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Who Killed Romeo and Juliet?

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Who Killed Romeo and Juliet?. Fate. Definition: Events that are outside of a person’s control, usually determined by supernatural powers.

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  • Definition: Events that are outside of a person’s control, usually determined by supernatural powers.

Arguing that “fate” led to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet means that they did not die because of any character flaws or weaknesses. Instead, the tragedy was unavoidable and bound to happen from the start.

how is fate responsible for the deaths of romeo and juliet
How is fate responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
  • The Prologue emphasizes the role of fate in their deaths, as Shakespeare claims that the lovers are “star-cross’d.”
  • Fate determined that Romeo is born a Montague, and Juliet is born a Capulet. They were born into their families that have been feuding for generations.
  • Before attending the Capulet ball, Romeo believes that “Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars, / Shall bitterly begin his fearful date / With this night’s revels” (1.iv.107-109). This foreshadows that Romeo knows already that something bad will happen, but he has no control over it. It suggests that the lovers were fated to meet on this night.
  • Fear of the plague prevents Friar Laurence’s letters from passing through Mantua and reaching Romeo. Friar Laurence declares that he is the victim of “Unhappy Fortune” (V.ii.17) because all of his plans have gone wrong due to circumstances outside of his control.
how is friar laurence responsible for the deaths of romeo and juliet
How is Friar Laurence responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
  • Friar Laurence is the only one who knows the full story about Romeo and Juliet. He therefore had the best chance to prevent the tragedy from happening, but he keeps secrets from the community.
  • Friar Laurence is the one who married the lovers without their parents’ knowledge in hopes that it would end the feud, which then led to Juliet’s parents thinking that she could marry Paris.
  • This marriage then led Friar Laurence to give Juliet a potion to fake her death. He deceived everyone around her so that nobody knew she was alive except for him, which led Romeo to think she was really dead later.
  • He left Friar John to deliver his letter to Romeo instead of taking it himself. He therefore did not find out that Romeo hadn’t received his letter until it was too late.
  • Friar Laurence ran away and left Juliet alone in the tomb when he heard people coming. His cowardice allowed Juliet to commit suicide because he put himself first.
how is lord capulet responsible for the deaths of romeo and juliet
How is Lord Capulet responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
  • If he weren’t so caught up in the feud, Juliet would have been able to tell him that she was in love with Romeo from the beginning.
  • He allows Romeo to stay at the Capulet Ball even though Tybalt had spotted him. If he had asked Romeo to leave, Juliet might not have even laid eyes on him, and none of this would have happened.
  • He believes that marriage to Paris would ease Juliet’s grief, but he did not ask her before going ahead with this idea. He assumes he knows Juliet more than he really does, but neither he nor Lady Capulet were involved in raising their daughter.
  • He overreacts when Juliet refuses to marry Paris, threatening to beat her and disown her if she refuses to do as he tells her. In turn, this leads Juliet to overreact as well.
how is prince escalus responsible for the deaths of romeo and juliet
How is Prince Escalus responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
  • The Prince states in the opening scene that “If ever you disturb our streets again / Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace” (I.i.94-95). If he hadn’t made this law, he wouldn’t have had to banish Romeo. He had to punish him in order to stick to his word.
  • The Prince wouldn’t have had to put this law in place if he had done a better job of stopping the feud from getting out of hand before.
  • If the Prince had chosen a different punishment for Romeo rather than banishing him, Juliet would not feel so sad, her parents wouldn’t have made her marry Paris, and she wouldn’t have had to fake her death that ultimately leads to their suicides.
what is romeo s role in their deaths
What is Romeo’s role in their deaths?
  • He attended the Capulet ball for his own purposes (seeing Rosaline), ignoring the possible consequences, his bad dream, and his fears that something bad was going to happen.
  • He acts without thinking and is impulsive, falling in and out of love quickly and making marriage plans on the spot.
  • He continued seeing Juliet even after he realized that she was a Capulet.
  • He steps between Mercutio and Tybalt when they are fighting, leading to Mercutio’s death, which eventually leads to his banishment. He assumes that they will not fight just because he is married to Juliet, even though nobody else knows this.
  • He buys poison and commits suicide upon hearing that Juliet is dead, which then leads to Juliet’s suicide.
what is juliet s role in their deaths
What is Juliet’s role in their deaths?
  • She continued seeing Romeo even after she realized that he was a Montague.
  • She is also impatient and decides to marry Romeo without thinking it over or considering the consequences.
  • She does not tell her parents that she is already married when they insist that she marry Paris.
  • She fails to involve the nurse in her “fake death” plan, which could have provided her with further help and prevented Romeo from believing Juliet to be truly dead.
  • She refuses to go with Friar Laurence when he tries to get her to leave the tomb.
how is the nurse responsible for the deaths of romeo and juliet
How is the Nurse responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
  • Similar to Friar Laurence, she was involved in the marriage plans and should have been the responsible one. She too kept secrets that were ultimately damaging.
  • The nurse could have explained to the Capulets why Juliet did not want to marry Paris, but she kept her knowledge of Romeo to herself. She could have explained the situation to them, and though Juliet would likely have been thrown out, she could have at least gone to Romeo.
  • She should not have told Juliet "I think it best you married with the County. / O, he’s a lovely gentleman! / Romeo’s a dishclout to him" (III.v.219-221). This betrayal made Juliet feel as though she was all alone and had no one to turn to, which led her secretly faking her death. Juliet was suddenly without her closest friend when she needed her most.
what else is to blame
What else is to blame?
  • All timing?
    • Romeo kills himself just before Juliet wakes up, and the potion only wears off after Romeo is already dead.
  • Pure chance? (no one’s fault?)
  • Shakespeare (technically)!!