How shakespeare uses fate in Romeo and Juliet

Fate in Romeo and Juliet is used throughout the play and is a key part of the plot.The definition of fate is a predetermined course of events that are inevitable. It also suits the time frame of the play, as in Elizabethan times people were very religious and Christian; they used fate as a means of looking over coincidences also fortunate and unfortunate events in their life.These would be considered acts of fate from God or a higher being. This relates to the story in Romeo and Juliet very well as if everything was planned out and fate decided Romeo and Juliet’s beginning and end; as if their love was doomed from the beginning and out of their control. Shakespeare has lots of little and big references of fate in the story, they give you a better understanding of the plot as the story unfolds.

Fate in Romeo and Juliet is shown through many of the events and references, one of these is the plot. The plot is where fate would be most apparent. When coincidences and events are shaped by fate and carve the story from end to beginning. An example of this is when Gregory and Sampson are having banter on the street then coincidentally two Capulets happen to walk up to them on the same street. This is how the story opens and is how it shows you the first sign of fate. It is not a big part of fate in the story rather a little one but shows all the little coincidences like this that shape the story. Coincidences like theses would be considered fate in Elizabethan times rather than coincidences. Another example of a bigger role of fate is when Juliet drinks her poison to make her appear dead but Romeo doesn’t get the plan from Friar John and Romeo actually thinks she is dead so he kills himself next to her only moments before Juliet then wakes up. if Romeo had got to her seconds later she would have woken up and it would be a happy ending.It is almost as if they were bound by fate and in any alternation of events they were bound to both die.This also brings up the question in the plot was Romeo and Juliet’s love all to end their families strife and feud.This shows how Romeo and Juliet’s love was doomed from the beginning. The ending also seals off all loose ends, the holes in the story are fixed by fate which brings the whole story and plot together in a stronger more stable form.

From the beginning, signs are given that the story is not going to end well. This is very apparent in the prologue and danger signs are shown as snippets throughout the story. An ironic example is when.

“JULIET (gesturing towards Romeo)
What’s he that follows here, that would not dance?
I know not.
Go ask his name. The Nurse goes. If he be married.
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.”                                                                                                                 Juliet does foreshadow her own death because her grave does become her wedding bed. Their actions have little impact on the outcome of their lives however fate has brought about some actions that create a chain of effects with an inevitable outcome. Certain characters could be accountable for their death but it only adds to their unavoidable fate.

Another aspect of fate in the play is shown through the iambic pentameter which is a very small part of fate in the play but is still important as you may miss it. The defination of the iambic pentameter In a line of poetry, is an “iamb is a foot or beat consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, or a short syllable followed by a long syllable”. A good example of this is the prologue a quote from the prologue would be

Two households, both alike in dignity
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

As the pentameter is not changing through out the story it is going one direction as if a train on tracks bound to crash. Like Romeo and Juliet’s love the pentameter is going a certain way no matter how they get there, it is going to end badly shaped by there actions and fate itself. Shakespeare also stumbles on action equals reaction. This is not fate so I would say when Tybalt kills Mercutio then Romeo kills Tybalt, it goes from action to reaction but there are other factors that make Tybalt kill Mercutio also which could be tied to fate so there is a fairly blurry line distinguishing the two. The other factors that could be tied into fate and coincidence is characters misunderstanding each other and also miscommunicating which becomes a vital part of the plot towards the end.

In conclusion, Shakespeare uses fate throughout the play in a lot of ways. From small references to pieces of the plot and story; also behind the scenes like iambic pentameter.It was a very thoughtful process I could imagine writing the play. I feel like I am not bound by fate and my life is not predetermined or inevitable. I believe in making my own destiny through my actions and choices. Unfortunately, I can not say the same about Romeo and Juliet in this tragedy. I think their love was purposed to benefit their two families to break their grudge as it is shown in the prologue and other parts of the play. Again, I think Romeo and Juliet had very little influence over their outcome. I see fate in Shakespeare’s play like a puppet master and Romeo and Juliet are his puppets to do his bidding.


One thought on “How shakespeare uses fate in Romeo and Juliet”

  1. Reading: 6A – Very strong appreciation of a range of complex details and language effects
    Writing: 5A – Good organisation of ideas, supported well with detailed evidence – which might have been more coherently integrated. Some lapses in spelling, punctuation and laboured paragraph structure.

Leave a Reply to Christopher Waugh Cancel reply