Shakespeare writes of a world marred by the petulant idiocy of the Montagues and the Capulets, requiring God to intervene in order for the quarrel to end. Romeo and Juliet are fated to be “A pair of star-cross’d lovers…” and are the living sacrifice necessary to end the feud. Providence utilizes the pressures of society and time to create whirling events established as fate within the play in order to impose a gentle ending for the lovers. Shakespeare establishes a forcefulness of fate and a great will of God in the life and death of Romeo and Juliet as a means to bring peace to the corrupted society of Verona.
The public and private lives of Romeo and Juliet are greatly influenced by God’s unequivocal desire to end the disorder and chaos within Verona. Providence utilizes the pressures formed within Shakespeare’s society to aid in the death of Romeo and Juliet. The feud between the Montagues and the Capulets creates an undisputed loathing between the two families and yet, Romeo and Juliet manage to look deeper within identity and see beyond a family name. Juliet transcends beyond Romeo’s surname and knows that her love for Romeo lies within Romeo’s personality. “What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose/ By any other word would smell as sweet. ” (2. 2. 43-44) Though the lovers express a maturity in being able to come together privately and look beyond identity, the idea of Romeo and Juliet coming together is inconsistent to society. As a result, the lovers form their lives together in secrecy which results in Providence easily manipulating the course of the lovers as their love is unknown and disregarded within society. The secrecy of Romeo and Juliet’s love, and later marriage, causes Juliet to hurry into swift action which is later revealed.
Friar Laurence, characterized by his wisdom and philosophy, is swayed in judgment as he begrudgingly weds Romeo and Juliet. The Friar agrees to oversee the marriage as it is his idea that the two families will be united through a sacrament between the couple and God. “For this alliance may so happy prove/ To turn your households’ rancour to pure love. ” (2. 3. 91-92) Friar Laurence recognizes the need to end the feud as the quarrel between the two families will otherwise completely disunify society through violence and death.
However, Friar is aware that the rash and impulsive decision to marry will cause the couple “[to] stumble as [they] run fast. ” (2. 3. 94)- as Shakespeare is referring to the lovers, he evokes the death of the couple. Shakespeare establishes fairness within the law whilst also establishing Providence’s ability to manipulate fate through Romeo’s banishment. Romeo acts out of foolishness as a result of vengeance and fate. Romeo, after killing Tybalt in an attempt to avenge Mercutio’s death, is sentenced, by the law- giver Prince, to banishment as an acknowledgement of Romeo killing the murderer, Tybalt.
Shakespeare evokes Providence’s desire to establish unity within Verona as the law is given fairly through Prince and additionally the tragedy of the lover’s demise is continued as a means to end the feud and restore order. Poverty, within Romeo and Juliet, aids in destroying the lives of the lovers. Romeo, stricken with grief at hearing of Juliet’s death, wishes to commit suicide and approaches a poor apothecary whom unwillingly agrees. “My poverty, but not my will, consents. ” (5. 1. 5) Shakespeare establishes that the society he writes of creates a contrast of wealthy and poor resulting in the apothecary providing Romeo with an illegal poison and gaining money the apothecary believes may make him wealthy. The poison the apothecary provides Romeo with causes the physical death of Romeo and aids in the work of Providence as the demise of one lover ultimately kills the other. Romeo and Juliet’s deaths and the events that lead to their demise are a constant work of Providence.
Shakespeare utilizes speed as evidence of the force of fate acting upon Romeo and Juliet as well as, an aid in the destruction of the lovers. Shakespeare builds a fast- paced world around Romeo and Juliet which results in swift and hazardous decision making. The final scene of the play, which details the death of the lovers, occurs quickly and hastily as Romeo swiftly slays Paris, drinks the poison, and dies within the tomb having Juliet, moments later, immediately commit suicide at seeing her love lying deceased upon the ground.
Shakespeare establishes the reliance of time in regards to assisting Providence in the death of the lovers. Events happen at such a rapid pace, it results in an inability for characters to adhere to the Friar’s wisdom of properly contemplating situations and an inability to ponder a solution other than that of suicide which would attempt to counter Providence. The deaths of Romeo and Juliet are necessary sacrifices within Providence’s plan to restore unity, peace, and ease within Verona. The citizens of Verona are greatly influenced by a feud that Shakespeare leaves unexplained and unreasoned.
Servants from either household are willing to fight for their masters, though not for a particular reason. “The quarrel is between our masters and us their men. ” (1. 1. 18) Shakespeare emphasizes the need for a great sacrifice as Verona’s citizens are easily swayed into violence without proper reason, suggesting the inability for the law within Verona to overcome the violence resulting from the feud. The feud within Verona has resulted in a loss of human dignity and a disregard for life.
Tybalt, upon recognizing Romeo’s voice at the Capulet’s banquet, is quick to assume Romeo has come to harm the Capulet’s in some way and swiftly admits “To strike him dead I hold it not a sin. ” (1. 5. 58) The suicidal death of Romeo and Juliet reestablishes a regard for human life as the families witness the result of their children having lost a regard for their own lives. Providence required the death of the two lovers as their death effected both the Capulets and the Montagues in such a personal way as they realized the consequences of the feud the families had established.
Romeo and Juliet are fated by Shakespeare to love and die as a means to end their parents’ feud. Providence is evident within the lovers’ lives and deaths as events occur out of fate. The disordered society of Verona pressures the lives of several characters to unknowingly aid in the destruction of the lovers. Time is evoked as being destructive as the rapid movement of time aids in the lovers’ dying at possibly avoidable moments. The forcefulness of fate and the will of God as a result of the lovers’ parents’ quarrel resulted in the death of Romeo and Juliet.
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