Romeo and Juliet: The Themes of Fate Tangled in the Story
Many people argue over how the “star crossed’ lovers” had died, several people believe they brought it upon themselves but others say it was their destiny. What does the word “destiny” mean exactly? The textbook definition of destiny is; “the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future.” Although Romeo and Juliet both made most of their own decisions, their story was controlled by fate rather than free will. Romeo and Juliet’s love was bound to happen and no one could have changed that, their own family feud could not even falter their idea to get married and to start a life together.
When the servant asked Romeo to read the invitation, it lead to Romeo and Juliet meeting each other. The servant had stumbled into Romeo and Benvolio unintentionally, not the word ‘unintentionally’. Romeo and Benvolio were in the right place at the right time, “But I am sent to find those persons whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned in good time!” (I,2,40) The servant had been looking for anyone who could help him out, and Romeo happened to be there. Romeo had no part in choosing if the servant should come to ask him for help or not, he did not even know who the servant was until he was asked for help. The servant then had asked Romeo to read a list of guests that were invited to the Capulet feast. “God gi’ god-den. I pray, sir, can you read?” (I,2,57) He asked them for help since he is illiterate, he then invited them to the feast as a sign of gratitude. Had Romeo and the servant never encountered on the street by luck, Romeo would have never met Juliet and on top of that never had met his tragic demise.
Although Romeo attending the Capulet feast proves that their story was lead by fate, the father-daughter dynamic between Juliet and Lord Capulet furthermore supports the proposition that their death was destined from the very beginning. Juliet’s father-daughter relationship was restrictive in every way, this was accustomed in the middle ages. Lord Capulet had planned for Juliet to marry Paris without her consent, “Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender of my child’s love. I think she will be ruled in all respects by me.” (III,4,13-15) She then respectfully declines claiming that she is “still mourning Tybalt’s death.” She does this since she’s hopelessly in love with Romeo not because she’s mourning her cousins death. Lord Capulet of course has no knowledge of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship, or their infatuation with each other. When Juliet declines to marry Paris, Lord Capulet rants about how she’s an ungrateful and spoiled child and that if she does not marry Paris and do as he says she will no longer stay under his roof. Juliet had no choice but to obey her father wishes, it was not her free will to marry Paris. Since their relationship is restrictive Juliet could not make her own decisions, they were already made for her against her free will. Her father’s words were final and she could not do anything to change that, this added more things for her to worry about. Albeit Juliet’s daughter-father relationship was not Romeo and Juliet’s fault, the misunderstandings that had occurred at the ending of the story were also out of their hands.
The letter that was being sent to Romeo explaining what Juliet and Friar Lawrence were up to was cancelled because of a disease called the “Bubonic Plague” that was spreading all throughout the eastern hemisphere, this was obviously out of Romeo and Juliet’s control. “I could not send it-here it is again-nor get a messenger to bring it to thee, so fearful were they of infection” (V,2,14-16). This stopped the letter that was supposed to inform Romeo that Juliet was going to fake her death as an escape plan. Romeo had no way in stopping this from happening, it was in no way his fault. Another misunderstanding that lead to Romeo and Juliet’s inevitable death was Balthasar’s misleading message about Juliet, “Her body sleeps in Capel’s monument, and her immortal part with angels lives.” (V,1,19-20) Without context this message had made it seem that Juliet was truly dead, not that she was faking. One more misunderstanding that had occurred was Romeo seeing Juliet pretending to be dead, without receiving a letter it was only logical for him to actually believe that his wife was dead. “O my love, my wife, death that hath sucked the honey of thy breath.” (V,3,92) All these unfortunate misunderstandings were not chosen by Romeo and Juliet themselves, they played no part in these mishaps and they were not at all based on both of their free wills.
To sum it all up, Romeo and Juliet’s choices weren’t at all based on their own free will since it always came down to one crazy alternative, like drinking a vile and faking your own death. Romeo and Juliet did not deliberately choose to meet, Juliet never agreed to marry Paris and Romeo never received the letter containing all the important information regarding Juliet and Friar Lawrence’s plan, fate had controlled all aspects of these circumstances not Romeo and Juliet’s free will. “Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.” ― Lemony Snicket Destiny had brought them together and destiny took them apart, their death all came down to fate not free will. “For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” (V,3,310)
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