Who Is To Blame For Romeo and Juliet's Death

The question “Who is to blame for Romeo and Juliet’s death” in the Shakespearean tragedy, is subjective with several possible answers, depending on one’s interpretation of the play. Characters including Friar Lawrence, their parents and the Nurse are to blame for such a tragic ending. Each one, in their own ways, contributed to the existent secrecy and rivalry between the families, leading to the outrageous suicides. Within the blame also firmly stands the love withhold between both Romeo and Juliet.

‘Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny’.The reference above has been taken from the prologue, which sets the backdrop for the tragedy of the two main protagonists of the play, who died from mutual suicide in the play’s finale. The adequate choice of wording accentuates their power in comparison to other Italian families within the City.

Friar Lawrence advanced with the wedding of the two young lovers Romeo and Juliet to break and end the feud between the popular Montague and Capulet families.

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However, it didn’t come out as planned, the wedding was secretly made and their marriage was never publicly discussed, therefore, his planning fell apart. The Friar believed his approach. Friar Lawrence, trying to protect Juliet and avoiding her marriage with Paris provides her with potion made from a flower and said that it has, “poison hath residence and Medicine power”. This shows how the Friar is not completely focused in the lovers lives as he is risking hers in a potion to maintain the secret.

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He doesn’t realize how her death could affect the feud and revive the hatred.

Friar Lawrence gave Friar John the most important message to deliver without any assurance of the delivery nor stating how important the letter was. Moreover, the appointed person by the Friar was someone who couldn’t be trusted to take something of such high importance. This event also gave rise to the buying of such harmful potion by the young lover Romeo. Also, reinforcing how the friars’ bad planning and choices lead to the unexpected ending.

“I hear some noise, lady. Come from that nest

Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep.

A greater power than we can contradict

Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away!

Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead –

And Paris too. Come…

Come, go, good Juliet! – I dare no longer stay.”

In this previous statement, we can observe the priest’s coward attitude since he didn’t intervene as much as he should have whilst being aware of the situation and deciding not to act, his non-intervention is definitely another accusation used against him.The only character fully aware of the situations apart from Romeo and Juliet decided not to assume his responsibilities of taking part in such occurrence and left the female lover alone beside her lifeless husband with the desire to meet him in the afterworld.

The most evident proof of their deaths was that their love was converted into their greatest poison. In this tragic tale, two fated lovers risk everything, even life itself, to be with one another. They go against family, friends, and fate to be together. Romeo and Juliet’s meeting contrasts the planned and “by the book” way in which he described his love for Rosaline. Romeo sees Juliet for the first time at the Capulets’ ball, he has to convey his feelings with an expression of sheer wonder at Juliet’s beauty. “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!” This quote not only creates the impression of light, but also of heat. It could also suggest that Juliet poses some kind of danger, foreshadowing the difficulties, and the risks they will have to overcome. Their love is unexpected and completely out of script, their love was never possibly foreshadowed and that was what made it is so pure. There is great usage of foreshadowing throughout the novel such as: “these violent delights have violent ends, and in their triumph, die, like fire and powder, which as they kiss, consume.” As the story continues these words prove prophetic. This comment can help the foreshadowing of the novel. The transitive verb, consume, allows the reader to infer and understand how their love will be wastefully spent throughout the whole play.

Furthermore, the families’ feud and rivalry made it preposterous for there to be a happy ending. The Montague-Capulet feud is responsible for the deaths of the young lovers as it impeded their love for each other, they chose death over being forced apart. Without the hatred, they would likely have no barrier to being together. The animosity between the families contributes to Romeo and Juliet’s becoming “star-crossed” lovers, doomed from the beginning. Even the light/dark imagery employed by Shakespeare in the novel conveys this idea. During the daytime the young lovers are not safe together, only in the darkness they can love.If there was no existing feud between the families many tragic events could have been avoided, such as: their secret marriage, Mercutio’s death, Tybalt’s death, Romeo being banished from Verona and lastly but most importantly both, Romeo and Juliet’s deaths. Some quotes which can support these statements include: “A plague o’ both your houses! They have made worms’ meat of me: I have it, And soundly too: your houses!”, used by Mercutio when falling to his death after being stabbed by Tybalt, “But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine, That you shall all repent the loss of mine. I will be deaf to pleading and excuses. Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses. Therefore, use none. Let Romeo hence in haste, Else, when he’s found, that hour is his last. Bear hence his body and attend our will. Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.” This quote was removed from the Prince’s speech after he was informed of both Mercutios and Tybalt’s death. The ‘ancient grudge’ these families held was eventually ceased, as a result of their forfeit. We sympathize towards the couple, by virtue of the adjective ‘piteous’, since together with the word ‘overthrows’, demonstrates how their attempts to overcome this feud were unsuccessful. Shakespeare is using the pathos technique to generate this feeling. The Montagues and Capulets, had finally recognized hoe their egoist actions and dignity led to this misconduct, but now not even their union would bring the two lovers back.

To Shakespeare’s audience destiny and fate were both accepted concepts, unlike today. Nowadays we don’t like to think nor believe that we are not in control of our lives. What causes people to believe in fate? Fate is like a powerful force that cannot be controlled by anyone. Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers were victims of fate or destiny. They saw each other and fell in love immediately, despite their families’ enmity.Juliet’s most mother like figure involuntarily contributed to their deaths, the nurse is partly to blame for the deaths because she helps Juliet deceive her parents and enables her to see Romeo.

As expressed, the blame for Romeo and Juliet’s death can’t be attributed to a single character in this play, for several reasons every amateur can be blamed for such tragic ending. The lovers, breaking the ‘law’ in Verona, and contrasting the ‘by the book’ way in which the story had to proceed are the ones mostly responsible for such. Perfectly aware of the unending feud their families sustained, they insisted in out breaking the partial serenity, that the Prince, had maintained. However, if this rivalry hadn’t been preserved, if society hadn’t reacted as the ‘rules’ implied, if Romeo avoided the ball, if they hadn’t met and if destiny hadn’t ‘condemned’ their path, nothing would have ever unrolled the way it did. But, these if’s are unchangeable and that is why this blame spreads through all minds present and why it is such a debated and controversial issue.

Updated: Feb 24, 2024
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Who Is To Blame For Romeo and Juliet's Death. (2024, Feb 24). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/who-is-to-blame-for-romeo-and-juliets-death-essay

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