Who is to Blame in Romeo and Juliet?


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I don’t believe one particular person or circumstance is to blame for
the death of the lovers in Romeo and Juliet, but a combination of
history, circumstance, fate and personality lead the lovers towards
tragedy. In terms of history and circumstance we must remember that in
the sixteenth century, marriages were arranged. The play would
therefore be considered very wrong in Elizabethan times as the couple
are marrying without their parents consent. This is a very important
point to be considered because the lovers rebel against custom and
history in choosing each other. This is the major cause of their
deaths.

The family feud in the story means that nearly everything that happens
in Verona ends in violence. This means that Romeo and Juliet had no
chance of a successful marriage if they told their families about
their love for one another. They are going against convention and
against their families’ wishes. The feud is highly to blame for the
deaths of the two lovers as it is responsible for the secret marriage,
Romeo’s banishment, and for the Friars scheme. The families are both
involved in the family feud, therefore can be held partly responsible
for the deaths of the lovers. Romeos parents are a lot less pushy than
Juliet’s parents. When Romeo is banished from Verona, it makes Lady
Montague so unhappy she dies of grief. Juliet’s parents are pushy
social climbers who want her to marry Paris, a rich and influential
nobleman related to the Prince of Verona. If Juliet and Paris marry,
then Paris will be family and have to help the Capulets. This is why
Capulet is so keen for the wedding to happen. Although the marriage is
arranged, when Paris is dying he asks to be placed in the tomb next to
Juliet, proving that he did love her but perhaps in a quieter way than
Romeo.

People who could also be blamed include Friar Lawrence. Although Friar
Lawrence’s intentions were good, he shouldn’t have suggested such a
dangerous plan, he was playing with the lover’s lives.

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"Who is to Blame in Romeo and Juliet?." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Jan 2018
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It was also the
Friars fault that the message that Juliet was alive didn’t reach Romeo
in time, so he thought his lover had died.

The Friar and the nurse are the only people who know Romeo and
Juliet’s secret. It seems as though these two take over the role of
Romeo and Juliet’s parents as the lovers cannot tell their own parents
but need to tell somebody they can trust. Although the Friar’s hoping
that the wedding will be a success and the families will then be
friends, he says a lot of things throughout the play that make it
sound like he knows things will end up going wrong. For example he
tells Romeo, ‘These violent delights have violent ends.’ (Act 2 Scene
6). But in a way, the marriage does succeed in uniting the families as
they realise what they have done and feel ashamed. The Friar is
willing to take the blame, ‘Be sacrificed, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigour of severest law.’ (Act 5 Scene 3). The nurse also
takes a parental role in the play. She is much closer and more
affectionate with Juliet than her mother ever is. She has pet names
for Juliet such as ‘lamb’ and ‘pretty fool.’ When the nurse discovers
Juliet’s death, she seems to be more genuinely upset than any of the
other characters. When Juliet asks the nurse to help Juliet marry
Romeo, she has no choice but to help, as she is Juliet’s servant. The
death of the lovers is partly her fault in this case but, she had no
other choice but to help Juliet so she cannot take the full blame for
their deaths. Throughout the play, we get the impression that the
nurse probably thinks Juliet will be much better off with Paris rather
than Romeo. The nurse advises Juliet to do as her parents say, as the
nurse always tries to be practical and sensible. For example she says,
‘ I think you are happy in this second match, for it excels your
first.’ Talking about Paris. By thinking that Paris is a better match
for Juliet than Romeo is, Juliet feels betrayed and doesn’t tell the
nurse about the potion plan.

Tybalt and Mercutio could also be partially to blame. If Tybalt
hadn’t killed Mercutio, Romeo would not have killed Tybalt and be
banished from Verona. This would mean that the lovers could still see
each other in secret, and the Friar wouldn’t have had to rely on a
letter to tell Romeo that Juliet and could have told him in person
rather than the letter going astray leading to Romeo believing Juliet
was dead. Mercutio is not a family member but says that the family
feud has caused his death as he died fighting to protect Romeo’s
honour. “A plague a’ both your houses! They have made worms’ meat of
me.”(Act 3 Scene1).

It was fate which caused the letter to go astray, and it plays a very
strong part in the story. Romeo seems to think that the stars decide a
lot of things. The first time he mentions this is on the way to
Capulet’s party with Mercutio (Act 1 Scene 4) he says, ‘some
consequence yet hanging in the stars.’ He mentions the stars again
when he is about to commit suicide (Act 5 Scene 3) he says he wants to
be free from his unlucky stars, ‘and shake the yoke of inauspicious
stars.’ At the start of the play, the prologue says that the lovers
are doomed to die. It implies that the stars control Romeo and
Juliet’s lives, and the stars are against them.

There are constant mood changes throughout the play. As the play
begins, the characters are happy but they become increasingly upset
and the play becomes darker. Shakespeare does this because he knows
that it’s easier for the audience to care about the characters when
they’ve seen them happy first. The play becomes more depressing as it
continues. By the mood and attitude of the characters, Shakespeare
makes you feel differently about each one. He makes Romeo and Juliet’s
love for one another seem very special, as he wants the audience to
believe in the couple and wish them well. The irony in the play is
that the couple’s love for one another in the end is a success because
the families see the worthlessness of their feud and this wouldn’t
have happened if the couple hadn’t have died. It is therefore hate not
love which killed the lovers.


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