“A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;” From the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, the audience is aware that the couple will face extreme troubles and will die in a double suicide but as the story goes on the plot takes major turns that change your previous opinion of death and fate. Whether it be the way Shakespeare uses Metaphors, coincides or foreshadowing he is able to make you think twice about every event that happens.

By using metaphors Shakespeare keeps the audience hooked because he is able to express the thoughts going on in the characters minds and also making it easier to hear and watch. Shakespeare used a metaphor in Act 1, Scene 4 when Romeo referred to himself as a boat “But He who hath the steerage of my course Direct my sail!” With this sentence Shakespeare uses a boat to represent Romeo’s life, saying God is directing the boat and has the voyage planned out.The only time “He” is written with a capital ”h” is if it’s the first word of a sentence or when the author is referring to God. This is how I know Shakespeare is talking about God in the sentence by Romeo.Through the statement, Romeo makes it clear to the audience that he believes in his fate being controlled by God.

Shakespeare also communicates the meaning of fate with coincidence. An example of this is when Mr. Capulet gave Peter, one of the servants, a list of people to invite to a party the Capulets are hosting. Peter accepted the list even though he can not read. He went out to the street with the need to find someone who can help him read the names. accidentally he ran into Romeo and Benvolio who are from the opposing house, Montague. When Romeo told Peter the names, Peter asked if Romeo and Benvolio would come to the party, as long as they are not from the Montague house. “…if you be not from the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup of wine.” Even though the two were from Montague they still decided to go.

Towards the end of the party, Romeo met Juliet, in the time of the play the audience would have viewed this as fate, strongly supported by their Christian beliefs. Romeo would have believed that God had chosen that night for the two of them to meet. Because of Romeo coming to a party held by the rival house, Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin starts an argument with Romeo but gets shut down by Mr. Capulet who is aware of the princes warning, if there is another fight between the houses he will kill the heads of each house. Tybalt says that Romeos presents were not a good idea and he is not finished with the situation, “I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.”

In act three, scene one Romeo and Tybalt get into a fight, which ends with the death of Romeos friend Mercutio and Tubalt. The Prince banishes Romeo from Verona, the city where the play is set. When Juliet’s nurse informs Juliet about her cousin’s death, first Juliet is very angry at Romeo but as Nurse starts to talk badly of Romeo too, Juliet starts to defend him. Nurse is shocked with her change of mind but later realizes Juliet’s point. Seeing that Juliet is very upset because she can not spend the night with Romeo who she married the same day of his banishment, Nurse talks to Friar Laurence, the priest who married Romeo and Juliet and organizes for Romeo to sneak up to Juliet’s bedroom for the night, then escape early in the morning. Romeo and Juliet spend the night together and in the morning are disturbed by Nurse who warns them that Lady Capulet is coming to see Juliet. Romeo hurries out onto the balcony, kisses Juliet and jumps to the ground. Juliet is startled by a premonition of Romeo lying in his death-bed quoting “…Methinks I see thee now, though art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb.” This premonition then becomes true later in the play, when she wakes up to see Romeo dead beside her.

Lady Capulet tells’s Juliet that she is marrying Paris, a man her father has chosen for her. Juliet has not informed her parents on Romeo and herself’s marriage and is not planning on it. She is very upset so turns to her nurse asking for advice, only if it is positive. Nurse thinks on the spot and tells Juliet that she should just marry Paris. Juliet still insists on not marrying Paris and states that she could just kill herself. “If all else fail, have power to die.” But does Juliet have free will and the power to take her own life when she likes or is it all planned out?

When Romeo first asks Friar Lawrence about marrying himself to Juliet, Friar warns Romeo of a bad ending, possibly death, when he says “These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,…” The way Friar Lawrence says this is called foreshadowing, Shakespeare uses this technique in Romeo and Juliet a few times. This gives the audience something to hear but not take much notice of until it comes true. Another example of when foreshadowing was a big factor in the play was when Romeo stood outside the Capulet party, worried about going in. Romeo tells his friends about a dream he had. Mercutio pokes fun at him making by making a Queen Mab speech. Romeo shuts him down then states “I fear, too early: for my mind misgives Some consequence yet hanging in the stars Shall bitterly begin his fearful date With this night’s revels and expire the term Of a despised life closed in my breast By some vile forfeit of untimely death. But He, that hath the steerage of my course, Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen” The statement refers to Romeo fearing an untimely death when he says ”I fear…a consequence yet hanging in the stars.” This foreshadow continues to unfold throughout the rest of the play, including the fateful events that happen next.

Throughout the play, Shakespeare references the stars very often whether he is talking about the sky, beauty or the bold meaning of death, “…Hanging in the Stars…” and “…untimely death…” bring the whole plot of the play, back to the prolog where it states the couple will end up dead. Ignoring his dream Romeo still enters the party. this could have been because he thought of it in Mercutio’s point of view or it was his fate to go in and lead him to find Juliet, ending his own life shortly after.

Fate is a very large idea in Romeo and Juliet, the way Shakespeare uses fate in the play makes you question everything that happens. In Romeo and Juliet, there is a heavy plot line, and you have to read between the lines for the play to make sense. You are forced to take sides at times but then merge your opinion with the idea of fate and then question everything that has happened. From the start, you are aware of the ending and have to think in the way the ‘star-crossed lovers” thought. As you reach the ending of the play you find yourself understanding their choice’s that were made and the meaning of fate becomes more sinister than you would have previously thought.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. You’ve relayed a lot of plot information about the play, which is not incorrect, but the balance is not there. What I’d encourage you to develop more is the analysis of the quotes you have chosen. They’re excellent careful selections and they all illustrate something about Shakespeare’s idea of fate. It’s important that you point this out to your readers and explain those connections to fate. This is far more important than relaying the plot events that surround these quotes.


  2. Reading: 6P
    Writing 6B


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