Romeo and Juliet Essay
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet depicts the story of two star-crossed lovers from feuding families who, after a series of fateful events, choose to take their own lives rather than live without each other. The tragic outcome of Romeo and Juliet can be blamed on Friar Laurence, the family feud and the impulsive actions of Romeo and Juliet. Friar Laurence makes several irresponsible decisions throughout the play such as his unwise plan to reunite the lovers.
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The family feud forces Romeo and Juliet to marry under secrecy and the decisions they make in order to hide their love lead to their tragic deaths. The rash decisions made by Romeo and Juliet also contribute to the ill-fated outcome of the story. The tragic outcome of Romeo and Juliet can partly be blamed on Friar Laurence and the irresponsible choices and actions he makes. When Juliet is overcome with grief at Romeo’s banishment, Friar Laurence should act as a reliable and responsible adult, providing her with good advice.
Instead he gives Juliet the extreme option of faking death, telling her that ‘it is likely thou wilt undertake a thing like death to chide away this shame’ (A4 S1 L73-74). He considers her situation shameful and convinces her that to take the poison is a suitable option. This action leads on to the deaths of both Romeo and Juliet. Friar Laurence also makes the poor choice of leaving the letter for Romeo in the hands of his unreliable friend, even though he knows that ‘the letter was… full of charge… nd the neglecting it may do much danger’ (A5 S2 L18-20). Romeo, as a result of not receiving the letter, is led to believe that Juliet is dead, thus leaving him determined to take his own life too. The Friar does not act responsibly and does not take enough care in ensuring the letter reaches Romeo. These ill-considered actions made by Friar Laurence can be attributed to, and blamed for the calamitous result of the play. The family feud forces Romeo and Juliet to make decisions that lead to their death and the tragic outcome of the play.
Juliet exclaims that ‘’Tis but thy name that is my enemy. ’ (A2 S2 L38), meaning that it is only because the two lovers come from the feuding families that they cannot live happily together. If the two families were not in disgrace with each other, Romeo and Juliet would not take such extreme actions to be with each other, actions which ultimately attribute to their deaths. Not until after the tragic ending has occurred do the two families realise that Romeo and Juliet are ‘poor sacrifices of our [the Capulet’s and Montague’s] enmity’ (A5 S3 L304).
Their constant bickering and hatred of each other is one of the factors that drive the lovers to their death. This is seen when Friar Laurence exclaims that such ‘a scourge is laid upon your [the families’] hate, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love’ (A5 S3 L292-293). The Friar is saying that heaven chooses to punish the families for their hatred by taking away their joys; Romeo and Juliet. The tragic outcome of Romeo and Juliet can in part be blamed on the feud between the families and its consequences.
Romeo and Juliet’s impulsive actions contribute to the unfortunate ending of the play. One of the first times Romeo’s impulsivity is evident is during the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt. He is quick to tell the pair to stop fighting, acting with ‘respective lenity’ (A3 S1 L112), however after Mercutio is killed he carelessly takes on a ‘fire-eyed fury’ (A3 S1 L113), taking no consideration of the Prince’s previous threat. As a result of this rash action Romeo is banished from Verona. Romeo’s impulsiveness is also seen when, despite Balthazar’s warning that his ‘looks… mport some misadventure’ (A5 S1 L28), he abruptly decides that life is not worth living without Juliet and that he will take his own life to be with her. Juliet acts impulsively when she is discussing her grief over Romeo’s banishment with the Friar. She exclaims that she would eagerly ‘leap, rather than marry Paris, From off the battlements of any tower’ (A4 S1 L78). This shows that she is not thinking carefully about the situation and as a result convinces herself that death would be better than marrying someone other than Romeo.
All of these impulsive actions eventually lead to Romeo and Juliet’s tragic deaths, which could have been avoided if they had taken more time and thought more carefully about their choices. Friar Laurence can be blamed for the tragic outcome of Romeo and Juliet because of the misleading advice he gives Juliet when she is desperate for a solution to her difficult situation and his irresponsible handling of the important letter which never reaches Romeo.
The family feud forces Romeo and Juliet to make decisions which ultimately lead to their death, which is seen as heaven’s punishment for their parents’ hated and anger towards each other. Romeo and Juliet’s impulsive actions, including Romeo’s decision to fight Tybalt and Juliet’s eagerness to die if she cannot be with Romeo, unnecessarily lead to their separation and ultimately, their death. All of these elements of the play can be blamed for the tragic outcome of Romeo and Juliet.