Who Is Most to Blame for the Deaths of Romeo and Juliet Essay
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Who was the greatest contributor to the death of Romeo and Juliet? In this essay I will be writing about William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, I will be doing an in-depth analysis as to who I think is most to blame for the sad eventual deaths of Romeo and Juliet, analysing each character in detail. First, let’s start with the general storyline. It is fourteenth century Verona, an Italian city. Two families, the Capulet’s and Montague’s, have been feuding for centuries, the reason for this we never actually find out.
The two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, after an unfortunate sequence of events which I will explain later, both end up dying, but who is to blame for them dying? That is what I am explaining in this essay. Mercutio is a kinsman to the prince and friend of Romeo. He is neither Montague or Capulet but he stays on the side of the Montague because he is Romeo’s friend.
Some of his most famous quotes in the play include; “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man”, and “A plague a’both your houses!
They have made worms’ meat of me. ” Mercutio persuades Romeo at the start of the play to go to the Capulet party, which is where Romeo met Juliet in the first place. I don’t think he can blamed for their deaths in this way as he didn’t even know Juliet existed at that point. Later on in the play, Mercutio and Romeo are hanging out together when Tybalt comes up to them, Tybalt then insults Romeo in an attempt to provoke a fight but Romeo responds calmly and it is Mercutio who then fights with Tybalt, in defence of his friend.
Romeo tries to stop the fight but in the confusion, Tybalt stabs Mercutio and dies shortly afterwards. Mercutio didn’t need to start a fight with Tybalt as he is not a Montague, he didn’t hold a grudge against him. When Mercutio got killed, this fuelled Romeo for revenge as Tybalt had just killed his best friend and walked away from it with his head held high. Romeo went after Tybalt and caught him by surprise, subsequently killing him as well.
When Prince Escalus heard about the two deaths, he couldn’t do anything about Mercutio’s death as the person who had carried it out was now dead, he had been killed by Romeo, who was still alive, he sent Romeo into exile. He banished him to Mantua, which made it near impossible for him to see Juliet again. Mercutio was to blame for this as he had started off an unnecessary fight in the first place and without that happening Romeo wouldn’t have gone after Tybalt as he didn’t want to cause harm to him because at this point, Romeo and Juliet were married but nobody knew.
He couldn’t tell Tybalt that they were married, as a Montague-Capulet marriage was strictly forbidden and morally unacceptable for both the families, but as we saw, Romeo and Juliet couldn’t hide their love for each other and had to be together. The banishment of Romeo made him even more saddened and depressed as he didn’t get to see Juliet. I would say that Mercutio is partly responsible for the eventual tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet, but not the most responsible. The Nurse is a servant to the Capulet household, and has been Juliet’s carer since birth.
In the days when the play was set, it was standard practice for rich families like the Capulet’s to employ a nurse to look after the child full time, from birth, and she is still looking after Juliet now at Juliet’s age of Thirteen. Throughout the play, I think she is the only real person that Juliet can turn to for guidance, her father is intent on her marrying Count Paris, her mother also, not really listening to Juliet’s feelings, just doing what they think is best for the future welfare of their family. Juliet feels closer to the nurse, you can tell this by the language she uses when speaking to them compared to her mother.
She addresses her mother by “Madam”, and the conversations between her and her mother are proper, and formal, whereas when she is talking to the nurse she is a lot easier about telling the nurse about her opinions, and the nurse is the same with her, giving her advice when needed and discussing her feelings with her. She is the only character affiliated with the Capulet’s that knows throughout the play about the relationship Romeo and Juliet are having. Although she is probably Juliet’s closest companion throughout the play, giving her advice, a shoulder to cry on, she is always there.
The morning after Romeo kills Tybalt, Capulet has a violent row with Juliet trying to persuade her to marry Paris which she obviously doesn’t want to because she wants to be with Romeo, but either Capulet or Lady Capulet knows about her and Romeo. Juliet refuses point blank to marry Paris and this outrages her father, leaving him in a violent rage. She asks the nurse for comfort, but the nurse, knowing about her and Romeo, goes against what she wants and agrees that she should marry Paris instead of run away with Romeo.
This leaves Juliet feeling upset and that there now I no one for her to go to, as her only person she could look up to has now gone against her. The nurse leaves her at the most critical time she needed help and this does not do her any good as it makes her more down about Romeo’s exile than ever before. Her mother thinks that she is upset because of her cousin Tybalt being killed by Romeo. If it was ever more wrong for Romeo and Juliet to be together, it was now, as before he was only a Montague, but now he had killed one of their own.
She has to be out of Juliet’s confidence by the time Juliet drinks the potion, since she could probably never have carried off a convincing act the next morning if she had known Juliet wasn’t really dead. The nurse also helps arrange the marriage between Romeo and Juliet with Friar Laurence. She goes to find Romeo, and says, “For the gentlewoman is young and therefore, if you should deal double with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing”, meaning that she makes sure that Romeo knows that he better mean that he wants to marry Juliet, warning him.
She changed her mind after Juliet had the row with her Father as I said before, putting her under more stress and Juliet having suicidal thoughts. I would say that the Nurse has quite a lot of responsibility for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, more so Juliet. He is a nephew to Lord Capulet and a cousin to Juliet. He does not talk many lines, but he influences the entire course of the play even though he has a minor role. Throughout the play, he demonstrates his angry, resentful, and commanding nature.
On the first day, he spots Romeo at the Capulet party and is outraged by this, but his Uncle, Capulet, refuses to let him deal with Romeo, angering him even more, so he sets out on a revenge mission, that is how he eventually dies in the end, because he picks a fight with Romeo when Romeo doesn’t want to, Mercutio steps in, he kills Mercutio, and Romeo then goes on and kills him as I explained earlier on in the essay. You can sense in the play that Tybalt is powered by the hate his family have for the Montague’s. Tybalt would do anything to start a fight with them because of the rivalry.
He is willing to put his life on the line for the honor of his family. When he is killed by Romeo, he could be blamed for digging his own grave, as he had already killed Mercutio which angered Romeo. This drove Romeo mad, which killed Tybalt. This deeply upset Juliet, and to rub salt in the wounds it was Romeo, the one she had fallen in love with, that had killed her cousin. Some of his famous quotes include “Peace? Peace. I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montague’s, and thee,” and “A villain that hath come in spite / to scorn at our solemnity this night! Overall I think he is partly responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, mainly for triggering Romeo to kill him, which also upset Juliet. Capulet, or Lord Capulet, is Juliet’s father and Tybalt’s cousin. Some of his famous quotes include; “get thee to church o’ Thursday, Or never after look me in the face, speak not, reply not, do not answer me; my fingers itch,” and “Hang thee, Young baggage! Disobedient wretch! I tell the what- get thee to church on Thursday Or never look me in the face”.
You can tell straight away from these quotes that he is very insistent that Juliet marry Count Paris as he is connected to the Prince, which could higher the Capulet’s society status and get more money. Also, Juliet is the Capulet’s only child, therefore the only way to carry the family on, so they need to choose her husband wisely. Juliet doesn’t want to marry Paris, as I have talked about earlier in previous scenes, she keeps refusing to marry him until eventually Capulet loses all his temper with her and has a violent outburst, threatening to disown her if she does not marry him.
She cannot marry him because at this point she is obviously already married to Romeo, and Friar Laurence couldn’t marry her again. She doesn’t want to marry Paris because she feels she is too young, and wants to be with Romeo. She doesn’t tell her parents this. Lord Capulet puts her under great pressure to marry count Paris. This may be one of the biggest factors in her eventually taking the sleeping potion, which, after an unfortunate series of events, got her killed.
Juliet obviously felt she had no choice at this point, the nurse had left her, and she couldn’t marry because she was already married, she couldn’t run away with Romeo because he had been exiled. She went to the Friar for help, and he came up with an ingenious plan, which I will explain later. I think Lord Capulet was one of the main people to contribute to the death of Romeo and Juliet. Lady Capulet is Juliet’s mother and it’s clear from the start that she and Juliet have a troubled relationship. This is probably down to the nurse bringing her up her whole life and the nurse being more of a mother to her.
Lady Capulet is also keen on Juliet marrying Paris. The interactions between Lady Capulet and Juliet are strained and distant, unlike the interactions between Juliet and the nurse. Why isn’t she close to her daughter? Why isn’t she supportive when Juliet needs her most? Just when Juliet needs her mother’s support, Lady Capulet coldly ignores her daughter’s pleas to help her avoid marrying Paris. After Capulet storms out, Juliet turns to her mother to soften her father’s punishment. Juliet begs her even to delay the marriage.
Lady Capulet responds, “Talk not to me, for I’ll not say a word / Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee”. There could be a few different things going on here. It seems very likely that Lady Capulet herself had an arranged marriage with Juliet’s father, and it seems she went along with it obediently. When Juliet rebels against the planned marriage with Paris, she is rebelling against her mother’s way of life, and against the kind of marriage that Lady Capulet learned to suffer through. She might see this as an offence and that Juliet isn’t abiding with the way of life therefore should be punished.
Friar Laurence is the one who arranges Romeo and Juliet’s secret marriage, with help from the nurse, and later providing Juliet with a drug which give her the appearance of death, and thus avoid having to marry Paris. Some of his famous quotes include “The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night, Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,” and “These violent delights have violent ends.
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder. Friar Lawrence does not immediately approve of Romeo’s plan to marry Juliet, and asks him “Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear, So soon forsaken? The Friar thought that if the families were publicly known about the marriage of Romeo and Juliet, it might settle the two family’s differences and they could get a lot without any brawls and the feud would stop. He says this by using the line: “For this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your house holds into pure love”. He shouldn’t had really have married Romeo and Juliet in the first place, after all, he knew he was doing wrong because he was doing it in secret. He could be blamed for the deaths or Romeo and Juliet simply because he let the marriage happen in the first place.
He also provided the sleeping pill for Juliet to “play dead” in his ingenious plan for Juliet’s family to think she is dead, have her funeral and bury her in the Capulet’s resting chamber, where she would wake up and Romeo would be notified by post. However, the letter never got to him, as the messenger couldn’t deliver it because of the plague in the city at the time. This led Romeo to think like everybody else was that his dear Juliet was actually dead. The Friar could be blamed for this being too risky without telling it to Romeo before he gave Juliet the potion.
Post isn’t always the best way of telling somebody something that is urgent, as we found out. Although Friar Laurence’s plan looked good, it was poorly thought out, this led to Romeo poisoning himself with Juliet when he was by Juliet’s “dead” body. I think if Friar Laurence had refused to marry them like he should have, none of this would have happened, and his badly thought out plans just made the situation worse. Therefore, I am putting most of the blame on him for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The Apothecary was the person that sold the poison to Romeo.
The only argument you could have that it was the Apothecary’s fault is that he shouldn’t have sold Romeo the poison to kill himself . It takes a bit of persuading from Romeo and let him sell it, but really all these people are interested in is making money, and that’s exactly what he did. Romeo eventually killed himself with that potion he bought from the Apothecary, but he couldn’t be blamed as he didn’t know what it was for, the society status of Romeo. He cannot be blamed. Many people who have seen or read this play will not blame anyone at all, but blame the deaths of Romeo and Juliet on fate.
Fate comes into play at least once in the play and has an effect on the whole outcome of the play. When Friar Laurence is trying to deliver the letter to Romeo explaining of his plan for him and Juliet to run away safely, the letter does not reach him as there is a plague in the city. Romeo therefore thinks that Juliet is actually dead as he is told by his kinsmen Balthasar. The letter would contain the information to tell Romeo that Juliet isn’t really dead and it is all part of the Friar’s cunning plan.
This is the main time when fate comes into play which affects greatly the eventual deaths, as this went on to Romeo committing suicide. I think that the opening Prologue suggests that fate will have a large role in the play as, according to the Chorus, Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed” (as if stars control their destinies) and their love is “mark’d” by “death. ” The Chorus also suggests that Romeo and Juliet were destined for tragedy the moment they sprang from their parents’ “fatal loins”, in other words, they were doomed from birth.
We are led to believe that Romeo and Juliet don’t have a chance of surviving. All in all, I think that Friar Laurence is most to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. He could have stopped it there and then, but chose not to. There are other people to blame as well, like Lord Capulet for putting Juliet under unnecessary pressure and probably making her very stressed, or it could all boil down to Mercutio taking Romeo to the Capulet ball in the first place. But overall I think Friar Laurence is most to blame.