Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare designed to thrill and shock the audience. This essay is to inform you on how fate is projected on the story. Fate is the development of events outside a person’s control, usually as decided by a higher power. I will be discussing 5 main areas of fate coincidence, metaphor, premonition, paradox and the prologue. Hope you enjoy !!!
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet fate is delivered to the audience in many different ways . One of these are through coincidence. coincidence is dotted throughout the play to show how god affects the story line . Most of these coincidences are to progress and develop the story to the point to where Romeo and Juliet kill themselves. For example in act 1 scene 2 a servant of the Capulet house is sent around Verona with an invite to a party to give to all the appropriate recipients. The servant can not read so asks a nearby stranger if he can read . Quote ” God gi god den. I pray, sir , can you read ? The stranger happens to be Romeo with Benvolio. Romeo reads the letter with the invited guests on and happens to find Rosaline on it . Romeo currently has a crush on Rosaline so is tempted to go but fears that he will be found out by the Capulets. Benvolio then persuades Romeo to go to the ball because he believes that Romeo will find someone more beautiful than Rosaline. This is a moment of coincidence because:
- Out of the thousands of people walking the streets that day the servant chose Romeo and Benvolio to read the letter.
- As we all know the ball is where Romeo and Juliet first meet, so is a crucial step in the events of the play. which means it was a coincidence ( influenced by god) that Romeo went to the ball .
You could say that when Benvolio convinced Romeo to go he was subconsciously told by god to pursue the actions that he took in the play. But in my opinion this was not intended by Shakespeare because Benvolio was talking to Romeo about how you could find other women more beautiful than Rosaline before the servant found them . But when the servant picks out the two in the crowded street this is decent evidence to suggest the fact that the play has been controlled by fate ; because it was highly unlikely that the servant would find Romeo and Benvolio naturally. Nonetheless coincidence is a frequently used reference to fate in Romeo and Juliet .
Another regularly used reference to fate in Romeo and Juliet is the use of metaphors. When Shakespeare uses metaphors in Romeo and Juliet they are usually discrete and easy to miss but a hidden secret for those who find them. Shakespeare predominately uses metaphors that depict life being a journey. For example, before Romeo goes to the Capulet ball he says Quote “He that hath steerage of my course, direct my sail”. The metaphor that Romeo is describing is about a boat, hence steerage, course and sail as used in the text above. But the metaphorical meaning that is intended to be inferred from the passage is that Romeo is allowing his fate to be decided by the captain of his “ship”. But we know that the captain of Romeo’s “ship” is God ; because Shakespeare uses a capital H on “he” . We only do this if we are referring to God. This a potent reference to God’s hand of fate because Romeo is giving his choice of free will up to God. Thus showing how metaphors are highly significant to prediction the upcoming events.
Another tool to show fate is through premonition. Premonition is a strong feeling that something is about to happen, especially something displeasing. In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare uses premonition to signal that something significant is going to happen. This is to excite the reader or viewer with something to look forward too. Shakespeare presents premonition to the audience through characters dreams and visions. A great example of this is in act 1 scene 5 when Romeo states Quote “I dreamt my lady came and found me dead”. This as we know is what follows later in the play so qualifies to be a form of fate, which in this case is premonition. Which is used many times throughout the play.
Before the play begins The Chorus delivers the prologue to the audience as a insight into what the play will be about. In the prologue there are a couple of hints towards the fate of Romeo and Juliet in the rest of the play. This is to keep the audience stays interested throughout the play. The first sniff of fate the audience gets is : Quote “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life” Which if we dissect, we can see that there are two lovers (Romeo and Juliet ) and they ” star crossed ” . Meaning they are doomed by god and the heavens. “Take their life” which is sort of self explanatory , but means they will commit suicide. we can confirm this inference because we know that it happens later in the play. Another secret that we can ascertain from the prologue is on the 8th line “Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife”. this basically means they will “bury” or end the feud between the two families. This is just another way Shakespeare gives the audience a glimpse in the future of Romeo and Juliet’s fate.
Fate. In the christian religion, your fate is decided by god . All that you will do is a path that has already been chosen for you. Life , is a gift from god, so the idea of suicide is a dishonorable action in that the life that god gifted you, you have wasted. So why did god mean for Romeo and Juliet to die? As we know the Capulets and montagues hated each other and Romeo and Juliet are from either family. The feud between the two families resulted in many deaths of both citizens and members of the two families. This obviously isn’t a good thing .So god made a “plan”. In short he lured Romeo and Juliet into loving each other and then both committing suicide. God did this so that the families would reflect on what they had done and eventually resolve the conflict. This is what Shakespeare used to illustrate what might of happened after the end of the play; without needing to write it.
To conclude fate in romeo and juliet can be injected into the scrip in many different ways. He does this too emphasize the fact that romeo and Juliet will commit suicide so that the families will resolve the conflict. This is gods “plan”. I hope you have enjoyed my essay and taken something from it.
HUGO DARBY : )