Several factors led to the death of young people in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. These factors are the enmity between families, Friar Laurence, the marriage plans of Lord Capulet, and the wrong decisions of the lovers themselves. At the very start of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare expresses his indignation toward the feudal society and the patriarchal rules (Jie 164). However, fate is the most vital factor in the death of Romeo and Juliet, linking Shakespeare’s play with ancient tragedies. Fate brought the young lovers together, and they were destined to die to end the hostility of their families.
In the Capulets and Montagues, tribal traditions and customs still dominated. The norm of behavior was hatred for the clan’s enemy, the desire for his death, revenge, blood for blood, and death for death. The elders of the families no longer remember why they are in hostility, but the youth support the hate. The city is divided into two groups – supporters of the Montagues and adherents of the Capulets. When Juliet first meets Romeo, she already knows that their relationship is cursed because she is destined to fall in love with a member of an enemy family. However, the young lovers are determined to find a way to be together and get married despite their enemy status. Juliet regrets that Romeo is a Montague and says: ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy. Thou art thyself, though not a Montague’ (Shakespeare Act 2, Scene 2). Juliet guesses that love for the son of enemies will not lead to a good ending; despite her young age, she does not hope for a successful outcome.
The danger of exposure that threatened the lovers made them do everything possible to be together. Lorenzo’s help confused the situation even more without offering the right solution. He was supposed to guide Juliet on the right path as a priest, but this did not happen by chance. Romeo, expelled from the city, could not quickly return to Verona because of the plague. The tragic death of the lovers would not have happened if the messenger had handed over the letter in time. Thus, chance or fate is to blame for the situation developed in this way. Reconciled families over the bodies of their children only emphasize this terrible destiny.
Romeo and Juliet’s love is higher than families’ hostility; they are ready to break this tradition of hatred with which they died in Verona. The theme of fate is mentioned in the 2018 performance by Pr. Jerzy Limon; ropes dominated the stage, which formed a recurring theme throughout the show, clearly referring to the three Fates of Greek mythology (Heijes 99). However, unlike Greek tragedies, Shakespeare presents a wide range of conditions under which events occur and does not assert the absolute power of fate (Chowdhury 37). Fate in Shakespeare’s play appears not only as an unchanging force but as the power that depends on the actions of people and the existing order.
Throughout the play, the characters go through changes; their feelings make them adults. Juliet, previously submissive to her parents’ will, is ready to fight for her love to the end. Romeo, who thinks he is in love with Rosaline, is unaware of the power of true love. Changes smoothly lead the heroes to tragedy to fulfill their fateful destiny. The tragic death of heroes helps Shakespeare touch on the theme of personality and feelings and the right to choose, freedom, and prejudice.
Several factors can be blamed for the death of Romeo and Juliet, but the main reason is fate, which brings Shakespeare’s play closer to classical Greek tragedies. The lovers were destined to die in order to establish peace in Verona and reconcile the warring. The tragic death of heroes helps Shakespeare touch on the theme of personality and feelings and the right to choose, freedom, and prejudice.
Chowdhury, Takad Ahmed. “Treatment of Fate in Shakespearean and Classical Greek Tragedies: A comparison”. Academic Journal Perspective: Education, Language, and Literature, vol. 8, no.1, pp. 29-38, 2020.
Heijes, Coen. “Play Review: Romeo and Juliet.” Cahiers Élisabéthains: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, vol. 98, no. 1, pp. 99-102, 2019.
Jie, Li. “Analysis of Causes of Tragic Fate in Romeo and Juliet Based on Shakespeare’s View of Fate.” Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 164-168, 2020. Web.
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet: Official Student Edition with Annotations. Amazon Digital Services LLC – KDP Print US, 2019.