How does William Shakespeare explore the idea of fate in his play Romeo and Juliet?

In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare explores the in many ways. He uses it to communicate his idea of how everything is set up in plan for Romeo and Juliet’s life, and god is in control of it, and not them. In this essay I will explain the ways in which he uses them and what effect they have on the audience of the play, and explains how you supposedly cannot escape fate.

One of the ways that he communicates the idea of fate is in the chance meeting of Romeo and Juliet. From Romeo seeing the invitation for the party to him falling in love at first sight with Juliet it could not be a coincidence. They were meant for each other, they were star crossed lovers and god had decided it should be that way. When Romeo stumbles across Peter in the street Peter happens to not be educated. The Capulets could have chosen any man go and deliver the invitation yet still the man that they sent happened to find help from Romeo. Also in real life it is not usual to suddenly see someone and both people fall in love at the first sight.

William Shakespeare also demonstrates the use of fate in the chorus. The chorus is used to narrate what is happening, and so in the intro he tells everybody what is going to happen: Romeo and Juliet are going to kill themselves.

“A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.”

William Shakespeare does this to demonstrate that characters cannot escape their own fate. This also gives the audience a fell of power and awareness over the characters lives. The audience throughout the play hope that Romeo and Juliet will not die, so this gives suspense throuout the play.

Another use of fate is where the characters themselves unconscionably predict there own future. For example:

“JULIET (gesturing towards Romeo)

What’s he that follows there, that would not dance?

NURSE

I know not.

JULIET

Go ask his name: if he be married.

My grave is like to be my wedding bed.”

In this text Juliet describes how if Romeo were to be married then her ‘grave shall be her wedding bed’. She Is therefore predicting the future, as her grave does turn out to be her wedding bed.

Using words again to explore fate, Shakespeare uses Metaphors. The metaphor is a very powerful use of language, but is not always noticed when reading or watching a play.It is where certain words are used to make a picture of something -in this case- that will happen in the future. For example:

LADY CAPULET
What say you? Can you love the gentleman?
This night you shall behold him at our feast.
Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face
And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen.
Examine every married lineament
And see how one another lends content,
And what obscured in this fair volume lies
Find written in the margin of his eyes.
This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
To beautify him only lacks a cover.

All of these word in bold have something to do do with books, suggesting again that he play is a book and the fate of Romeo and Juliet cannot be changed. Also when Lady Capulet says “To beautify him only lacks a cover.”, she is implying that Juliet needs a man- that she should marry Paris, she is hinting to what will happen later on in the book. There are many of these metaphors in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and they all have something to do with what will happen.

As well as the wording and text of the play there is also use of fate in the actual events. At the end of the play, Romeo is banished from Verona and when Friar John goes to tell Romeo about the plan to get back Juliet he manages to get caught up in a quarantine and so cannot deliver the message, meaning that he thinks Juliet is dead. Likewise, the same happens, when Friar Lawrence does not make it to the tomb in time. Both of these things lead to Romeo killing himself which made Juliet kill herself. They would not happen on an ordinary ocation, and so plays it’s part in fate.

William Shakespeare uses all of these things to play their own part in fate, and together they show how god is in control and how you cannot change your fate. Athough if Romeo has killed himself- which is the most terrible thing to do as you are taking the decision of your life into your own hands- then how can it be his fate that he takes the decision about his life away from God?


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