Fate. A force, neither physical nor verbal, that develops events that are determined by supernatural powers beyond an individual’s control. This force-like thing is often used or referenced to in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Fate is used as an excuse or a possible cause to an effect, and this applies to many characters throughout the play. Without fate acting as a strong belief for characters throughout Romeo and Juliet, the storyline could be completely different.
Through the use of action, Shakespeare reveals fate to be the drive of most characters’ beliefs. For example, Romeo says, “ Oh, I am fortune's fool” (3.1.132). When translated, it is revealed that Romeo believes fate tells him to kill Tybalt so he can be recognized as the fool he is. We know Romeo truly believes in this because he realizes he has done wrong, causing him to be a “fool,” but the act of murdering someone is so unrealistic to him that he has to blame something else, such as his providence. This means Romeo trusts that everything is bound to happen for a reason, that reason representing his destiny. Furthermore, with fate also being referred to as a form of ending, Romeo anticipates the killing of Tybalt as not only the ending of his life, but a type of ending for him as well. He is immediately banished from Verona, making it the end of his life there, and the end of strong connections with loved ones. In addition, Romeo continuously states that the stars are fate , so when he says, “Then I defy you stars”(5.1.24), he means: he goes against fate. This is a thing that he trusts in so much to the point that he lets it control his life, but it is now being rebelled against. When in need of advice for his love towards Juliet, he asks the stars. When he wants to continue loving, he wishes upon the stars. And when something goes wrong, he blames the stars. Fate is a part of who Romeo is. Without his belief in such a thing, he could be an unrecognizable person from who he originally is, This could change the whole plot and even the ending. Fortunately, his character contains a strong belief in the control of life, giving us what is now known as one of the best plays in history.
The connection to the characters’ fate in the play to how people describe fate here, in reality, rises the question: what is our future already being determined by? Throughout the play, Juliet, Romeo, and Friar Laurence often bring up the force of kismet for many situations, such as the following: murder, love, death, and marriage. However, that gives fate a different description from what present people might imagine, In Romeo and Juliet, fate is their brain. Fate is what makes all their decisions, actions, who they are, what they are attracted to, and how they think. This is, in fact, what they live by. The majority of us, here, live by the Bible or God’s word. Our decisions are highly based on pleasing God and following his footsteps. This is similar to how the characters in the play act out based on what their kismet tells them. God influences our life while fate controls theirs. Here, an astral influence is only a thought. We believe God has our future planned, not a supernatural force. All in all, fate is what a person believes in.
Shakespeare uses destiny throughout his play to foreshadow future events caused by fate. If futuristic details aren’t hinted, then they are directly stated throughout the play. For example, in the prologue, it reads, “A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life”(Prologue.5). This statement alone shows that there is something beyond the death of the lovers. This is a something that symbolizes love, which becomes the two’s motive for death. At the end of the play, it is revealed that Romeo kills himself for Juliet and vise versa. This proves them to be passionate and caring characters in what they do or say, which allows character growth. Character growth leads to who they are meant to be, also known as “their fate.” Equally important, the quote says, “star-crossed lovers take their life.” Using previous facts, star- crossed means destiny, revealing that Romeo and Juliet are not only meant to fall in love with each other, but also meant to fall into death for each other. This is because fate chose love and love meant death. Additionally, Romeo publicizes, “My mind misgives/some consequences yet hanging in the stars”(1.4.108-109). Romeo means that his mind is wandering through fear of what his future might contain. After this realization, he is clueless to why he feels uneasy. He only realizes the stars are trying to warn him. Correspondingly, the feeling Romeo witnesses occurs because destiny can’t be escaped, just like love. In deeper meaning, fate chose Juliet for Romeo, leading to marriage. Marriage is a cealed love meant to continue forever. However, in this play, love typically ends in death, rising an unsettling emotion.
In conclusion, fate is described differently by every person, so the real definition depends on feeling, experience, and belief. Throughout Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses peoples’ destiny as a force that not only controls his characters’ actions, but also his entire storyline. Without fate, the hidden message behind Romeo and Juliet would be harder to interpret.
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