How far do fate and destiny play their parts in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

Personal Writing – Response to a Shakespeare play

“Romeo and Juliet”, is one of the greatest love stories of all time. Romeo and Juliet come from feuding families, the Montagues and Capulets, but they defy the feud and fall in love. Many events take place during the five short days that they share their love. Romeo’s and Juliet\'s love finds a tragic way to overcome the differences between their families. The story revolves mostly around Juliet while she grows up and falls in love, only to have fate keep her from complete happiness.

The power of fate is introduced in the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet when it states,

"A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life." (Prologue Line 6)

From the first lines of the play the audience is made aware of the ultimate deaths of the lovers. Instantly aware that fate is at work the audience know the outcome is inevitable. However, the rich imagery in the text is used well, so one can not help but hope that Fate will be thwarted. Fate, rather than being personified as in earlier times, is given power and substance through cosmic imagery. So from the outset, fate deals the lovers its worst and ends as predicted, with death. Fate is the force that predetermines events, but since the story takes place in a Christian context, fate can also be interpreted as Providence, or God. In Romeo and Juliet, fate is the biggest force opposing Romeo and Juliet. It is more powerful than the hate between the families because the lovers found ways to combat the hate, but there is no way to evade a predestined death. Some might call these events coincidences, but it is written as fate in the Prologue.

William Shakespeare begins his play with the Prologue to make it clear that the fate of the lovers is not their fault; they are not entirely responsible for their misfortune. The Prologue directs our attention to the important part which fate plays in the lives of the two young lovers, who are to some extent the victims of their parents\' strife. The Prologue states,

"The fearful passage of their death-mark\'d love," (Prologue Line 9)

This implies that the fate of their love is death. The first coincidence is that Romeo and Juliet shared the unfortunate fate of being from feuding families. It is not very likely that of all the people to fall in love with, they had to choose each other. Without the fate of the young lovers, the story would not have existed. There are many smaller details of fate that leads to the couple\'s demise, but none as important as the fact that the end is stated in the beginning.

The first act of fate comes when Capulet\'s illiterate servant asks Romeo to help him read the guest list for a party that night. When Romeo sees his love Rosaline’s name on the list, he decides to crash the party, disguised with a mask. Romeo becomes a pitiful puppet in the hands of fate when on the way to the party he says:

I fear too early; for my mind misgives

Some consequence yet hanging in the stars

Shall bitterly begin his fearful date…

By some vile forfeit of untimely death. (Act 1 Sc 5 Line 106)

The line “Some consequence yet hanging in the stars” suggests that there is an event that will happen, which he cannot avoid. Romeo also backs up the idea of fate choosing his path when he says “But he hath the steerage of my course”. By this he means that there is a greater power, namely fate, that is leading him, and that he does not have any free will.

This proves that Romeo feels uneasy about going to the Capulet party but he does not follow his instincts. At the ball, Romeo sees Juliet and immediately forgets all about Rosaline. The fact that the servant asked Romeo and Benvolio for help is definitely a coincidence that affects the entire story. If he had not known about the ball, he may not have met Juliet. Theoretically, if Romeo had found Rosaline and she returned his love, he may