In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, fate controlls the characters. The idea is that there is a supernatural force that determines how the characters are going to act and feel in different situations. Both Romeo and Juliet think that they were destined to be together, and if they could not be together, there was no reason to live. Hasty actions rush Romeo and Juliet’s marriage into a dangerous event that kills them and other characters. Was it truly fate that brought these two young lovers to such an untimely death, or was it rather their impetuosity that drove their uncontrollable passion?
Shakespeare’s idea that afear of fate itself can influence other themes in the play, thus altering the events of the plot. Shakespeare wrote a total of thirty-seven plays in his lifetime. The time period in which he wrote was called the Elizabethan era. Most Elizabethans believed strongly that their lives were influenced by supernatural forces that were out of their hands. They believed that astrology was a legitimate science and that fate was closely tied with the heavens, planets, and stars. This was called the, “chain of being”. In many plays, fate controls Shakespeare’s doomed lovers.
Romeo and Juliet play that part in the tragedy and their death is blamed on destiny. On the way to the Capulet party Romeo states, “I fear too early, for my mind misgives, some consequence yet hanging in the stars, shall bitterly begin his fearful date which this night’s revels and expire the term of a despised life, clos’d in my breast, by some vial forfeit of untimely death. But he that hath the steerage of my course direct my sail! On lusty gentlemen” I. IV. 106 The ominous outlook both Romeo and Juliet have on their relationship keeps them from complete happiness.
Despite their predictions, they truly believe they were meant to be together, even if it meant killing themselves. Romeo and Juliet killed themselves because they believed that their relationship would go beyond the grave and their love would be eternal. One of the major themes that evolve from fate is love verses death. There are many examples of this theme that foreshadow the tragedy at the end of the play. Romeo and Juliet’s feuding familie’s made their relationship was difficult from the beginning. Yet, they defy the feud and fall in love.
After the Capulet party, Juliet remarks, “If he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed. ” I. V. 133 Juliet is implying that if Romeo already belongs to another woman, than she can live no longer. Their forbidden love causes Romeo and Juliet to be associated with darkness and death. Both are sneaking behind the backs of their families and the townspeople at night in order to be together. When Romeo is banished from Verona for killing Tybalt, Juliet threatens to murder herself and Romeo complains that being banished is a far worse punishment than being killed.
Even Juliet says that her entire family and herself could die, and it would not be as bad as Romeo being banished. In the end, both of them get their wish as they kill themselves so they can be together in heaven. Romeo and Juliet’s forbidden love resolves the endless fighting between the Capulets and Montegues after their tragic deaths. Romeo and Juliet believe so strongly that they are destined to be together, they feel there is no need to slow down and get to know each other. The theme of the impetuous youth appears in almost all the actions Romeo and Juliet take to become a couple.
They meet at the Capulet party where they talk for only a couple minutes and already become madly in love. After finding out they are trapped between their feuding families, they start sneaking away through dangerous territory to pledge their love. Juliet’s parents have already arranged her marriage set with County Paris which forces her to take drastic actions. Friar Lawrence gives Juliet a vile filled with a sleeping potion that will temporarily stop her heart and five scenes so she can escape her marriage to Paris and run away with Romeo.
Juliet is quick to accept the poison and falls under the medicinal coma until Romeo takes her away. Little did she know, Romeo was not aware of the plan. He rushes into Juliet’s tomb where he not only kills Paris, but himself because his dearest love is dead. Juliet soon awakens, finds Romeo has committed suicide, takes his dagger, and stabs herself. Quick actions lead to tragedy. We will never know if it was truly fate that brought such an untimely death to the two young lovers or just their impetuous decisions.
The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is influenced by Shakespeare’s idea that fate can cause the characters to act and feel differently. Romeo and Juliet are immature and their impetuous actions lead them to their graves. They believe that life on earth is not worth living if you don’t have someone to love. The Elizabethan times was the period in which Shakespeare wrote his plays and where many people strongly believed that they had no control over their fate and that supernatural forces made all of their decisions.
This belief greatly influenced his writing and is a major theme in Romeo and Juliet. Would there have been and alternate ending if Romeo and Juliet had taken fate into their own hands and married with the approval of both families, or was it truly destiny that turned their love story into tragedy? From past actions it is obvious that it was Romeo and Juliet’s fear of fate that resulted in their impetuas descions and drove them to their deaths.