In the play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare, two only children from feuding families, fall desperately in love, and after a cruel sequence of events, take their own lives. There is no single cause for the tragic loss of teenagers Romeo and Juliet, but the haste displayed by some of the characters sets some immense things in motion. These cannot be undone, and so play a part in the devastating suicides of Romeo and Juliet.
Early in the play, Romeo is quite desperately in love with Rosaline, a member of the Verona community. But at first sight of Capulet’s, only daughter, Juliet, Rosaline is immediately cast out of the picture and quickly proclaims his love for Juliet. He tells the Friar “I have forgot that name and that name’s woe” (A2S3L44). Romeo is then again hasty as he asks for Juliet’s hand in marriage, the very day after they first meet. He begs Friar to wed them that day “But this I pray, That thou consent to marry us today” (A2S3L61-62). Romeo is extremely hasty to marry Juliet because he has never before had anyone return his affections, and if they get married quickly there is less chance of anyone ruining their plans. Even against the cautious warning of the Friar “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast” (A2S3L94). Had Romeo not so quickly fallen in love, and waited to wed Juliet, and not set the basis of this tragic play, they may still have lived.
Capulet, Juliet’s father, too show hastiness in this play. When he proposes his daughter to wed County Paris. The wedding is originally set to Thursday, after being proposed on the Tuesday. However after refusing to wed Paris, and soon afterward devising a plan, Juliet, to be seen once more as the perfect and dutiful daughter, agrees to marry Paris. Juliet’s father is so joyous that he brings forward the wedding to Wednesday, the very next day “I’ll have this knot knit up tomorrow morning” (A4S2L22). To avoid suspicion, Juliet continues to play the perfect daughter role, she asks her nurse “… To help me sort such needful ornaments As you think fit to furnish me tomorrow…” (A4S3L32-33) to make it seem like she is happy to wed Paris. If the wedding had not been brought forward, there may have been more time to inform Romeo of the plan, and their love, and lives, may have been saved.
The play concludes with both teenagers taking their lives because they cannot stand to be without each other. This is done rather hastily, “Here’s to my love! O true apothecary! The drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.” (A5S4L119-120), Romeo takes his life because his fair Juliet appears to be dead, if he had not acted so rashly and with such haste he would have been alive long enough for the Friar to find him and explain to him what was going on, or long enough to see Juliet wake and would then not have needed to kill himself. Juliet also takes her life with much haste, after she wakes finding her dear Romeo dead, she kisses him, hoping there is yet still poison on his lips, “I will kiss thy lips.
Haply some poison yet doth hang on them to make me die with a restorative.” (A5S3L169-171), She resorts to suicide before considering that she could live a life without Romeo. When she realizes there is not enough poison on Romeo’s lips to kill her, she takes a dagger and with no recess stabs herself. “O happy dagger! This is thy sheath, there rust, and let me die.” (A5S3L174-175). Had Romeo not acted with such rapidity he would have lived, and so would have Juliet.
Haste, and the consequences of its action, is more responsible for the tragic suicides of the teenagers than any other element of the play. Both teenagers die, whether by their own haste, or by that created by other characters.