Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

Intro English playwright William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is a play of a young couple’s persistence for love amidst unfortunate circumstances.
Link to question There are many factors and personalities that can be debated culpable for the tragedy of the lovers; love, hate, adolescent angst and death all test the prudence of Romeo and Juliet.
Thesis It is the underlying pressures of the continual family feud and guidance of Friar Lawrence that fuel the lovers’ poor decisions that ultimately induce their tragic downfall, all of which can not be held entirely accountable against fate.
R&J thesis Romeo and Juliet is a timeless tale of lovers whose immaturity and emotionally driven behaviours are the central cause of their own demise.
R&J example 1 Shakespeare incorporates passion with Romeo’s idealistic nature, rendering him vulnerable to ‘love at first sight’. These traits result in an immediate fascination with Juliet, “Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven /Having some business do entreat her eyes /To twinkle in their sphere till they return”. Non-sentient stars are personified to express Romeo’s corporeal attraction to Juliet, having “ne’er [seen] true beauty till this night”. Romeo’s inexperience with love is evident through the control he lacks over his, this proves to be Romeo’s hamartia.
R&J example 2 Juliet’s ability to reason rationally is blinded by her ambition for love, claiming to “no longer be a Capulet” in order to pursue her love for Romeo. Juliet expresses her concern about their impetuous love affair, stating “It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden… too like lightning”, however it is her frivolous nature that compels her to agree to marry Romeo moments later. The simile aligns the abrupt temper of lightning with the lovers’ capricious relationship, while the repetition of “too” highlights the many risks that Juliet chooses to defy.
R&J example 3 The ill-advised relationship between Romeo and Juliet escalates hastily. Romeo expresses his intense feelings through the metaphor “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? /It is the East, and Juliet is the sun”. Romeo’s comparison of Juliet with the sun aligns her with the most vital necessity for life, through this Shakespeare is able to foreshadow the death of the lovers as a result of their own lust.
R&J link Shakespeare has integrated Romeo and Juliet’s utopian personalities and impulsive actions as the foremost reason for tragedy.
Feud thesis In Romeo and Juliet, the theme of hate is portrayed through the feud that exists between the Capulets and Montagues. It is due to the ongoing feud that the lovers not only meet and marry secrecy, but also possibly die.
Feud example 1 Without the tension of their feud, exposed in the paradox “My only love sprung from my only hate”, the couple may have been able to act more logically about their love. The contrast of ‘love’ and ‘hate’ stresses the complications of their ambition.
Feud example 2 Tybalt’s hot-headed persona personifies his family’s hatred toward the Montague’s. At the sight of Romeo he commands “Fetch me my rapier… to strike him dead I hold it not a sin”. Tybalt’s hubris and relentless nature highlight the dramatic lengths that the lovers must resort to in order keep peace.
Feud link It can perceived that the feud of their families is a catalysing element that may have rushed Romeo and Juliet to their deaths.
Friar thesis The pure, optimistic intent of Friar Lawrence could be to blame for the fatal reality that arose.
Friar example 1 The friar’s submissive nature allows him to comply with Romeo’s request to marry Juliet. He is the medium that allows the young lovers to prolong their passion, his naivety seen in “I’ll thy assistant be /For this love may so happy prove /To turn your household’s rancour to pure love”, where it is his innocence and good will that eventually blindside him. This fuels the secrecy and disobedience of Romeo and Juliet towards their parents.
Friar example 2 Friar raises concern that Romeo lacks a true understanding of love, instead recognising it as an intense passion and an infatuation in the oxymoron “These violent delights, have violent endings”. It is irresponsible of the Friar to approve the marriage when he brings to light the juxtaposition of ‘violent’ and ‘delights’, that emphasises the immature lust between the lovers by foreshadowing their abrupt deaths.
Friar link Although the Friar’s interference with the lovers’ affair was based on good intentions, he may be perceived as responsible for the plan that led to their tragic end.
Fate thesis The English playwright is notorious for his plays forged around tragedy, he conveys the omnipresent force that supposedly determines the lovers’ destiny. Romeo and Juliet are forced to make fatal decisions to overcome the ill-fated circumstances ‘written in the stars’.
Fate example 1 Shakespeare establishes their affair as a “fearful passage of… death-marked love” in the prologue. Not only does it foreshadow their deaths, but confirms their journey as a series of tainted events amidst inevitable circumstances.
Fate example 2 Romeo’s trust in a ‘predetermined fate’, can justify his lack of forethought, shown in the metaphor “He hath that steerage of my course /Direct my sail”. His naivety allows him to have confidence that his impetuous actions will workout for a greater good, also foreshadowing the denouement of the play.
Fate link It can be argued that the dominating presence of fate works against Romeo and Juliet, through the creation of circumstances beyond their control.
Conclusion Shakespeare makes it evident that, while fate may play a role in the circumstances of the family feud and ill-hatched plan of the Friar, it is ultimately the choices of Romeo and Juliet that bring upon their tragic demise. It is when the lovers make their impulsive decisions in moments of adolescent angst, that they are fundamentally deciding their own destiny. It is the unrealistic conception of love and the passion shared by the lovers, that are the catalysing elements culpable for the downfall of Romeo and Juliet.

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