Friday, May 4, 2012

Romeo and Juliet 'star-crossed lovers'

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Explain the ways in which Romeo and Juliet were star-crossd lovers.

Romeo and Juliet, is a tragic love story about two young lovers, Romeo and Juliet who are innocent victims of fate.

The Chorus introduces the power of fortune in the opening prologue, when it stated that Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed” (destined for bad luck) and “death-marked,” and that their death will end their parents’ feud.

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The opening lines of Romeo and Juliet also speak of an “ancient grudge,” which the characters in the play are born into. Throughout the play, there is evidence that the lovers’ misfortune occurs because of coincidence and misunderstanding. Romeo and Julie did not have a choice in what they desired, they were destined to participate in the conflict and death.

Romeo and Juliet were star-crossed lovers because it was fate that they were born into opposing families.

In the Prologue the Chorus explained that the Capulets and the Montagues are enemies. Grudges between the two families were shown from the beginning of the play, when the servants of the two houses encountered on the streets of Verona and provoked a fight with one another.

Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them, which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it. (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 5-6)

The feud between these families had extended hatred to the followers and retainers of both side and of all the characters in the play, it is Tybalt who takes the feud most to heart. He hated all Montagues as he hated hell and when he recognizes Romeo at Capulets feast, he swore to take revenge on the Montague for intruding.

Romeo, who was wise and gentle by nature, had never actually entered the feud and he wanted to avoid a quarrel with the hate-filled Tybalt above all men, because Tybalt was Juliets beloved cousin. After Tybalt killed Mercutio, Romeo no longer kept his temper and kills Tybalt in vengeance for his friends death. Romeos fortunes begin to declines from the point when the Prince banishes him for his part in the fatal brawl.

And for that offence... Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill. (Act , Scene 1, Line 85-16)

Romeo and Juliets love were much determined by the stars because they did not intend to fall in love; it was fate that brought Romeo to Juliet. In Act 1, Scene , it was by chance that Lord Capulet’s servant, who was illiterate, met Romeo on the streets of Verona and asked him what was written on the party guest list. If the servant did not approach Romeo and his friends, they would not have known about the Capulet’s costume party, which everyone was welcomed if they were not from the house of Montague. Although it was dangerous, Benvolio, a friend of Romeo, convinced the young lord to go to the party in the disguise of a mask. Romeo who was a sincere and passionate lover, was love-sick and frustrated over Rosaline who did not require his love because she wanted to remain a virgin. It was fate that Romeo attended the Capulets party to see Rosaline but ended up meeting Juliet, whom he fell madly in love with upon just seeing.

“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight. For I never saw true beauty till this night” (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 51-5)

It was only after Juliet was called by her mother, that Romeo discovered that the lady with endless beauty, was young Juliet, only daughter to the lord Capulet, the great enemy of the Montagues; and that he had unknowingly fell in love with his foe. This troubled him, but it could not stop him from loving.

“Is she a Capulet? O dear account. My life is my foes debt.” (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 1-14)

The fact that Romeo was wearing a mask and his face was hidden allowed Juliet to fall instantly in love with him too. If Juliet had known that Romeo was a Montague she would probably not have fallen in love with him. Even though it was not supposed to happen it was meant to be. She does not deny her love or break off their relationship.

“My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me, That I must love a loathed enemy.” (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 17-18)

After the feast, Romeo was unable to stay away from the house where he had left his heart, so he hides in Capulets orchard and over hears Juliets confession of her love for him. He makes his presence known and they both declared their love for one another. The feud between their families caused many problems for Romeo and Juliet becuase neither the Montagues or the Capulets would have accepted them being together, so they decided to get married secretly and challenge fate.

Romeo and Juliet did not imagine that their love would lead to the tragedies that it did.

The beginning of the tragedy for the two star-crossed lovers was when Romeo had been banished and the old lord Capulet arranged a marriage with Paris for Juliet. The arranged marriage is bad luck because it is another obstacle that prevents Romeo and Juliet from being together. Juliet pleaded with Lord Capulet that she was unsuitable for marriage but he was deaf to all her excuses. Her father orders her to get ready for following Thursday when she should be married to Paris and that if she objects he will disown her. Her mother Lady Capulet declared that she was done with Juliet and when Juliet turned to her trusted nurse for advice, the Nurse turned against her at a very crucial time. The Nurse told Juliet that it would be best if she married Paris. This betrayal by the Nurse left Juliet alone because from then on, Juliet could not depend on the Nurse for help or advice. If the Nurse had been around to help Juliet, things may have turned out differently.

The desperate and distraught Juliet searched for help from Friar Lawrence who offers a solution that involves Juliet taking a potion which will put her into a coma and make it appear as though she was dead so that she can avoid the arranged marriage and escape to Mantua with Romeo. But more bad luck occurred when the message from Friar Laurence did not reach Romeo in Mantua. The message must reach Romeo so that he knows what Friar Laurence and Juliet have planned. Unfortunately, because of the plague, there is a quarantine that prevents the messenger, Friar John, from delivering his message in time. Consequently, since Romeo does not receive a letter from Friar Laurence telling of their plan, Romeo instead hears from Balthasar that Juliet is dead, and now rests in the Capulets tomb. Romeo who was determined to join Juliet in her death convinces a poor apothecary to sell him poison. The plague was very unfortunate for Romeo and Juliet because it prevented the messenger from reaching Romeo with the important letter

An incident of bad luck was when Romeo drank the poison right before Juliet woke up. It was all a matter of timing; when Romeo drank the poison and when Juliet woke up. This whole incident was fate because if she had woken several minutes earlier and Romeo had waited a bit longer, then they would’ve seen each other and Romeo wouldn’t have drank the poison. This just happened completely by chance.

It is clear that misfortune plays a major role in this story of the star-crossed lovers. From the beginning of the play, the love of Romeo and Juliet was destined to be destroyed. Although Romeo and Juliets hastiness contributed to the tragedy, it wasn’t the lovers’ actions that directly caused their deaths. It was fate that determined that the lovers should be born of feuding families and the hatred between their families means that they were not supposed to be together. Romeo and Juliet were destined for death so that their parents feud would be over. No matter what they did they just could not be together and ended up paying the price by trying to mend their families hatred for each other. Romeo and Juliet were innocent victims of evil fate that was cast upon them.

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