Romeo and Juliet

Who is to blame?
Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1594. There are many characters who could be held responsible for the tragic events of the play. One of the characters who makes many mistakes in the play is Romeo. He is emotional and changes his mind quickly. At the beginning of the play, he was crazy over Rosaline and then after seeing Juliet, falls immediately in love with her, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” One of the mistakes he makes was how he rushed the relationship with Juliet. Only after seeing each other once, they decide to get married the following day. “If that thy bent of love be honourable, Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,” His love for Juliet is so strong that he makes many bad decisions. When he discovers Juliet is ‘dead’, he tries to kill himself, “Here’s to my love! (drinks the poison)”. This shows how emotional he is over Juliet. But is not only Juliet who he cares about. When Tybalt kills Mercuito, Romeo is sent into a rage and kills Tybalt to avenge his friend. “Alive, in triumph! and Mercutio slain! Away to heaven, respective lenity, And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!” Furthermore, this shows how impetuous he is. Whenever he is extremely passionate over someone he thinks rashly. He does not consider the consequences of his action(s). Romeo’s fiancée, Juliet also makes a lot of mistakes. She is very keen on Romeo which makes her choose the wrong decisions. She should have told her parents about her relationship with Romeo and not lied to them. When she declared that she would not marry Paris to her parents, she could have also included the fact that she was married to Romeo already. Another mistake that is partly her fault was accepting Friar Lawrence’s plan to fake her death. “Give me some present counsel, or, behold, 'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife Shall play the umpire...” It is not a very well-thought out plan but Juliet does not care as long as it gets her out of marrying Paris. It is only partly her fault as she could have perhaps received better information from her Nurse or parents instead of turning to Friar Lawrence for help. At the end of the play, when Romeo commits suicide, Juliet wakes and finds him dead. “Friar Lawrence: Come, go, good Juliet, I dare no longer stay. Juliet: Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.” In the end, Juliet is to blame for her death as it was no choice but hers.
6.6.2013 By Zinzan Gurney

Another character who has a hand on the turn of events is Friar Lawrence. He is a priest and friend of Romeo and Juliet who arranges the marriage between them. He thinks that by marrying Romeo and Juliet, it would make everything better. “For this alliance may so happy prove, To turn your households' rancour to pure love.” If he had not done this, many of the unfortunate events in the play would not have occurred. Juliet could have married Paris but been together with Romeo at the same time. Romeo and Juliet could have also postponed the marriage until they had sorted things out. The second mistake he makes was giving the vial to Juliet to fake her death. He thought everything would go according to plan but what he did not know was how the letter to Romeo would not be delivered and this whole tragedy would occur. “A greater power than we can contradict Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away.” Fate is the last and perhaps one of the most influencing factors that lead to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. One event early in the play that has a big effect was when the Capulet servant was inviting people to a masked ball. He could not read so he just happened to ask Romeo, who was walking by, to read out all the names on the invitation list for him, “I pray, sir, can you read?”. Romeo saw Rosaline, his current fiancée at the time, on the list and wanted to go to the ball. It was fate that the servant could not read and asked Romeo to read it. This leads to a series of events in which he meets Juliet, gets married, etc. and the tragedies occur. Another event is when Friar Lawrence concocts a plan to fake Juliet!s death so that she can be with Romeo. He sends Friar John to deliver an important message to Romeo relating to the plan. It is fate that Friar John could not deliver the message. “Friar Lawrence: Who bare my letter, then, to Romeo? Friar John: I could not send it,-here it is again,-” This leads to Romeo thinking that Juliet is actually dead, so he commits suicide. One of the biggest influencing factors was the timing of the tomb scene. Romeo kills himself just as Juliet wakes up. Friar Lawrence arrives seconds after Romeo commits suicide. This leads to Juliet also committing suicide as her husband was dead. If Romeo had arrived a few minutes later or Juliet had awoken earlier, they could have run away together. Although there are many characters who could be held responsible for the unfortunate events; I think the conflicting families, the Capulets and the Montagues, are the most to blame. Romeo and Juliet were both from opposing families so they had no one to turn to for advice. If they had told their parents about the relationship, it could have started a fullwaged war between the families. They had to turn to Friar Lawrence for help who was not very good at plans. It is also partly fate!s fault considering the fact that they were both from opposing families and it was love at first sight. Ultimately, the conflicting families are the most to blame along with fate.


By Zinzan Gurney