars” (III, ii, 23-25). Juliet is tempting her destiny and outcome. When Romeo thinks that Juliet has died, he says “I defy you stars!” (V. i, 25). Romeo sees the stars as a symbol of his fate and his tragic destiny. Romeo and Juliet’s prophesies and references to fate further prove that it was indeed fate that led to their deaths.
In conclusion, the whole play revolves around fate. All the main characters in this tragedy have a fatal flaw that eventually leads to their doom or grievance, especially Romeo and Juliet. If there weren’t so many ironic coincidences, Romeo and Juliet would not have found each other and fallen into a forbidden love, which would have prolonged their lives and prevented their young deaths. The language in Romeo and Juliet shows that Romeo and Juliet are conscious that they have a destiny and the fact that they prophesize their deaths makes it clear that fate is the cause of Romeo and Juliet’s death