The theme of Fate in Romeo and Juliet
Fate is an invisible and unavoidable force. This force can cause consequences and tragedy in people's lives. In William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, fate is a recurring theme that winds its way into Romeo and Juliet's lives. Fate is demonstrated in Romeo's contact with the illiterate servant, the apothecary and finally Romeo and Juliet’s attempts to thwart fate.
It is no coincidence that Romeo and Juliet meet in the first place. In act one the servingman of the Capulet mansion comes across Benvolio and Romeo unknowing they are Montagues, requesting the assistance of the two to help read the guest list. “My master is the great rich Capulet, and, if you be not / of the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a / cup of wine." (Rom. I II, 81-84) It is no accident that the servant ran into the two Montagues. It is by fate that Romeo and Benvolio run into the servingman and discover the party. Also, Romeo’s melancholic behaviour and unrequited love for Rosaline is timed perfectly with the event of the Capulet ball. “Sips the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves, With all the admired beauties of Verona:” (I ii, 85-86) This displays Romeos deep desire to see Rosaline and the main reason for attending the ball. Through Shakespeare's manipulation of the plot, he foreshadows the significant role fate plays to redirect the course of events in both Romeo and Juliet's lives.
Many characters play a role in deciding Romeo and Juliet's fate throughout the play. The Apothecary in act five played a large part in determining Romeo and Juliet’s fate. The Apothecary is a character used by Shakespeare to advance the plot leading the lovers to their untimely death. The Apothecary plays a significant role in making a detrimental decision to provide Romeo with the poison needed to commit suicide. “Come hither, man I see that thou art poor. / A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear as will disperse itself through all the veins.” (V.I.59-61) Illustrates Romeo’s intent to end his life and be with Juliet. On the way to the Apothecary, Romeo describes the physical condition of the Apothecary both of the man and the store. Metaphorically, these descriptions are depicting the Apothecary, but they also provide an insight into Romeo’s state of mind. Romeo is, so grief struck that he is unable to take the time to process Juliet's death healthily. Demonstrates how fate takes over from this point in the play. Unknowingly, Romeo walks right into what fate has planned for him and accepts it. Moreover, by fate, the fake death of Juliet coincides with the state of poverty that the Apothecary is experiencing and his desperation for wealth. Romeo’s journey along with his encounter of the desperate Apothecary were all timed by fate. The events that the star-crossed lover's experience are weaved by fate, eventually bringing the lovers to their tragic end.
In the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare references fate from the start. “A pair of star-crossed lovers.” (Prologue. 6-7) Accordingly, this quote signifies that this pair of lovers are fated never to be together. Shakespeare uses fate to control the lovers, and in many instances, the lovers are quite aware of fate. Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet attempt to defy their fate as star-crossed lovers and be together for the rest of their lives. In act three scene four Romeo asks Juliet to marry him. The two characters try their hardest to be together even though they belong to feuding families. The lovers are aware of the deep hatred and dislike between the families, and they are aware that their love will never be accepted. “Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What is a Montague? Nor hand nor foot.” (II.II.39-40) Indeed Juliet attempts to defy her fate by going behind her parents back and breaking social customs.
Furthermore, Juliet conspires with the Friar to escape her parents and her arranged marriage to Paris. Unknowingly Juliet triggers a sequence of events which ultimately results in the lover's deaths. Romeo under the assumption that Juliet is dead cannot live without her and decides that the only way they can be together is eternally through death. Juliet awakens to find her lover dead and as Romeo believed she believes they can only indeed be together eternally through death. In the end, the two families realized that because of their hate they were punished and decided to make amends.
In summary, fate is demonstrated in many areas of the play including Romeo's contact with the illiterate servant, the apothecary and Romeo and Juliet’s attempts to thwart fate. In William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, fate played a significant role in controlling Romeo and Juliet’s lives and finally led them to their deaths. There is no reason for their hate. It led to the two stubborn families; unfortunately, having to lose their children to realize what a great mistake it is to be hateful. Fate ultimately teaches the families the lesson not to hate.