Is Fate Or Free Will More Prominent In Romeo And Juliet - Beverly High School English] - Essay

793 words - 4 pages

In the opening Prologue of ​Romeo and Juliet, ​the Chorus refers to the title
characters as “star-crossed lovers,” an allusion to the belief that stars and
planets have the power to control events on Earth. This line leads many
readers to believe that Romeo and Juliet are inescapably destined to fall in
love and equally destined to have that love destroyed. However, though
Shakespeare’s play raises the possibility that some impersonal, supernatural
force shapes Romeo and Juliet’s lives, by the end of the play it becomes clear
that the characters bear more of the responsibility than Fortune does.
Though the Prologue offers the first and perhaps most famous example of
celestial imagery in ​Romeo and Juliet, ​references to the stars, sun, moon, and
heavens run throughout the play, and taken as a whole that imagery seems to
express a different view of human responsibility. In Act 1, scene 4, Romeo
says that he fears “some consequence yet hanging in the stars” when he and
his gang approach the Capulet’s ball. In his next mention of stars, however,
Romeo doesn’t refer to their astrological power. Rather, he uses the image of
stars to describe Juliet’s otherworldly beauty. Most of the subsequent celestial
images in the play follow in this vein, from Romeo’s love-struck comparison of
Juliet to the sun to Juliet’s own wish to “cut [Romeo] out into little stars” when
he dies. Throughout the play, these astral images are more often associated
with the two lovers than with divine fate, emphasizing that, as the play’s action
escalates, we cannot simply place the blame for the tragedy on some
impersonal external force.
It’s true that Romeo and Juliet have some spectacularly bad luck. Tybalt picks
a fatal fight with Romeo on the latter’s wedding day, causing Capulet to move
up the wedding with Paris. The crucial letter from Friar Lawrence goes
missing due to an ill-timed outbreak of the plague. Romeo kills himself mere
moments before Juliet wakes up. It’s also true that the lovers aren’t solely
responsible for their difficult situation: Their friends, their families, and their
society each played a role in creating the tragic circumstances. However,
even if we allow that fate or some other divine force caused Romeo and Juliet
to fall in love at first sight, thereby setting the action into motion, Shakespeare
makes it clear that the characters’...

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