In the early stages of Romeo and Juliet, the Montague parents send Benvolio to discern the cause of Romeo’s melancholy. They intervene in his relationship, but in this case it has no long-lasting effects. During Romeo’s relationship with Juliet, adults again intervene; sadly, though, in this case the effects are deeply felt and much more pernicious. Adult figures deter Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. The authoritative adults make decisions for Romeo and Juliet that contradict the interests of the lovers; their constant intervention continually pulls Romeo and Juliet apart.
For instance, the Prince declares: “Immediately we do exile him hence. I have an interest in your hate’s proceeding” (3.1.186-187).
The prince’s interest is to break up the malicious hatred of the Montagues and Capulets for the good of his kingdom, understandably so. Yet, in another sense, by dictating “hate’s proceeding,” the Prince drives the wedge of family hatred between Romeo and Juliet.
His mandate of Romeo’s exile physically separates Romeo and Juliet. Additionally, the Capulet parents arrange a marriage for Juliet. This blatantly opposes the intention of a happy marriage between Romeo and Juliet.
More importantly, this arranged marriage drives Juliet to thoughts of suicide; Juliet laments to her mother, “Delay this marriage for a month, a week, Or if you do not, make the bridal bed In that dim monument where Tybalt lies” (3.5.201-203). As death is the final factor that separates Romeo and Juliet and the arranged marriage is the stimulus for suicide contemplation, the Capulets’ decree of Juliet’s future marriage indirectly leads to the final separation of the lovers.
Apart from the adults’ decisions, even the perception of adult opposition harms Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. During their first night, Romeo says to Juliet that “Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me,” to which she responds that “If they see thee, they will murder thee” (2.2.69-70). Even though the adults don’t know about the relationship, Juliet is confident of their serious opposition. This perceived opposition necessitates the destructive secrecy that shrouds Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. For instance, I have already elaborated on the caustic effects of the arranged marriage. Juliet hides her marriage to Romeo because of her idea that they will disapprove, and thus, she is cornered into a marriage proposal to detrimental effects.
Additionally, preceding the fight with Tybalt, Romeo attempts to placate him with “I see thou knowest me not… I do protest I never injured thee, but love thee better than thou canst devise till thou shalt know the reason of my love” (3.1.63-69). Romeo withholds his attachment to Juliet because of the perceived opposition to such a match. Yet, because Tybalt “knowest [Romeo] not” nor knows “the reason of [his] love,” the conflict still escalades into a lethal brawl. Had Tybalt known, he could have been infuriated but perhaps bound to honor his cousin’s legal husband. Therefore, it is the secrecy of the relationship that indirectly causes the fight with Tybalt, one of the divisive conflicts that pull Romeo and Juliet apart.