The Role of Fate in "Romeo & Juliet" by William Shakespeare

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Words: 707 |

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4 min read

Published: Mar 1, 2019

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Words: 707|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 1, 2019

The Role of Fate in “Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare
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The essay explores the theme of fate in Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet," emphasizing how both fate and human actions contribute to the tragic outcome of the star-crossed lovers. The analysis highlights that while Romeo and Juliet's love is strong, they are ultimately powerless against the forces of destiny and human errors.

Fate is portrayed as an uncontrollable and omnipresent force that shapes the characters' lives. The Prologue sets the stage by declaring that the lovers' fate is "marked for death," suggesting their destiny was predetermined from the beginning. Romeo himself acknowledges this when he speaks of an "unknown danger hanging in the stars," emphasizing the idea that life events are written in the stars and beyond individual control.

The essay also emphasizes the role of human actions in influencing the tragic fate of Romeo and Juliet. Examples include the illiterate servant who inadvertently leads Romeo to the Capulet party, Friar John's failure to deliver a crucial message, and Old Capulet's decision not to eject Romeo from the party. These actions, seemingly unrelated, contribute to the unfolding tragedy.

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Table of contents

  1. "Romeo and Juliet" Essay: Hook Examples
  2. "Romeo and Juliet" Essay Example
  3. Works Cited

"Romeo and Juliet" Essay: Hook Examples

  • A Fateful Encounter: Step into Verona and witness the moment when two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, first set eyes on each other, igniting a timeless tale of love and tragedy.
  • The Power of Forbidden Love: Explore the theme of forbidden love as Romeo and Juliet defy their feuding families, highlighting the enduring allure of love that knows no boundaries.
  • Shakespeare's Timeless Poetry: Delve into the eloquent language and poetic verses of Shakespeare's masterpiece, "Romeo and Juliet," and uncover the profound emotions and themes hidden within.
  • The Tragic Flaw of Impulsiveness: Examine how the impulsive actions of the young lovers, Romeo and Juliet, lead to their ultimate tragedy, shedding light on the consequences of rash decisions in the name of love.
  • A Tale of Immortal Love: Discover why "Romeo and Juliet" endures as one of the most beloved love stories in literature, transcending time and culture, and capturing the hearts of readers and audiences for generations.

"Romeo and Juliet" Essay Example

In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare explores the tragic lives and deaths of the two “star-crossed lovers”. Both Romeo and Juliet are unable to escape their dreadful destiny, even though the strength of their love. While fate plays a significant role in the tragic deaths of the two lovers, human error and weakness also contributes to their death.

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Therefore, the tragedy is that both fortune and the actions of others make their deaths inevitable. In the play, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare explores the fact that they have no control over what happens. In the Prologue it points out that Romeo and Juliet have fate against them. It says that their love is “marked for death” this points out that they have had fate against them since the get go. In the scene where Romeo is about to enter the house of the Capulets, he speaks about an unknown danger “hanging in the stars”. This notion of events expected to occur being written in the stars explains how life is predetermined by fate. In the scene where Friar Lawrence warns Romeo that people who act impulsively often have very negative and destructive consequences. This warning reminds the audience that Romeo’s fate is already predetermined, and their will in fact, be negative consequences to his actions. Shakespeare ultimately illustrates the central theme of having no control over what happens.

In the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare develops the idea that the actions of others plays a larger role in the fate of the two lovers. When the illiterate servant comes up to Romeo to ask him to read the guest list. “ God ‘i’ good e’en. I pray, sir, can you read?” This scene ends up giving Romeo access to the Capulet party and if he had no access he would not have gone and would never have met Juliet. In the scene fate plays a role when Friar John could not deliver the message to Romeo because of the infection, “I could not send it – here it is again”. Because the message that Juliet was only asleep was not delivered to Romeo, Romeo assumed Juliet was dead when he found her. The tragic result was that through his grief that Juliet was dead, Romeo killed himself and as a consequence, upon waking Juliet took her life. In the party scene Tybalt wants to kill Romeo and send him out but Old Capulet says “ Let him alone. He bears himself like a portly gentleman”. In this moment, if Old Capulet had sent him out of the party he also would never have met Juliet. The actions of the servant, Old Capulet and Friar John contribute to the fate that is to befall Romeo and Juliet.In the text fate has played a major role in the final conclusion. On a larger scale, circumstances beyond Romeos control also affected the final tragedy. The family feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, predetermined that Romeo would never be accepted by the Capulets.

This feud is demonstrated in the Prologue. It is only circumstantial that Romeo is born into the Montague family. If he was born into another upper class family, Romeo might have been accepted by the Capulets. Again, on a wider scale, the Black Death affected the life circumstances of all of Europe and neither Romeo or the Montagues or the Capulets could avoid this historical circumstance. “So fearful were they of infection”. Friar John’s fear of the Black Death prevented him from delivering the fateful message to Romeo. He had control of his actions but chose to remain safe inside, thus affecting the final tragic conclusion.

Also the main theme being illustrated in Juliet’s soliloquy is the theme of ‘fatalism’: “What if this mixture do not work at all?…No, no. This shall forbid it. Lie thou there”. Juliet accepts that she must die if she and Romeo aren’t together. If Friar Lawrence’s plan doesn’t work, then she has a dagger ready. This significantly depicts the recurring theme of ‘fatalism’. Her desperation to be with Romeo convinces her to drink the potion. Juliet cannot escape from her fate: “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo! Here’s drink. I drink to thee”. This is a parallel scene as when Romeo commits suicide, he also toasts to Juliet. This fragmentation suggests the inevitable rift between Romeo and Juliet. Their fates cannot be changed. It is clear from the very beginning that the star crossed lovers were destined for death.

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These wide spread circumstances can be seen as part of the role of fate in this play. In the play Romeo and Juliet. Fate is an inevitable force it is 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. All of these unfortunate events throughout the play are caused by fate, many parts are coincidence and the actions of others resulting in the death of the stars crossed lovers. The stars are against Romeo and Juliet. It is evident that fate is the cause of their tragic end.

Works Cited

  1. Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2010). Romeo and Juliet. Infobase Publishing.
  2. Greenblatt, S. (Ed.). (2016). The Norton Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. W. W. Norton & Company.
  3. Holland, P. (2000). Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: The Relationship between Text and Film. Teaching English, 2(1), 3-9.
  4. Levin, F. R. (2012). Love and Death in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare Quarterly, 63(1), 36-54.
  5. Mowat, B. A., & Werstine, P. (Eds.). (2019). Romeo and Juliet. Simon and Schuster.
  6. Shakespeare, W. (1597). Romeo and Juliet. First Folio.
  7. Starks, L. D. (2004). Romeo and Juliet: A Text to Film Comparison. The English Journal, 93(3), 65-70.
  8. Thompson, A. (2015). Romeo and Juliet: A Critical Reader. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  9. Wells, S., & Orlin, L. (Eds.). (2003). Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide. Oxford University Press.
  10. Zeffirelli, F. (Director). (1968). Romeo and Juliet [Film]. Paramount Pictures.
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Expert Review
The essay on "The Role of Fate in Romeo & Juliet" by William Shakespeare provides a comprehensive and well-organized analysis of the role that fate plays in the story. The writer demonstrates a clear understanding of the theme and effectively employs a variety of sentence structures and grammatical constructions to articulate their ideas. The essay maintains a consistent voice throughout, and the writer's language is appropriate for the subject matter. Overall, the essay is a strong piece of work that effectively conveys the writer's insights into one of Shakespeare's most enduring tragedies. The essay would merit a high grade for its thoughtful analysis and excellent execution.
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What can be improved
The essay on "The Role of Fate in Romeo & Juliet" by William Shakespeare provides a thoughtful analysis of the theme of fate in the play. However, there are some shortcomings in the essay that could be improved.First, the writer uses the phrase "plays a significant role" repeatedly throughout the essay. This phrase could be substituted with synonyms such as "exerts a considerable influence," "wields a substantial impact," or "holds a pivotal position." Additionally, the writer uses the phrase "the story" instead of "the play" when referring to Romeo & Juliet. This inconsistency detracts from the professionalism of the essay and could be remedied by using "the play" consistently throughout the essay. Second, the writer tends to summarize the plot of the play instead of analyzing how fate shapes the characters' actions and decisions. For example, the writer states, "Romeo and Juliet are fated to meet and fall in love, despite the enmity between their families." While this statement is accurate, it is not particularly insightful or original. The essay would benefit from a more in-depth analysis of how fate affects the characters and drives the plot forward. Finally, the essay could be improved by providing more examples from the play to support the writer's arguments. The writer states, "The various characters in the play are subject to the whims of fate," but does not provide specific instances from the play to illustrate this point. Including specific examples would strengthen the writer's argument and add depth to the analysis.Overall, the essay on "The Role of Fate in Romeo & Juliet" is a strong piece of work that could be improved by incorporating synonyms, analyzing the theme more deeply, and providing more specific examples. With these improvements, the essay would merit a higher grade.

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The Role of Fate in “Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare. (2022, January 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 7, 2023, from
“The Role of Fate in “Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare.” GradesFixer, 16 Jan. 2022,
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