"Never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo," is a fitting phrase to the conclusion of the play. It is fitting because the text is truly about woe, which occurs when the characters allow their feelings to take over reason. Romeo, for example, constantly shows this nature in the play, just like the older and fiery-tempered Capulet. Capulet's daughter, Juliet, though younger than Romeo, is at times much more mature than Romeo, but also allows her feels to cloud her judgement; and so does her cousin, Tybalt, who is vengeful and loathes all Montague's. These characters are mere pawns in the tragedy, used by Shakespeare to display the dire consequences of allowing emotion to dominate over reason; and as a result, much woe is felt by all characters.
Romeo, an impulsive youth, is the epitome of allowing emotion to dominate over reason, and in the play, Shakespeare makes this very clear. Such examples are when Romeo climbs over the Capulet walls in order to catch another glimpse of his love, Juliet. Enough though "the orchard walls are high and hard to climb, and the place death, considering who thou art, if any of my [Juliet's] kinsmen find thee here." None the less he stays, and in the following days Romeo and Juliet become man and wife. In their secret marriage Romeo is obviously obligated to love his fellow in-laws, the Capulets. And he states:
Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage...
I do protest I never injured thee,
But love thee better than thou cants devise,
Till thou shalt know the reason of my love;
And so, good Capulet, which name I tender
As dearly as mine own, be satisfied.
Romeo's statement is logical and responsible, but it is also unmistakably retracted when Tybalt slays Romeo's best friend. Now Romeo will not "excuse the appertaining rage" he feels for Tybalt, and declares to him:
Now, Tybalt, take the `villain' back again
That late thou gavest me, for Mercutio's soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company;
Either thou or I, or both, must go with him.
In his state of hostility, Romeo forgets his obligations towards his wife and defends the honour of Mercutio by slaying Tybalt - Romeo's cousin in-law. It is even clear to Romeo that he allows emotion to dominate over reason, and this is evident when he shouts "O sweet Juliet, thy beauty hath made me effeminate, and in my temper soften'd valour's steel!" Another violent male who lets his emotions dominate over reason is Romeo's father in-law, Capulet.
The fiery-tempered and headstrong Capulet is prone to violent outbursts, and suffers the ultimate consequence of his actions with the death of his only child. In Verona, Capulet must maintain a sense of pride and honour among his family, for he is the master of his domain. And driven by these responsibilities he welcomes Paris, "a man of wax," to wed his only child, Juliet. However, Juliet's...