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Romeo and Juliet: Choice Or Fate

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Life is driven by both choice and faith but choice is mainly what life is driven by. To begin with, fate is responsible for the reason that both Romeo and Juliet were born into two opposite families that hate each other, yet some quotes makes it very clear that the events leading up to the deaths are a matter of choice rather than fate.

Romeo’s flaws are his impulsive actions plus his tendency to follow his unreasonable emotions rather than his logical and sensible reasoning, and it is his flaws that guide his choices in the play. It is through these impulsive actions that he makes the choice to avenge Mercutio by killing Tybalt for Mercutio’s death, even though he knew Tybalt would be banished or killed by the prince. And again, it is through his quick illogical choice that he makes to kill himself. The worst of Romeo’s irrational decision making is where he sees Juliet still so beautiful but doesn’t notice how she isn’t actually dead, as we see in Romeo’s lines: “Death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath, hath had no power yet upon thy beauty. Thou art not conquer’d. Beauty’s ensign yet, Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks. (act 5 scene 3 lines 92-95)”. Only if Romeo had been thinking a bit more logically at that moment, rather than being leaded by his intense illogical emotional thinking, he might have stopped to realize that she really was not dead. The fact that fate didn’t let Friar Laurence’s letter explaining Juliet’s faked death would have been unimportant if Romeo had been thinking more logically, really makes this play so ironically tragic. Therefore, it is really Romeo’s choices, especially his choice to allow himself to be lead by his emotions, that leads to all the deaths in the play.

Aside from Romeo, Shakespeare even makes a point that Lords Capulet and Montague have made choices to allow themselves to be governed by their own intense, violent, irrational emotions rather than by reason and that it is these choices that lead to the play’s tragedies. We especially see this point made in Prince Escalus’s speeches, particularly in the final scene, ‘See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, / That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!’ (303-04). Notice that he is not saying fate is responsible for Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths; instead, he is saying that their hatred is to blame, and Capulet and Montague made the choice to hate and to continue the feud.

Therefore, Shakespeare makes it very evident that, while fate may play a role in certain circumstances, it is ultimately choices that lead to the tragic deaths in the play. 

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Romeo and Juliet: Choice or Fate. (2022, April 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from
“Romeo and Juliet: Choice or Fate.” GradesFixer, 08 Apr. 2022,
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