Chance Or Destiny In Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

1067 words - 4 pages

Romeo and Juliet, said to be one of the most famous love stories of all time, is a play anchored in time and fate. Some actions are believed to occur by chance or by destiny. The timing of each action influences the outcome of the play. While some events are of less significance, some are crucial to the development of this tragedy. The substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet are the Capulet ball, the quarrel experienced by Tybalt and Romeo, and Friar John’s plague.


A servant to Capulet, who is illiterate, asks for Romeo’s assistance in reading the guest list. To show his appreciation, the servant invites Romeo to the ball. “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”(I.ii.85-88).   


Romeo, being enamored of Rosaline is in no mood to go to the ball.  His subconscious even tries to warn him against going. “My mind misgives / Some consequence yet hanging in the stars/ Shall bitterly begin his fearful date/ With this night’s revels, and expire the term/ Of a despised life closed in my breast/ By some vile forfeit of untimely death” (I.iv.113-118).  Once at the ball, Romeo’s gaze happens to fall upon Juliet, who charms him as she herself is charmed by him. Romeo proclaims, " Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! / For ne’er saw true beauty till this night" (I. v.59-60).  It was by trespassing into Capulet territory that Romeo discovered Juliet. “Is she a Capulet? / O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt” (I.v.131-132). When Juliet learns the identity of the object of her love, she exclaims, “Prodigious birth of love it is to me/ That I must love a loathed enemy” (I.v.154-155).  It is obvious that both feel a foreboding about the consequences of their love, a foreboding which is only enhanced by Tybalt’s threat, “I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, / Now seeming sweet, convert to bitt’rest gall” (I.v.102-103).

Several days after the ball, Benvolio and Mercutio are conversing, in regard to the quarrelsome weather. Benvolio declares, "The day is hot, the Capulets abroad, and if we meet we shall not escape a brawl, / For now these hot days is the mad blood stirring" (III.i.2-4). At this point, Tybalt, who has challenged Romeo because of his appearance at the masquerade, enters, seeking him. On Romeo’s behalf, Mercutio struggles with Tybalt, while Romeo, tries to end their fighting.  Tybalt kills Mercutio. With his dying breath, Mercutio blames Romeo, and the feud, for his fate. The distraught Romeo cannot think clearly and kills Tybalt in retaliation for the death of his friend. After seeing what he has done so rashly, he suddenly begins to consider the consequences, fearing that the Prince will condemn him to death if he is found. This is very important because Romeo moves from being a gentleman, a peacemaker, and a thinker to someone who defies the norm and acts...

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