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Romeo and Juliet Essay Example

Introduction

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In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the chorus in the opening prologue refers to the characters Romeo and Juliet as “star-crossed lovers,” giving the impression that events on earth can be controlled by stars and planets. Out of this line, many readers may believe that it is out of destiny and fate that the two characters fell in love which would later be destroyed. The possibility that the characters’ lives were shaped by some supernatural, impersonal forces is further raised as the play continues. However, as it ends, it becomes clear that Romeo and Juliet are more responsible for their plight than fate is.

Throughout the play, astral images are used to show how Romeo and Juliet are responsible for the unfolding events surrounding their love and lives. Though the first and perhaps the most famous celestial imagery example in the play is provided by the prologue, references are made to the stars, heavens, moon, and sun throughout it. Taken as a whole, this may imply that a different view of human responsibility can be expressed through imagery. When Romeo and his gang approach the Capulet’s ball in Act 1 Scene 4, he says that he fears “some consequence yet hanging in the stars.” However, Romeo does not refer to the astrological power of the stars when he mentions them next. He rather uses their image to describe the otherworldly beauty of Juliet. The subsequent use of celestial images in the play follow this trend, including the scene where Romeo compares Juliet to the sun out of his love for her.

As humans, Romeo and Juliet or either of them could have acted to halt their situation from reaching its tragic conclusion. This is because it is through their own decisions that they move towards their destruction at the end of the play. For example, Romeo could not have allowed Tybalt to engage him in a fight on his own wedding day since the day should always be peaceful. He goes on to take his own life just moments before Juliet wakes when he should have chosen to remain alive and see how things play out. It may be true that the two lovers do not shoulder the entire responsibility for their difficult situation. Their society, their families, and their friends may have contributed in creating the unfortunate circumstances. However, they should not have acted in a manner that made it easy for the circumstances to get worse and finally lead to their destruction.

Romeo has a propensity for rash action and this gets him and his love Juliet into unredeemable trouble. In popular culture, he earns the status of a romantic icon due to his impulsiveness but in the play, this proves to be his greatest undoing. Shakespeare cautions the reader right from the beginning not to too idealistically view this character’s sudden fits of passion. After all, it is suggested by Shakespeare in the play that Romeo’s feeling towards Juliet was initially based on infatuation before it developed into real love. Compared to any other character, Romeo arguably contributes more aggressively towards the tragedy through his hasty actions. The night they meet with Juliet, he climbs her wall and prevails on her to blind herself to him. He murders Tybalt in a blind rage before poisoning himself thinking that Juliet is dead, actions all of which show that he never thinks before he acts.

Juliet too contributes to their downfall as she proves a strong-willed partner for Romeo. While she is at least worried about the speed at which their love progresses unlike Romeo, she does nothing to address these worries. She says, in the balcony scene, that their love is like lightning which can flare up but again quickly vanish into darkness. However, each choice she makes, though a logical response to a situation, drives them towards their tragic end. Since she needs evidence that Romeo is truly committed to her, she agrees to marry him. She also out of despair takes the potion while believing that the plan by Friar Lawrence will set things right and normalize the situation. Upon seeing her beloved Romeo dead, she decides to become rash in her endeavors and ends up killing herself out of grief.

Conclusion

Romeo and Juliet have more responsibility for their tragedy than fate. They make decisions that are rash because they are apparently blinded by love not realizing that most of the decisions are destructive. Even the use of imagery only serves to show how immersed in love they allowed themselves to be. This is why as the play ends; the characters’ actions are strongly condemned. They should have done better to save themselves and therefore, neither the gods nor fate should be blamed for their tragic end. They were so blinded that Juliet fails to act accordingly even as she develops worries about their love and the pace at which it was moving. Apparently, they blindly believed that all that that involves love ends well.

References

Shakespeare, W. (2016). Romeo and Juliet (Norton Critical Editions). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Romeo and Juliet Essay Outline

Introduction

Thesis:

Romeo and Juliet are more responsible for their plight than fate is.

Body

Paragraph 1:

Throughout the play, astral images are used to show how Romeo and Juliet are responsible for the unfolding events surrounding their love and lives.

  • References are made to the stars, heavens, moon, and sun.
  • This may imply that a different view of human responsibility can be expressed through imagery.
  • Romeo uses the image of stars to describe the otherworldly beauty of Juliet.
  • Romeo compares Juliet to the sun out of his love for her.

Paragraph 2:

As humans, Romeo and Juliet or either of them could have acted to halt their situation from reaching its tragic conclusion.

  • It is through their own decisions that they move towards their destruction at the end of the play.
  • Romeo could not have allowed Tybalt to engage him in a fight on his own wedding day.
  • He takes his own life just moments before Juliet wakes up.

Paragraph 3:

Romeo has a propensity for rash action and this gets him and his love Juliet into unredeemable trouble.

  • In popular culture, he earns the status of a romantic icon due to his impulsiveness
  • In the play, this proves to be his greatest undoing.
  • He climbs Juliet’s wall and prevails on her to blind herself to him.
  • He murders Tybalt.
  • He poisons himself.

Paragraph 4:

Juliet too contributes to their downfall as she proves a strong-willed partner for Romeo.

While she is worried about the speed at which their love progresses, she does nothing to address these worries.

  • Each choice she makes drives them towards their tragic end.
  • She agrees to marry Romeo.
  • She out of despair takes the potion.
  • She kills herself.

Conclusion

Romeo and Juliet have more responsibility for their tragedy than fate. They make decisions that are rash because they are apparently blinded by love not realizing that most of the decisions are destructive.

 

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