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Examples of Fate in "Romeo and Juliet"

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Fate. Who would guess that this measly one-syllable, four-lettered word would play such a big role in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet? According to Dictionary.com, fate is "something that unavoidably befalls a person"; however, in Romeo and Juliet, fate is reality. It seems like a constant occurrence and is always stirring up trouble, especially between the ever-pugnacious Capulets and Montagues.

One of the first examples of fate in Romeo and Juliet is after the quarrel between the servants in the first act. Fate comes in when Montague says to Benvolio, "I would thou wert so happy by thy stay to hear true shrift…" This statement, and the ones prior, show that Montague and later, Capulet, do not care about the "trivial" aspects of their children's lives. However, when it comes to money and marriage, they seem to want to be very engaged. This applies to Romeo and Juliet's fate because the feud between Montague, Capulet, and their families becomes, partly, the reason their children end up dead. The "fate" part of this is the fact the parents don't like to get involved in their children's lives, when in turn, they are more involved than they could ever imagine. Their negligence and ignorance as parents results in the loss of their only children. (Act I, Scene I, Lines 151-152)






Another fated event is when Peter, an illiterate Capulet servant, asks Romeo to assist him in reading the guest list of the Capulet party. As Romeo reads the list aloud, he sees that his love, Rosaline, will be attending. Fate brought Peter to ask Romeo for help which resulted in Romeo see Rosaline's name, going to the party, seeing Juliet, forgetting about Rosaline, falling in love with Juliet, a member of his families foe, and therefore resulting in a story. If Peter had never come along, Romeo would have never met Juliet. (Act I, Scene II, Lines 58-83)

Perhaps the biggest and most overlooked example of fate is the Prologue. I predestine the outcome of the story. It talks of "death-marked love" which proposes the story's concept of the people's lack of control in their own lives. Romeo and Juliet could not anticipate death resulting from their cherished love, just like Tybalt could not anticipate his death by Romeo's sword. Therefore, the Prologue is the perfect example of how fate is intertwined throughout the story. (Prologue, Lines 1-13)




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