Summary Of 'Romeo And Juliet' Written By Shakespeare

“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will”- Jawaharlal nehru.

Romeo and Juliet is a tragic play written by Shakespeare, that follows the lives of two star-crossed lovers. Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona, Italy, where there is an ongoing feud between the Capulets and Montagues. Romeo is the son of lord Montague, and he happens to fall deeply in love with Juliet, the daughter of lord capulet. Even though they’re love is pure, they’re families were never going to accept them. Along with this, Romeo kills a capulet and is banished for life, causing Juliet to pursue a dangerous plan to be with Romeo.

However, miscommunication causes both Romeo and Juliet to take their own lives. It is not fate, but rather the imprudent and fraught actions that bring about the demise of Romeo and Juliet.

In the play, Juliet goes through many tragic and unfortunate events, and most of them are caused by her own choices. Juliet wakes from the potion induced sleep and sees Romeo dead next to her. Not wanting to live without him, Juliet says, “Yea, noise? Then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger!/ [Snatches Romeo’s dagger.]/ This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die./ [She stabs herself and falls.]”(5.3.169). This, however, could have been prevented, for it was Juliet’s choice to end her life. Something that is caused by fate is caused by God’s plan for everyone, including how people die. Juliet’s death is caused by her own free will, not by a natural cause. Furthermore, Romeo’s choices also initiate the tragic events in the play. For example, Romeo is in the city of Mantua, When Balthasar brings the news of Juliet’s death. Romeo, who is devastated, goes to Juliet’s tomb and says, “Here’s to my love! (drinks the poison) o true apothecary, Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die”(5.3.19-20). Thinking Juliet is dead, Romeo drinks the poison. It was Romeo’s own choice to drink the poison to be with Juliet in the afterlife. For example, Romeo attends the Capulet party in search of his first love, Rosaline. When Romeo arrives at the capulet party and is starstruck by a beautiful woman (Juliet). Romeo asks the serving-man, Peter, “What lady’s that which doth enrich the hand/ Of yonder knight?”(1.5.39-40)As he says this, Romeo is trying to find his original love, but he ends up falling in love with another woman, Juliet. Romeo allows himself to search for Juliet. Which, is when he sees Juliet in the balcony and professes his love for her. This proves that the events of Shakespeare's play are based upon free will because both Romeo and Juliet allowed themselves to take drastic measures to be with each other.

Also, Juliet acts according to her own mind, despite her belief in fate. Juliet knows that a relationship with Romeo is not the wisest choice even though she loves him.

Once Romeo possesses his love for Juliet, she replies “Although I joy in thee, I have no joy of this contract tonight. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden. Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be Ere can say “it Lightens”(2.2.116-120). Juliet realizes that she is rushing into the relationship. Not only is the relationship with Romeo a bad choice because they have just met, but it is complicated more by the family feud. Knowing this, Juliet continues to see Romeo and ends up marrying him, willingly. A further example of personal choice would be when Romeo kills Tybalt for revenge. “Now, Tybalt, take the “villain” back again. That late thou gavest me, for Mercutio’s soul. Is but a little way above our heads, Staying for thine to keep him company.”(3.1.121-124).

Romeo makes the impulsive decision to stab and kill Tybalt, not once think about how this might affect him, his family, or even Juliet. Ultimately this results in Romeo getting banished from Verona. Due to this, Juliet follows a plan that eventually causes both of their deaths. This supports the claim that no greater force, such as fate, caused the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, but rather the rash decisions made by the characters. Another possible interpretation is a greater force known as fate. For instance, when Juliet awakens from the tomb Friar Lawrence says, “ Lady, come from that nest Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep. A greater power than we can contradict Hath thwarted our intents” (5.3.151-154). Here Friar tells Juliet that a “greater power” or fate has ruined the course of their plan because Romeo’s death was already destined.

However, the majority of the text evidence points to the personal choices of characters. When Friar Lawrence walks in to see both Paris and Romeo lying soullessly on the ground, he says it is “Lamentable Chance' (5.3.151). He is stating that it was out of his control that the two had passed away, yet Friar was the one that caused this miscommunication, which lead to their deaths. He says that an uncontrollable power, fate, ruined their plan. When matter of fact, Friar was the one that didn't try harder to get the message to Romeo. Friar simply doesn't assume any liability whatsoever for his actions and rather chooses to blame fate.

In conclusion, both Romeo and Juliet make choices that lead to their lives being cut short, which could have prevented. Juliet chose to end her life, and Romeo chose to attend the Capulet party and later kills himself. Suicide is a decision, not fate. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is caused by the free will of two “star-crossed lovers”.

07 September 2020
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