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The Theme of Fate and Impetuosity in Romeo and Juliet

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“Just because everything is different doesn’t mean that anything has changed.”(Irene Peter, Author). As humans, our beliefs can never be changed. There is no sufficient reason to think of time as anything indifferent to human affairs. As humans we remain a byproduct of mother nature, ultimately our emotions become denser with age suggesting that humans all have distinctive behavior that circles back to different periods of time. This is demonstrated in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, a dramatic tragedy (1895) that explores impetuosity through the youthfulness of the protagonists. Fate plays an important role by facilitating an exploration of whether we can shape our destiny or not.

The theme of fate highlights the question in a way that suggests moral beliefs from the past and present. Romeo and Juliet have been able to evaluate past circumstances of fate, through character foil and techniques. The idea of one’s fate being predetermined by an outsider being was widely accepted during the Elizabethan era “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes… a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life” (Prologue). Through facilitating the use of celestial imagery and foreshadowing, we learn that both Juliet and Romeo will die as their fate is predetermined by an external influence. Compared to the Elizabethan era, free will is much more considerable to human nature now than then as we are delegated to make our own choices and find a sense of conformity in the presence of independence. This notion is further explored when Juliet is assigned to marry Paris. “I will not marry yet; and when I do, I swear / It shall be Romeo—whom you know I hate— / Rather than Paris”. Dramatic irony is used to convey a sense of temptation, as Juliet tests the powers of fate by free will in choosing to not marry him. Shakespeare adopted this theory of questioning fate through free will but used it from the perspective of the fate of all humans, not just the protagonist or tragic hero. This applies in a modern-day context, in which people are empowered to choose whom they want to marry. It is now believed that we are more self-determined, rather than an eternal being determining the course of human life, however, some things are inevitable. This notion is embodied in, “I fear, too early, for my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the star Shall bitterly begin his fearful date With this night’s revels, and expire the term Of a despisèd life closed in my breast… by some vile forfeit of untimely death”. By foreshadowing his journey to his untimely demise, he communicates the idea that something will send him down an unrighteous path. Therefore, fate supersedes the ideology of free will and allows the characters to blame their actions on external influences. Fate becomes a manifestation of the degree of control humans are willing to place in informing their actions. Through this, it is revealed that modern humans have challenged the idea of fate by making their own decisions.

Humans are susceptible to impetuous behavior, as we want to further explore the nature of adrenaline. The theme of impetuosity expresses the existential moral importance of understanding consequences. The internal nature of human action is simultaneously embodied through the characterization of the protagonist, Romeo. Impetuosity is embodied through Romeo’s hamartia, as he is prone to act on feelings caused by infatuation. “Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright… it seems she hangs upon the cheek of night, like a rich jewel in an Ehiop’s ear, Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!”. Shakespeare uses metaphorical expression and a simile to express his feelings of love for Juliet. Through this, the audience can understand Romeo’s emotions and becomes the embodiment of the romantic hero. The youth in modern society make irrational decisions, as they have a desire for love which is caused by an infatuation. This paradigm manifests itself in Romeo’s wedding vows, “I take thee at thy word, call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized… henceforth, I never will be Romeo”. The romantic tone which underpins his marriage vows accentuates love and its boundaries. Romeo does not think his actions through and every impetuous decision that he makes will lead to his untimely death. He does not realize the negative impacts that he will have to endure if he does not anticipate the worst outcomes. This is still evident today as the youth make illogical decisions that can negatively or positively influence their existence. “Away to Heaven, respective lenity, And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now! Now, Tybalt, take the ‘villain’ back again. The symbolism of fire reveals that this is an extremely impulsive act emerging from blinding hatred. Romeo does not understand that he is affecting the lives of the people that surrounded Tybalt, by putting him straight in the enemy’s way. Youth in the modern context perform actions with undesirable consequences but have no excuse for simultaneous repetition. Although times are different, psychologically we have remained receptive to impulsive behavior.

Through the theme of fate and impetuosity, we are able to explore the further construction of the quote, by exploring moral importance and understanding the desire for social commentary. In the modern context, we are able to manipulate fate by the choices of free will and how impetuosity can ultimately lead to a distinctive impact on your life.   

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The Theme of Fate and Impetuosity in Romeo and Juliet. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from
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