Robert F. Kennedy said, “Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” This quote tells us that we should all gain wisdom from past experiences, so it can be prevented for the future. Tragedy is defined as events that caused great suffering. Romeo and Juliet teaches us many life lessons that society should learn from. Shakespeare believed that the play was a battle between the star-crossed lovers and fate, but all the events were not destined to happen.
Both characters were so flawed in different ways. Romeo fell in love too quickly and too deeply which influenced his head to listen to his heart. Juliet’s flaw was her loyalty to Romeo, willing to sacrifice herself for love. What makes Romeo and Juliet a tragedy is not the suicide of both characters in the end, but more of how the ending could have been prevented in many different ways.
The love between Romeo and Juliet was so intense and passionate which made the suicide of both characters so tragic.
The moral behind the play is to not make decisions based on passion, but to be patient. “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast” (Act 2). The meaning of the phrase plays an important role throughout the entitle story. The actions made by characters that were influenced by love or hatred often had bitter consequences.
Romeo, still in love with Rosaline the night before, married Juliet the day after they had met, despite them both knowing how the marriage would tear apart their colliding households.
The death of Tybalt was done by compulsion which led to Romeo’s banishment from Verona. Romeo “must” kill himself because he believed that Juliet was dead, instead of going to his confidant: Laurence. This results in both of their deaths. All the major plot points are all hinged by passion, but in the end the results are tragic.
The term “star crossed lovers” is used to define Romeo and Juliet because they were lovers who are threatened by outside forces. The “ancient grudge” between the Montagues and the Capulets was powerful enough to tear the two lovers apart. Seeing the hatred between the two households and the inability to communicate, Romeo and Juliet turned to another person as a “parent figure”. Romeo talked to Friar Laurence and Juliet confided in the nurse.
Both parents in the households wanted what was best for their children, though it was not the children’s best interest. Juliet was forced to marry Paris, otherwise she would be disowned by Lord Capulet. They wanted Paris to marry her despite the age difference is because he is equally as wealthy as the Capulets and will treat Juliet very well. By making decisions for their children, the Capulets and the Montagues completely disregarded the people around them and their feelings. The lack of understanding and compassion seemed to have heavily influenced the suicide of Romeo and Juliet.
The role of minor characters such as the Nurse and Friar Laurence played a major role in why Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy. Both characters differentiate in personality and behavior. Juliet considered the nurse to be her parental figure due to the disregard and ignorance that she receives back home. Friar Laurence kept urging Romeo to take caution of their reckless love. In the end, Friar Laurence did end up marrying Romeo and Juliet despite knowing about how the marriage will further tear up the two families. He did have good intentions but it was the lack of thought that got the best of him. The role of the nurse intensifies the tragedies of the play. She kept the entire relationship a secret from the Capulets because she loved Juliet like a daughter and wanted what was best for her.
At first, the Nurse’s negative reaction soon turned into a positive one after seeing that Romeo was good for Juliet. She went great measures to be involved in the relationship. All this changed when Lady Capulet forced Juliet to marry Paris. “Best you marry the County, O, he’s a lovely gentleman” (Act 3). She continued on by insulting Romeo and insisting that Juliet to marry Paris. This act of betrayal is tremendous because Romeo and Juliet lost a friend who could have helped them when they needed it the most: escape from Verona. At the end of the play, readers and audience members could feel the tension and understood how the two were ill-fated lovers. All odds were against Romeo and Juliet.
Going back to the quote said by Robert F. Kennedy, what can we learn from Romeo and Juliet? The deep passion of love Romeo and Juliet had for each other could be felt through the entire play by the audience members. Classifying Romeo and Juliet as a tragedy is due to how all of the deaths and ultimately the ending could have been prevented, but was not. To think before your actions, having a supportive family, and not betraying your loved ones are morals that are taught by Shakespeare through the play. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet was not only through the faults of Romeo and Juliet, but through the choices made by other characters.