The Deaths of Romeo and Juliet


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The Deaths of Romeo and Juliet

Was it just one person’s fault, or a mixture? In this essay, I will
include many different reasons as to why Romeo and Juliet die. I will
explain in detail each point and put forward my own opinions. I will
use quotes to back up each point and explain why the historical
context is relevant. At the end, I will conclude with whom or what I
think is the most important reason that contributes to the blame of
their deaths.

I will begin with different people who could be to blame. There are
many possible people, so I shall start with the Nurse. In one
respect, the Nurse is very good at her job, but in another, she is
not. The Nurse loves Juliet very much, but abandons her
responsibility of looking after her when she allows her to become
involved with Romeo. Anyone can see that the relationship is going to
cause trouble. The Nurse then furthers her involvement in matters by
helping to arrange the wedding between Romeo and Juliet. In her
defence, you could say that she did not have much choice in the
matter, as Juliet was in control, “I am the drudge and toil in your
delight”. This shows that the Nurse is following orders from Juliet,
because she thinks it will make Juliet happy. Although she does, she
does not seem to be bothered about the damage she could cause in the
future. This is one reason why the Nurse could be to blame for the
deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

Another point in the play where the Nurse contributes to the deaths of
Romeo and Juliet is when the proposal of Paris comes along. At this
stage in the play, Romeo has been banished. The Nurse disregards
Juliet’s feelings for Romeo and takes the easy option, telling her to
marry Paris, “I think you are happy in this second match, for it
excels your first”. Juliet despises the Nurse for saying this.

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Here,
she has abandoned Juliet and now Juliet has no-one but Friar Lawrence
to turn to. I think that Juliet originally turned to the Nurse,
because she acts as a substitute mother for her just as the Friar does
to Romeo.

Shakespeare uses the Nurse as a sort of comical character. She is
extremely convincing in her role and a break from the rivalry and
fighting, therefore I do not think she is solely to blame for Romeo
and Juliet’s deaths. I do not think she seriously realised what could
happen if things got out of hand. The Nurse was well intentioned, but
in her concerns for Juliet’s welfare she became very excited and
talkative.

Another person who could be blamed for Romeo and Juliet’s deaths is
Friar Lawrence. I think he had good intentions as this quote proves;
“for this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your households rancour
to pure love.” This indicates that the Friar agrees to marry Romeo
and Juliet, because he believes that it will bring the enemies
together in peace. It shows that he may see himself as a peacemaker.
He reaches his decision very quickly once he realises this situation,
however he tells Romeo to take things slowly when he says: “wisely and
slowly: they stumble that run fast.” He goes against his own advice
as firstly he changes his decision very quickly and secondly he
marries the two lovers in less than 24 hours. Later, Juliet secretly
meets the Friar as though at confession and despairs at the loss of
Romeo. The Friar thinks up another rash plan to have her drink a
potion that will make her look dead. For a moral, religious man, he
has never advised Romeo or Juliet to actually be honest and tell the
truth. This may have prevented their death. This shows how much of
what the Friar did was motivated by self-interest, and his plans every
step have been immoral. If he had slowed down a bit and not taken
such drastic action, then he could have seen the bigger picture, and
how his actions would have repercussions.

The Friar abused his position in the church; a secret marriage,
arranging for Romeo to sleep with Juliet, and using the disguise of
confession to talk to Juliet. This makes him untrustworthy.
Regardless of what his intentions were, he caused a situation of
secrecy and deceit. The plan which Friar Lawrence made was unreliable
and later resulted in the deaths of the two.

Someone else who could be said to be to blame is Tybalt. He
contributed to most of the deaths in the play, including his own. He
provoked Mercutio into fighting him, and then killed him. This then
led to his death. Romeo was banished because of Tybalt’s death, and
because of the banishment, Romeo and Juliet become separated. This
makes them both more desperate. This then results in their death,
because they cannot stand to be apart. If he had not provoked
Mercutio at the beginning, then Romeo and Juliet’s death may have been
prevented. It was due to Mercutio and Tybalt being from separate
families, which leads onto the parents.

The Capulet parents played a major part in the death of Juliet. They
treated her quite badly, considering she was their daughter. Act 3,
Scene 5 is the perfect scene for showing how Juliet’s parents treated
her. In the Baz Lurhmann interpretation, the scene is set in Juliet’s
bedroom. The bedroom is supposed to be a private space, but her
parents just go in her room and intrude without knocking. This is a
sign of Juliet’s parents’ ownership of her, and that they make all the
decisions for her. This is an example of how things were different in
Elizabethan times to now. The parents do as they please, whilst
Juliet must obey to their orders.

A line that has a lot of meaning is “How now wife, have you delivered
to her our decree?” This line is spoken by Capulet and is a proud
entry of his. He expects Juliet to be happy about the proposal. He
also thinks he knows her mind, which he does not.

There are a few points about Lady Capulet, to show her attitude
towards Juliet. “Ay, sir” Lady Capulet is respectful, but is not
considered as an equal when compared to Lord Capulet. She speaks
fairly negatively to Juliet. A point that is spoken by her mother is
spoken quite rudely. It definitely is not something happy as this
shown the relationship between them, “I would the fool be married to
her grave.” She is also very formal towards Juliet. Juliet always
says “madam” instead of mum. These points show what the relationship
was like between Juliet and her parents. She would have found it very
difficult to tell them about her and Romeo. If they had known though,
Romeo and Juliet may not have taken their lives.

The main reason Romeo and Juliet would not have wanted to tell their
parents, is because of the feud. The feud is ancient, and causes many
problems. Both of the fights in the play were because of the feud.
The feud was one of the main contributions to the deaths of Romeo and
Juliet. Some people say they died because of the rivalry between the
Capulet and Montague households. Without the feud, Tybalt would not
have had a problem with Romeo and his friends being at the party.
This is what led to the death of Tybalt and Mercutio. I think that
the feud should have been forgotten a long time ago. If there was not
rivalry, then Romeo would have been quite eligible to be Juliet’s
husband.

It could be said that Romeo and Juliet’s deaths was a result of fate
or chance. Fate is not a physical being, but a force of power that is
involved in everyone’s lives. I think that its main aim in this story
was to resolve the families’ feud, and the only way to do this was to
go through the lovers themselves. This point is included in the
prologue, “And the continuance of their parents’ rage: Which but their
children’s end nought could remove”. This shows that even Shakespeare
thought it was important that Romeo and Juliet's deaths were going to
have an after effect. I think it was fate that made Peter ask Romeo
to read the invitation for him, because if Peter had asked anyone
else, Romeo would never have met Juliet. Also, Romeo always talks
about the stars, “….deny you stars.” Romeo was star-crossed
throughout the play, but he denied to fate the power to do him any
worse injury. Chance is used in this play to bring bad luck. I think
that some events were just chance, for example the non-delivery of
Friar Lawrence’s letter.

My overall opinion is that it is a mixture of fate and the “ancient
grudge” between the two families that results in the youths deaths.
These two ideas are introduced during the prologue; “A pair of
star-cross’d lovers…And the continuance of their parents’ rage.” This
shows that Shakespeare thought it important to introduce these two
themes at the very beginning. I could not decide between the two
ideas, because fate causes the feud originally, but Romeo and Juliet
could not expose their relationship or feelings towards each other,
because of the feud. If they had done so, then I believe that their
deaths could have been avoided. I do not think however that the
parents would have consented to their relationship; therefore, they
probably would not have been happy.


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