What is fate? Fate is a power beyond anyone’s control. While reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Fate has been brought up many times. Fate is the definitive trouble-causing factor in the play Romeo and Juliet.  Many characters, even the pair of lovers themselves have acknowledged Fate’s cruel ploy.

There was plenty of evidence of fate throughout the entire play. Romeo is well aware of fate. I know this because he cries out to defy fate. It’s as if Romeo has a special relationship with Fate, he is the only one with this bizarre star-talking habit. Fate is unstoppable, and even Romeo knows that he cannot get in the way of fate.

Lastly, the coincidences cannot be overlooked. Time is not in the hands of anyone, and fate uses that to his advantage. Choices are made by the characters, but all events throughout the play point to fate as to why these unfortunate events happen.

On a few occasions, Romeo speaks about Fate, and even to Fate himself. I believe that Romeo has a special relationship with Fate as the other characters do not. 

After Tybalt slew Romeo’s friend Mercutio, Romeo says he is going to kill Tybalt for the love he’s changed into hatred so quickly. Romeo makes a rash decision to end his life for what he has done to his dear friend.

“This day’s black fate on more days doth depend; This but begins the woe others must end.” (3.1. Lines 118-119) Here, Shakespeare foreshadows destined murder. After Romeo kills Tybalt, he realizes he is the victim of his fortune.

He no longer has any control over fate, and he has ruined his future with Juliet. “O, I am fortune’s fool!” (3.1. Line 135)This line suggests that fate is to be blamed for the murder of Tybalt. What happens after this point is completely influenced by the grave mistake Romeo has made.

Romeo and Juliet are identified as the pair of “star crossed lovers” in the prologue, meaning that the stars are against them. “Is it even so? Then I defy you, stars!” (5.1. Line 24) After being given the news that Juliet is dead, Romeo defies the stars. Defiance is to openly resist a force. In this case, Romeo is opposing fate. In the end, Romeo’s efforts are fruitless, he and his newly wedded wife both die, due to Fate’s inevitable power.

Romeo and Juliet were set in the Elizabethan era, where they strongly believed in fate and superstitions. At that time, people believed that they had no influence over their course of life, as it was written in the stars. Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse, and the Friar are all well that fate is running their lives.

On their last night together before he leaves Verona, the couple feels helpless. “O Fortune, Fortune! All men call thee fickle.” Juliet is saying that fortune is unchangeable, and she hopes fortune will not keep him away from her much longer. Juliet depends on fate to bring her Romeo back, but obviously, fate had other plans. Friar Lawrence points a finger at fate as well.

“Unhappy fortune!” (5.2. Line17) Friar Lawrence discovers that Friar John was unable to give Romeo the letter that explains Juliet isn’t really dead. “A greater power than we can contradict hath thwarted our intents.” The Friar doesn’t want to take responsibility for what has happened and tells Juliet that either God or fate has ruined their plans.

If fate were to be a character in Romeo and Juliet, it’d be father time. Coincidences are the key reason the play had come to a tragic end. The fact that Romeo and Juliet even met was a major coincidence. A servant asked Romeo to read names off a list for a Capulet party.

“Find them out whose names are written here!” (1.2. Line 38) Romeo reads the entire list, and he knows that the party will consist of Capulet’s, “But He that hath the steerage of my course direct my sail!” (1.4. Line 112-113) These are the lines Romeo says after Benvolio convinced him to go along with them to seek beautiful women at a Capulet party.

Romeo is saying he’ll let fate guide the way, even though Romeo knows he had a dream about death upon himself. Another example of coincidence is the fact that Capulet wanted to marry Juliet off to Paris right after Tybalt’s death. In the beginning, he felt his daughter was still too young for marriage. “Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn,” (3.5. Line 113)

This was very unfortunate for Juliet because she had already gotten married to her lover, Romeo. After all of this, Juliet could not take it and she decided she had to be with him, no matter what. She spoke to Friar Lawrence, and the Friar gave her a potion to fake death until Romeo comes back to retrieve her.

Friar sent out an urgent letter addressed to Romeo with Friar John. Coincidentally the letter was not able to reach Mantua, where Romeo resides. “I could not send it, — here it is again, — Nor get a messenger to bring it thee, so fearful were they of infection. “(5.2. Line 14) There was a plague in Mantua, and no one could travel past the border until it was gone.

This was a coincidence that it happened to arrive right when the letter was going to be delivered to Romeo. The biggest coincidence throughout the play, which would have been the difference between life and death for the star-crossed lovers, was in the tomb. Romeo is given the news that his wife has died, in haste, without seeking help from the Friar.

He entered the tomb where Juliet appeared to be dead, and then he killed himself. If fate allowed Juliet to wake up even 2 seconds before Romeo committed suicide, I’m sure they’d both be alive, but that is not what happened. Juliet killed herself because she couldn’t bear the death of her only husband. Fate has set all of these events, in perfect order to unite the Capulets and the Montagues.

Fate is an inevitable force used as a special character, unseen and unheard, but there nonetheless. Each character in the story is aware of fate, and most of all, Romeo has a special relationship with fate. Unfortunate events throughout the play are caused by fate, many parts are coincidences that are the difference between life and death for the star-crossed lovers.

The stars are against Romeo and Juliet, and what happens is coordinated with fate’s cruel plan. A little freedom is given, on fate’s command. It is evident that fate is the cause of their tragic end and their families’ new beginning.

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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