Fate, the development of events beyond a person’s control, determined by a supernatural power. For Romeo and Juliet their fate was set from the beginning. Whether it was Romeo’s fate and his moody teenage love, or Juliet’s fate and the pressure she feels to choose between who she loves and who her parents want her to be with. There are other characters throughout the play that play a role in their fate, some that help them and others that give the wrong advice at the wrong times. All these factors come into play when deciding how fate will take control of Romeo and Juliet’s lives and ultimately become the meaning for their death. This is why fate plays a role in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare makes it very obvious that Romeo’s death is inevitable right from the beginning of the play. He drops hints about his death and brings up fate and its role in his death. One of the first signs of fate that started the spiral towards Romeo’s death was when they ran into the servant handing out invitations to Capulet’s party. In Act 1 Scene 2 a servant comes up to Romeo and say’s ‘God gi’ god-den. I pray, sir, can you read?’ After reading this list Romeo realizes his one true love Rosaline is attending the party and decides to show up to see her. Instead of seeing Rosaline Romeo meets Juliet and instantly falls in love with her. I think this relates to Romeo’s fated death because it’s a coincidence that the servant supposed to read out the invitation cannot read himself. Without this happening he never would have laid eyes on Juliet and started their tragic love story. Another time Romeo’s death seemed to be fated is when he predicted his own death. In Act 1, Scene 4 he says, ‘I fear too early, for my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin his fearful date.’ He says this right before going to the Capulet party and meeting Juliet. This context of this quote doesn’t play a big part in the play until the very end since right after it is said you see the lover meeting for the first time. Another interesting part about this quote is that Shakespere foreshadows Romeo’s death, even having it come right from Romeo himself. Finally in Act 5 Scene 1 ‘Is it even so? Then I defy you, stars.’ Romeo is talking about defying his own fate after hearing that Juliet is dead. This happens a lot throughout the book when the characters seem to try and take fate into their own hands but it is already written into the stars and there isn’t anything they can do. Romeo has many incidents with his fate that all come together leading to his untimely death. Some of them are obvious, straight foreshadowing that Shakespeare meant for us to see, while others come a little later in the story yet fit perfectly into his timeline.
Similar to Romeo, Juliet’s death is fated from the start. Yet unlike Romeo she tries to defy her fate and rewrite the stars much more. In Act 1 Scene 5 Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time and they fall in love instantly. For Juliet this starts the tumble towards her death. She is arranged to marry Paris but all this changed after she locks eyes with Romeo. They are fated to meet and after that all is seemingly going good but, little did they know something will go terribly wrong. This is similar to Jack and Rose in the Titanic. Their love story also starts off with love at first sight and as we go through the movie we see fate controlling their lives and leading to Jack’s death. There are also other characters who are seen changing their fate and giving advice. For Romeo and Juliet fate takes a turn for the worst in Act 3, Scene 5 when Juliet says ‘O Fortune, Fortune! All men call thee fickle.’ This is talking about Romeo being banished from Verona and she hopes fortune will not keep him away from her much longer. Juliet depends on fate to bring her Romeo back, but fate clearly had other plans. Juliet continues to tumble towards her fated death as now she is being pushed to marry Paris and cannot see her lover. She feels trapped between what she wants and what fate is giving her. Lastly in Act 4, Scene 3 Juliet sits alone in her bedroom holding the vile given to her by Friar Lawrence, and she wonders what will happen if she drinks it. ‘Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.’ After talking to her mother before bed Juliet is met with two decisions: take the vile and take the chance of not waking up or being stuck with Paris. This is when she tries to take fate into her own hands and decides what she wants to do. Yet of course her fate is already set and she ends up following its plans. Juliet’s fate is very similar to Romeos in the way they both have their paths set right from the beginning with Shakesphere saying ‘A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life’ in the prologue, and although the lovers try to defy their fate many times they are no match against the stars.
Fate does not only affect Romeo and Juliet but also the other characters seen throughout the book. These characters play an important role in being apart of their deaths, either helping or sometimes giving bad advice. In Act 2, Scene 3 Friar Lawrence tells Romeo ‘Wisely and slow, they that run fast stumble.’ Friar is telling Romeo not to move too quickly, those who run fall and stumble. This is right before the marriage of Romeo says he is going to marry Juliet but it can be used in other contexts throughout the play as well. For example Friar Lawrence goes back on his words when he then rushed their marriage thinking it would help mend the two houses. Little does he know his plan works but not in the way he was hoping. In Act 3 Scene 5 Capulet and Juliet fight about the wedding between her and Paris, because of this Juliet now feels pressured and rushed. She goes to Friar Lawrence because of this to try and fix her problem. This only leads her closer to her death. Lastly Act 4 Scene 3 Juliet sits by the bed with the vile of poison that will make her seem dead. This was given to her by Friar Lawrence trying to help the situation but, just like he’s done before he rushed too fast into things and it ended up making everything worse and staying on fates evil plan.
These are only some examples of fates role in Romeo and Juliet’s death since it plays the biggests role throughout the play. The two are seen blaming fate, trying to defy it, and in the end having fate lead them to their death. Other characters like Friar Lawrence and Lord Capulet are seen at first as giving some good but as the play goes on we see the down sides to their ideas and how it hurts more then helps. No matter what fate throws at you ‘What must be shall be’, as Juliet said so fittingly.