“I am fortunes fool!” the characters cannot determine there own destinies in life, fate is determined by a high power beyond the control of the Character being affected. So many things happen by luck which Shakespeare used in his play to make it the tragedy it is. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare explores the idea of fate. He uses many quotes in the script to show that fate is in control of Romeo and Juliet’s lives. Shakespeare uses many other quotes and techniques to explore the idea of fate throughout the play.
In the play, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses many techniques such as plot ( timing and co-incidents), the prologue, dramatic irony and language (metaphors) to show that fate is very important in his play. Fate is defined when their life is thought to be out of their control. Shakespeare uses fate in his play to show that Romeo and Juliet’s life is under the control of fate as they meet, fall in love and die together and no one is able to stop them.
The idea that fate presents throughout Romeo and Juliet includes many techniques including plot (timing and co-incidents). Fate refers to the will of God, so due to this many co-incidences occurred as Elizabethan England Society considered this God’s intention. The timing of the play is out of the characters hands and fate uses that as an advantage, choices are made by the characters but all events throughout the play point to fate as to why these unfortunate events happen.
We see many examples of co-incidences throughout the play of Romeo and Juliet and recognize that co-incidents happen so that Romeo and Juliet meet each other, fall in love, and both take their lives as said in the prologue. We see one of these examples in Romeo and Juliet near the end of the script when Juliet takes the potion to fall asleep so she doesn’t have to marry Paris. This was Friar Lawrence idea, as Romeo had been banished from Verona, Friar Lawrence had sent the letter letting him know what was going on. As the letter did not get to him, Romeo found out that Juliet was “dead” by one of his good friends from the capulets family. Romeo went to the apothecary to get a deadly potion to kill himself for when he sees Juliet at her tomb. Friar Lawrence gets told by Friar John that the letter did not get to him, Friar Lawrence tried to get to the tomb before him but Romeo gets there first. Romeo says his goodbyes to Juliet not knowing what is going on, he takes the potion and dies. Juliet wakes up just after to find Romeo is not by her side. Juliet-” O, comfortable Friar! where is my lord? I do remember well where I should be, and there I am. Where is my Romeo?”. This quote shows us that Romeo killed himself just as Juliet was waking up because right from the start we knew that at some point they had taken their life.
The second co-incident would be when the Capulet tells the servant who can not read to send out the invitations. As the servant can’t read he walks along a street in Verona and comes across Romeo who helps him read. As Romeo helped him, the servant asked him to come to the party. Servant- ” if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray come crush a cup of wine”. This leads him to go to the party at the Capulets and of course meet Juliet. These co-incidents show us that Romeo and Juliet fall in love, and cannot be stopped from killing themselves. The plot along with many other features shows us the idea of fate and the reasons behind it.
The fourteen-line sonnet at the start of the script known as the prologue which does not only set the scene but tells us exactly what is going to happen throughout the storyline. It tells us where the play takes place and gives us some background information about the two families and some characters. In the prologue, it mentions ” a pair of star-crossed lovers takes their life” in other words lovers destined to an unhappy fate, this refers to “star-crossed” which basically means against the stars. Stars were thought to discipline peoples destinies, the prologue gives us the sense of fate by letting us know that Romeo and Juliet die right from the beginning.
As the whole prologue refers to fate as the two lovers kill themselves and bring the two families together who basically were at war with each other. As Romeo and Juliet met, fell in love, got married and unfortunately took there lives, the two families, the Capulets and the Montagues agree to end their strife. The prologue tells the audience this at the start of the script, ” Whose misadventured piteous overthrows, Do with their death bury their parents’ strife”. All along it was fate that the two families that hated each other came together and decided to make statues of Romeo and Juliet to commemorate them. The prologue is one example of how fate plays out in Romeo and Juliet along with many other techniques and features.
As there were techniques used to show the idea of fate throughout the script one of them was dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something that the characters have no idea about. Shakespeare uses this technique by leaving audience in suspense and anticipation, this is why Romeo and Juliet is such a good tragedy because it leaves you wondering, what if Romeo and Juliet hadn’t fallen in love? There are many examples of dramatic irony in Romeo and Juliet. One example in the final scene is the special potion Juliet takes to pass out to dodge getting married to Paris as she has already married Romeo. The potion made her look dead so when Romeo came to her tomb he was beside himself and he instantly wanted to kill himself to be with Juliet in heaven. Romeo takes the deadly potion he got from the apothecary thinking Juliet has already died while the audience watches in agony because Juliet is only minutes from waking up. This happened to show that fate had controlled their lives and there is no way to interfere with what is set up for them.
The second example of dramatic irony shown in Romeo and Juliet is when Mercutio and Benvolio thought Romeo was hopelessly in love with Rosaline but really what he does not know is that he has fallen in love with one of the Capulets, Juliet. Mercutio- ” Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead, stabbed with a white wench’s black eye, run through the ear with a love-song, the very pin of his heart clift with the bind bow-boy’s butt shaft” this quote shows us that Mercutio is saying that love has already killed Romeo. This explains that it was the fate for Romeo to meet Juliet at the Capulets party to get over Rosaline as Mercutio told him to go to the Capulet party to meet someone new. Romeo sure got over Rosaline in a hurry because it was the fate of Romeo and Juliet to meet, fall in love, and die together.
Romeo and Juliet are referred to “star-crossed lovers” which means an ill-fated couple so its appropriate for Shakespeare to use celestial metaphors to relate to fate and heaven to show such love and beauty that Romeo and Juliet share. The first metaphor is when Romeo compares Juliet’s eyes to the beauty of the stars, ” Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, having some business, do entreat her eyes, to twinkle in their spheres till they return”. Romeo explains that her eyes twinkle like the brightest stars in heaven. this means any metaphor that compares something to the stars shows their future and the conflict that happened and what is set up for them.
Another example that is seen in Romeo and Juliet is near the Capulets party when Capulet explains to Paris to come along and look at many women including Juliet to make sure he definitely wants to marry Juliet. when Capulet tells Paris he refers the woman to earth-treading stars, ” At my poor house to behold this night, earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light. Such comfort as do lusty men feel”. This quote shows us that capulet compares “earth-treading stars” to the beautiful dancing woman. Shakespeare uses these metaphors in his play to compare many things to stars up in heaven. all these metaphors relate to fate as in the love and beauty Shakespeare uses to show the conflicts of man vs. man and man vs. fate.
In summary, William Shakespeare explores the idea of fate in Romeo and Juliet by using the techniques of plot, prologue, dramatic irony and metaphors. Using old language he explores a story of love and passion, to the point where neither Romeo or Juliet can live without each other. When fate intervenes there is no turning back and they both end up in death together.