Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a play about decisions, and more importantly, about action which comes after the decisions. The play demonstrates how love and hate can impair the decision making process, which in turn creates foolish actions. The main characters make decisions based on hate or love, and the actions cause unforeseeable consequences. For all actions, there are consequences – and the more important the action is, the more serious the consequence. Millions of actions are be committed by millions of diverse people all around the world, everyday – especially in a turbulent time as now. With the ever looming threat of SARS, the Ontario and Toronto government have taken special and important action to subside the respiratory disease – out of fear of a complete SARS epidemic. This means quarantining anybody with SARS, extra strict health checks at hospitals and airports; and quarantines for anybody that has traveled to Asia. One serious consequence is less travel to Toronto. Another serious consequence is the birth of a belief that all Asians carry SARS. This belief has caused many Chinese restaurants to loose money and for many Asian businesses to go bankrupt. While fear of a SARS epidemic has fuelled the precautionary actions taken by the Ontario and Toronto governments, the actions in Romeo and Juliet were fuelled by hate. In the play, there are two feuding families – the Montagues and the Capulets. They have been fighting for so long that they can’t remember what they are fighting about. The hatred of each other has been embedded in the minds of the families so much that there has been three brawls in the streets and many lives have been lost. Family members and those linked to the families had the hatred embedded in their minds so much, that the decisions they made resulted in serious consequences for either the character who committed the action or other characters in the play. A character in the play sent a challenge on the life of a member of the opposite house. A Friar linked to both houses must consider the hatred when taking action. Important actions that had been committed would have been different if the hatred between the Montagues and the Capulets did not exist.

The hatred between the two families can be seen clearly when Romeo step in to stop a fight between Tybalt and Mercutio. The fight emerged from a challenge on the life of Romeo by Tybalt. Romeo is a Montague and Tybalt is a Capulet. Romeo had just secretly married Juliet, Tybalt’s cousin; so he was unwilling to fight against a member of his own family. In this quote, Romeo says that he loves Tybalt and the name Capulet but Tybalt will never know why.

[I] love thee better than thou canst devise till thou shalt know the reason of my love. And so, good Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as mine own, be satisfied. (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 63-66)

Romeo’s friend, Mercutio, takes up Tybalt’s challenge. The two start fighting and Romeo steps in to try to put a stop to the fight. As a consequence to Romeo’s action of trying to stop the fight, he block’s Mercutio’s vision and Tybalt sword slips by Romeo and straight into Mercutio. “Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.” (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 97-98) says Mercutio to Romeo after being stabbed. The consequence continues as Romeo, seeing that his friend is dead, becomes furious. Approaching Tybalt, Romeo says:
…Mercutio’s soul is but a little way above our heads, staying for thine to keep him company. Either thou or I, or both, must go with him. (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 121-124)

He fights and kills Tybalt out of rage. He is banished to Mantua, a neighbouring town, by the Prince.

Romeo could have done something other than stepping in front of Mercutio to stop the fight, but his initial reaction was to end the fight as soon as possible – before anyone got hurt or killed. Instead of stepping into stop the fight, Romeo could have tried to convince Tybalt or Mercutio to stop fighting, but that would have taken too long and it might