Romeo and Juliet Essay
In the Prologue of the play, Romeo and Juliet are described as “star-crossed lovers”, but the action of the play shows that their tragic deaths are the result of human behavior. Do you agree?

Word Count: 1008

The prologue of the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare shows us that the two lovers were victims of fate and destiny, however it is more likely that their deaths were caused by human behavior, as suggested in the action of the play. The actions of Lord Capulet, the Nurse, Friar Laurence and the lovers themselves are factors that contribute to the lovers’ deaths. The conflicts that occur between Mercutio, Tybalt and Romeo also do the same. The family feud between the two families is the framework for the play and without it the tragic deaths would not have occurred.

To show that the deaths of the lovers is a mainly because of human behavior, one must understand that it was common in Elizabethan times to be superstitious about people and places, and to believe in astrology. Therefore although there are many references to fate in the play, these do not necessarily show that the lovers’ deaths were caused by fate.

The death of Mercutio and Tybalt was the result of human behavior in terms of a fight. It is both Mercutio’s and Tybalt’s aggressive personality that causes the conflict and eventual death of both. The anger in Romeo at Mercutio’s death causes him to kill Tybalt and from this act of human behavior he is banished from Verona.

The fight between the young men in the play wouldn’t have happened if the families didn’t hate each other. In the opening scene of the play, the audience is introduced to the two feuding families and the hatred between them, which occurs between both servants and also the rulers of the house. We get to see Tybalt’s hate for all Montagues from the beginning and it represents the intense hate between the two families. The hatred is shown when Tybalt says ‘As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.’ (Tybalt, Act I, Sc. I, Line 69)

The play is based on a feud between two families, known as the ‘ancient grudge’. It was by the feud between the families that Romeo and Juliet met each other, and it was because of the feud that both of them died. This is an example of how the family feud is the main cause of their death. Although it states in the Prologue that Romeo and Juliet were a pair of ‘star-crossed lovers’, it also talks about the feud and how the death of the lovers ‘Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.’ (Chorus, Prologue, Line 8)

The intense hate between the two families is the reason that Romeo and Juliet had to keep their marriage a secret. It is interesting to note the cause and effect in the actions of the play. Because the marriage was kept a secret, Juliet couldn’t explain to Lord Capulet why she refused to marry Paris. We see from the beginning of the play that Lord Capulet is a good man wanting the best for his daughter. However he is shocked by Juliet’s stubborn attitude against marrying Paris and threatens to get rid of her from the family if she disobeys him.

The Nurse also plays are part in the outcome of events of the play. She is a friend of Juliet and her betrayal of Juliet by advising her to marry Paris causes a breakdown in their relationship. From that event onwards, Juliet has no support and goes to seek Friar Laurence. She feels abandoned during a crucial moment in her life and has to make her own decisions. This is shown when the nurse says ‘I think it is best you married with the County’ (Nurse, Act III Sc. 5, Line 218)

The interference of Friar Laurence is another factor contributing to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The Friar is a respected man in society and both Romeo and Juliet seek him for advice. His actions are all the result of human behavior and his consent to marry Romeo and Juliet was because he thought it would be better for both houses, as it would mean a link between the two families,