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Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Time and Fate in Romeo and Juliet
        Romeo and Juliet, said to be one of the most famous love stories
of all times, is a play anchored on 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
JohnÕs plague.
        A servant to Capulet, who is incapable of reading the list of
guests, asks for RomeoÕs assistance. Romeo notices that Rosaline, his
lover, is among these names. Benvolio challenges Romeo to compare her
with other "beauties."  Benvolio predicts, "Compare her face with some
that I shall show,/ And I will make thee think thy swan a crow." (I, ii,
l 86-87) To show his appreciation, the servant asks for RomeoÕs presence
at the ball.  Romeo should have considered the servantÕs warning; if
Romeo occupies the name of Montague, he shall not be permitted. Once at
the ball, Romeo is searching for a maiden to substitute the unrequited
love of Rosaline. Romeo happens to gaze upon Juliet, who charms Romeo.
Romeo proclaims, " Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!/ For
neÕer saw true  beauty till this night." (I, v, l 52-53) Since Romeo
declares his love for Juliet, she feels the attraction also. They
believe that they are in love and must marry. However, it is a genuine
coincidence that Romeo and Juliet were at the same place, at the same
        Some 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 Ôscape a brawl,/
For now these got days is the mad blood stirring." (III, i, l 2-4) At
this point, Tybalt, who has challenged Romeo because of his appearance
at the masquerade, enters, seeking Romeo. On RomeoÕs behalf, Mercutio
struggles with Tybalt, while Romeo, who is filled with love for his new
cousin,  tries to end their boldness. Before escaping, Tybalt plunges
his sword into Mercutio, causing death to fall upon him. Mercutio blames
Romeo and the feud for his fate.  Romeo kills Tybalt, who taunts Romeo,
upon his return. Romeo fears he will be condemned to death if he does
not flee before the arrival of the Prince.  Benvolio recalls the events
that have happened, with some embellishment. The Prince declares:
And for that offence/ Immediately we do exile him hence./ I hav an in
your hateÕs proceeding,/ My blood for your rude brawls doth lie
a-bleeding;/ But IÕll amerce you with so strong a fine/ That you shall
repent the loss of mine./ I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;/ Nor
tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses;/ Therefore use none. Let
Romeo hence in haste,/ Else, when heÕs found, that hour is his last./
Bear hence this body and attend our will./ Mercy but murders, pardoning
those that kill.
(III, i, l 185-195)
        Due to the disturbance of VeronaÕs street and the losses of
Tybalt and Mercutio, the Prince must penalize Romeo. However, the Prince
agrees that Romeo was acting in self defense.
        Juliet, who desires not to wed Paris, asks for Friar LaurenceÕs
assistance. The day before the wedding, Juliet is to drink the poison,
which will make her appear to be dead. In forty two hours she shall
awake, with Romeo by her side. Romeo will then bring her to Mantua with
him. In the meantime Friar Laurence will convey a message to Romeo in
Mantua, telling him the plot. When she gains consciousness, Romeo and
Friar Laurence will be there.  Friar Laurence says, "Shall Romeo by my
letters know our drift,/ And hither shall he come; and he and I/ Will
watch thy waking" (IV, i, l 114-116) Following JulietÕs intake of the
poison, Romeo is anticipating news from Verona.  Balthasar, a servant to
Romeo, tells Romeo that Juliet has passed on. Romeo, who is told there
are no letters from the friar, seeks a way to accomplish  his suicide.
Meanwhile, Friar Laurence, confronts Friar John, who was to deliver the
letter to Romeo.  Friar John informs Friar Laurence that he was seeking
another Franciscan, who was visiting the sick, to accompany him to
Mantua. He says, "Suspecting that we both were in a house/ Where the
infectious pestilence did reingn,/ SealÕd up the doors, and would not
let us forth;/" (V, ii, l 9-11)  Friar John tells that he could find no
one to deliver the letter, for fear they may catch the infection.
         The substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and
Juliet are; the Capulet ball, the quarrel experienced by Tybalt and
Romeo, and Friar JohnÕs plague.  The Capulet ball influences the ending
of the play by RomeoÕs invitation at the ball, which creates the meeting
of Romeo and Juliet. The ball also gives birth to TybaltÕs anger and
causes his challenge.  The challenge causes the banishment of Romeo,
which produces much grieving by Juliet and Romeo. Also, the quarrelsome
weather is partly to blame for the feuding between Tybalt and Mercutio.
Since Friar John did not deliver the letter,  Romeo thinks that Juliet
is dead, sacrifices himself. Juliet seeing that Romeo is dead, slays
herself also.
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