‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a romantic story created by Shakespeare four hundred years ago. The story is mainly about a pair of ‘star-crossed lovers’, whose love was destined for destruction. The two teenagers express their love for each other despite the fact of their families’ background of feuding to gain higher position and power. Coursework question: Who is responsible for the death of Romeo and Juliet?
For hundreds of years people have argued about the reason of who was responsible and why did Romeo and Juliet die. In my opinion, I believe that no one was responsible for the death, I consider that the main cause was chance, since that everything just led into another, not to mention that Romeo and Juliet love seemed a dead end from the start of the play.
Shakespeare considered a feeling in his plays that there is always someone in control of life, control of fate and destiny (people at that time believed that fortune was foretold in the stars – an example of this is when Juliet was expressing her feelings about Romeo to the stars at the balcony scene); this was one of his plays in which he used his technique to end the play in a tragic ending by both lovers committing suicide. Throughout the play, many characters seemed responsible for the event to occur by the way they reacted and what they said.
The parents of both lovers are a good example, they kept the feud going. Romeo did not want to share his secrets with his parents (the Montague) and as Juliet refused to marry Paris, her parents (the Capulet) reaction was very discouraging and made Juliet very pressurised. Lord Capulet threatened Juliet at that event and could not accept her judgment, he said: “Look at it, think on it, I do not use to jest. Thursday is near; lay hand on heart advice: An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;
An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets. For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,” As for other characters, such as the nurse, I believe that she is another character who can be connected to the death of Romeo and Juliet. She encouraged Juliet to proceed with marrying Romeo, maybe because she predicted that if Romeo and Juliet get married, the feud would stop and she would be awarded for sorting the main disturbance in Verona that took place generations before.
But as the play continues, she changes her mind after hearing Juliet’s parents not accepting Juliet’s opinion and forcing Juliet to marry Paris. The nurse foolishly advices Juliet to follow her father’s decision of marrying Paris, even after knowing the relationship of the secret marriage Romeo and Juliet had. The nurse is a duel loyalties character that near the end of the play altered into a fearful and nervous character. Her advice was not a realistic suggestion considering that she knew Juliet for a long time, and that she helped Juliet with the relationship of Romeo.
Another character would be Friar Lawrence (a friend of Romeo) he has an ambiguous role in the death of the lovers. The Friar also keen to see the peace between the feuding families, agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet; although near the start of the play, he did not think of such marriage as a ‘good idea’, he said: “These violent delights have violent ends, And in their triumph die… Therefore, love moderately; long love doth so;” He acts irresponsibly (after the marriage) by giving the couple indecisive advice that left Romeo and Juliet astray.
He tried to save the couple as more nuisance pressurised the scenes; he had to deal with circumstances by chance, and put his plans into action (such as giving Juliet a deep-sleep potion, and sending a messenger to Romeo – who was banished form Verona by Prince for violent behaviour). On the other hand, he did not ensure that everything was going flawlessly and hastily reacted to events throughout the play. Juliet was devastated by her father’s reply. She was put under severe pressure that she was forced to seek from someone not involved in the crisis, Friar Lawrence.
He gave her a potion (Juliet was so distressed that she would try anything, even putting her faith in a potion that could be poison, she took it). In addition, Prince was also responsible as he did not use his position as a city mayor to deal with the feuding families (who were the major commotion in the city). Although, after the suicide of Romeo and Juliet, he expressed his opinions towards the tragic event by blaming both Montague and Capulet families and finally come to a conclusion by blaming himself also, he says: “…
Capulet! Montague! See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love, And I, for winking at your discords too, Have lost a brace of kinsman: all are punished. ” I believe that Romeo plays a key role in the death of himself and Juliet. He was too hasty and lived only three days with his relationship with Juliet (they met, got married, died). Romeo did not seem to think of the consequences of his actions; for example, the assassination of Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin) and Paris. Juliet was also in the wrong, in my opinion, it was wrong of her to reject her father’s words and her family’s judgment of what would be best for her, because she was too young to decide who she would marry.
She knew her parents’ expectations that she’d be engaged to Paris; like Romeo, she rushed into marriage (with Romeo). Overall, I believe that the death of Romeo and Juliet is done by a series of events that lead into each other. Romeo and Juliet were very young teenagers who did not truly understand the meaning of true love (this was shown in many sections throughout the play). I believe that both Romeo and Juliet were emotionally immature and needed more time to know each other before getting married.