What is love? is it not a feeling, a dream, a look? How long must it take for one to know he/she is in love? And if it is longer then an hour is it really love? One could say love is in the eyes, the window to the soul; another could say love could not be seen by the eyes for they only tell so much. But what about fate, if fate exists what does it matter if the love is in the eyes or truly in the heart? And at what point is life swept out of the beholder's hands and into those of fate? if Shakespeare would have answered, i believe he would have said, when those hearts of the beholders do feel love there life is taken by love. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, is a love story struck down by fate and doomed to tragedy.
When considering the destruction of Romeo and Juliet the most significant fact you must think about is fate. Fate, above all, destroyed Romeo and Juliet. Many instances in the play reveal that the love of Romeo and Juliet would end in death. \"A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life\". (pg.29, Prologue, line 6) From the very beginning it is evident that they were destined by the stars to bad fortune. Some people may think that there is no way to control fate or change what is in the stars. It could be that the love of Romeo and Juliet was destined for death so that their parent\'s feud would be over. Also, the prologue states that the dreadful course of their love was destined for death. \"The fearful passage of their death marked love\". (pg.29, Prologue, line 9) Both of these quotes show us that the love of these two was destined to end tragically from the beginning. The masquerade party was above all the most important aspect of fate. The fact that Romeo was wearing a mask and his face was hidden allowed Juliet to fall in love with him before she saw who it was. If Juliet had known who Romeo was she would probably have not fallen in love with him. Fate could not have been changed whatever was meant to be would happen and no one could change that.
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 "˜scape a brawl,/ For now these got days is the mad blood stirring.\" (III, i, lines 2-4) At this point, Tybalt, who has challenged Romeo because of his appearance at the masquerade, enters, seeking Romeo. On Romeo's 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 have an in
your hate's proceeding,/ My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;/ But I'll 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 he's 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)
Where upon, Romeo has to leave Verona and go to Mantua, leaving Juliet alone and desperate for Romeo. Which is another step to the tragic downfall of the lives and dreams of these two lovers.
Juliet, who refuses wed Paris, asks for Friar Laurence's assistance, where upon he gives her a poison. 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, ii, lines 115-117) Following Juliet's intake of the poison, Romeo is anticipating news from Verona. Balthasar, a servant to Romeo, tells Romeo that Juliet has died. 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 reining,/ Seal'd up the doors, and would not let us forth;/\" (V, ii, 9-11) Friar John tells that he could find no one to deliver the letter, for fear they may catch the infection. The letter is not sent, Romeo knows not of the friars plan, fate rises over all arrangements, and leads its own paths.
Then many will ask, why? Why is the strongest, most beautiful love crushed my hate? Why can't a love so strong conquer hate? And Shakespeare answers it does. The love if these two lovers is strong enough to end the feud of the families, but only in death. only by death of young love could the families see the danger of there hate, allowing it to stop. only the same amount of extreme love and hate could end the feud at such a drastic fate.
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet.
Eds. Maynard Mack and Robert Bayton.
Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1981