Fate in Romeo and Juliet

An analysis of the reoccurring theme of fate in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

This paper examines Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, which is set in Verona Italy, where two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, produce a pair of star-crossed lovers. It looks at how within the play there are five events that drastically change the course of Romeo and Juliet’s love: Romeo and Juliet’s meeting; their marriage; the death of Tybalt and Romeo’s banishment; Friar John being detained with the letter allowing Balthasar to inform Romeo of Juliet’s death; and Romeo killing himself before Juliet awakens. It attempts to show how these events could be classified as the direct results of a character’s action, an act of fate, or a combination of both.
“Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting is completely due to fate. Their families hate for one another would have made it impossible for them ever to meet unless there was another force at work. Romeo was originally infatuated with Rosaline, a woman who did not belong to either the Capulet or Montague family, and who would have nothing to do with Romeo. If the Serving Man of the Capulets had not approached Romeo to read the list of guests he was to ask to the party, Romeo would never have been aware that Rosaline was invited, which is the reason that induced him to enter the home of his enemy. This string of events and coincidences could not occur in a situation without fate, which sets up the rest of the play around the delicate relationship of Romeo and Juliet that under normal circumstances would not exist.”