Two households, both alike in dignity, / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, / From ancient grudge brakes to new mutiny, / Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. / From forth the fatal lions of these foes / A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life; / Whose misadventured piteous overthrows / Doth with their death bury their parent’s strife. / The fearful passage of their death-marked love, / And the continuance of their parent’s rage, / Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove… -The Prologue, Romeo and Juliet Fate plays a major role in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
The prologue describes Romeo’s and Juliets fate, which we see come up many times later on in the play. Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet realize they cannot exist in such reality and that a tragic fate is inevitable. The two families, the Montagues and the Capulets continue being rivals all the way to the end of the play until the inevitable event takes its place. In the play, there are many events that prove that the fate predicted in the prologue will come true. Even as early as the first scene of the play, we already see some evidence to support the prologue. [Romeo]… And makes himself and artificial night. I, i, 38)
This passage can be seen as the foreshadowing of Romeo’s suicide. Another line said by Montague, which is Unless good council may the cause remove (I, i, 140), also is evidence of Romeo’s tragedy. In the first act, Romeo is introduced. His great sadness is shown right away and the theme of love is seen as well. Through Romeo’s mellow mood we see how desperate he is for love. Romeo is in love with Juliet, who is the daughter of an enemy to the house of Montagues. Fate is definitely involved here, and this innocent love is the first step in a chain of events that lead to the fate driven tragedy.
In the same scene, Tybalt is infuriated with Romeo. He is ready to kill him and believes that Romeo is his main enemy. Tybalt. This, by his voice, should be a Montague Fetch me my rapier, boy. What, dares the slave Come hither, covered with an antic face, To fleer and scorn at our solemnity? Now, by the stock and honor of my kin, To strike him dead I hold not a sin. (I, vi, lines 54-59) And to make the situation even worse, Tybalt, says the following to his father, intending to show that he is not joking and that he is going to try and kill Romeo: I will withdraw; but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet; convert to bitt’rest gall.
The rage of the two families is shown and also fate becomes more vivid and death is already foreshadowed. It is very important to emphasize at this point that the love between Romeo and Juliet cannot exist because of the rage between the two families. Fate is already taking its place. And this particular event, the first acquaintance between Romeo and Juliet, has started the chain of tragic events that will eventually bring peace to the streets of Verona. Here is another passage which underlines the effect of Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths: For this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households’ rancor to pure love.
Many times there are small reminders between the lines of the tragic fate the play is heading towards. Such one is this: Friar. These violent delights have violent ends and in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which, as they kiss, consume. (II, vii, lines 9-11) This line tells of sad reality and its consequences. As tough as reality might be, it gets even worse for Juliet and Romeo. She has to marry Parris because her father wants her to. She has to hide her love and secretly meet Romeo, so that nobody in Verona knows about their forbidden love.
Her fate it sealed, as it now seems. But stars have different intentions with Romeo and Juliet. As Juliet is in despair, she meets with the Friar Lawrence. They talk of how they will not let Juliet marry Parris. Juliet, in a state of madness, talks about horrible things, and convinces the Friar that she would do anything in to avoid being with Parris. When we look back on what happened before, fate has played its role many times. The quarrel between Tybalt and Mercutio is the result of Romeo’s appearance at the Capulet’s Ball.
When Mercutio is killed by Tybalt, Romeo seeks revenge, and therefore kills Tybalt. The tragic cycle of events is leaving Romeo no choice but to escape from Verona and keep hiding until his name is forgotten and he can return. A lot is happening while he is gone, and in the middle of all the chaos, Juliet is in great depression, which brings us back to her talk with the Friar. Juliets father so much wants his daughter to marry Parris that he is capable of doing anything. He is so outraged at Juliet for not wanting to marry Parris, that he holds himself no more and says what he really feels.
Capulet. I tell thee what – get thee to Church on Thursday Or never after look me in the face. Speak not, reply not, do not answer me! My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce though us blest That God has lent us but this only child; But now ! see this one is one too much, And that we have a curse in having her Out on her, hilding! (III, vi, lines 162-169) Of course, he does not realize, that he is absolutely wrong. God ( representing fate), sent Juliet to stop the ageless war. It is not a curse in having her, but rather a blessing, which will be in fact very tragic.
The most fate driven event in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, must be the misunderstanding of Juliets death by the Romeo’s ambassador and the inability of the messenger to deliver the Friar’s letter to Romeo. Laurence. Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo? John. I could not send it – here it is again- Nor get a messenger to bring it thee, So fearful were they if infection. Laurence. Unhappy fortune!… (VI, ii, lines 13-17) Here we can see how fate has misguided the letter and there was no way Romeo would know that Juliet was alive.
Now that he is blinded by madness and has no control over his feelings he is full of anger and nothing can stop him. His intentions are nothing but death. He does not want to live, if he cannot have Juliet. Romeo. Well Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night. (VI, I, 34) If only he would have known that Juliet was alive, he would not go that far. What he does not know is that Juliet is artificially asleep, and awaits his return. This information is written in the letter, but as one can see from John’s lines, the letter does not find its way to Romeo.
The prince finally sees how fate played a major role in Romeo’s and Juliets deaths. And in between the lines of his final speech he says, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love. (VI, III, 293) As the play progresses, Romeo and Juliet, uncover their tragic fate. From the moment they meet to the moment they die, they know their love is forbidden and cannot survive in their reality. Juliet. My only love, sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and unknown too late! Prodigious birth of love is to me That I must love a loathed enemy. (T, vi, lines 139-142)
The first time Juliet meets Romeo and falls in love with him, she finds out he is from the house of Montagues, and realizes how impossible their love is. Romeo is so infatuated that he sees no limits to his love, and as at the end of the play he does, he talks about suicide and death as opposed to living without Juliet. My life is better ended by their hate Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love. (II, ii, lines 77-78) And his love knows no limit: Romeo. With love’s light wings did I o’erperch These walls; For Stony limits cannot hold love out, And what love can do, that dares love attempt.
TI, ii, lines 66-68) After Romeo kills Tybalt he shouts, O, I am fortune’s fool! (III,I, 134) Here Romeo clearly understands the full impact of this tragic event on his future, and how everything that has happened to him after he met Juliet was not in his favor. Fate is so strong that it works within the characters, and Juliet says If all else fail, myself have power to die. (III, vi, 244), once she sees how all the events lead to a tragic end. The rivalry between the two families is first introduced in the prologue and continues until the very end of the play before the death of the two lovers.
In the first act the servants boys from the both families fight and make jokes about each others’ masters and reveal one of the major conflicts of the play. Fate is the driving force, that is supposed to stop the war between the two houses, therefore it is important to understand what is the motive behind Romeo and Juliets deaths from the prospective of fate. Many times in the play the two families have to confront each other in uncomfortable situations. Their first encounter that is seen in the play is after the prince has come to stop the chaos on the streets he heard about the quarrels going between the two families.
Montague had lost his temper after seeing Capulet’s men, and so had Capulet after seeing Montague’s. Capulet. My sword, I say! Old Montague is come And flourishes his blade in spite of me. Montague. Thou villain Capulet! – Hold me not, let me go. (I, i, 75-77) And so their hate continues to exist. Even after Tybalt is dead, and Mercutio lies beside him. The Capulet’s wife is not any better than her husband. After she sees Tybalt killed, she asks the Prince to punish Romeo, even though she is not certain how this tragic event happened.
Only at the end of the play, after their children’s death they realize how unfair their hate was, and how meaningless it was to pursue their ancestors sins towards one another. Montague. There shall no figure at such rate beset As that of true and faithful Juliet. Capulet. As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady lie- Poor sacrifices of our enmity (V, III, 302-303) In this exchange of apologies and forgiveness we see that both fathers are ready to put everything behind and honor each others child, for being messengers of love driven by fate to stop the cycle of fights.
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love. (v, iii, 293) The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is fate driven. All the events that happen in the play lead to one major event, for which the play is said to be tragic, in which for most part fate plays a major role. Both destined lovers realize their love cannot be pure and simple, and that no matter what they do, it will be tragic. The two families, who’s conflict can only be stopped by the predetermined love of their offspring, seize the hate between them.