In Literature class, we just finished our Shakespeare unit as well as reading Romeo and Juliet. This week and the one before have been pretty hectic with tests, projects, and papers due. But at last, its over and I get to start the next literature project. I did, however, enjoy this unit a lot and I’m pretty proud of some of the stuff I made. The paper below was a assignment we received in which we had to choose one character from Romeo and Juliet and determine if they were connected to the deaths throughout the story. We also compare fate and the character’s free-will in the story and how that influenced their decisions. Enjoy!
Oh, and the picture below is the movie poster I made as a part of my Romeo and Juliet project. I tried to include major thematic elements in the poster to show my understanding of the play.
Fate or Free Will?
In William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Lord Montague, Romeo’s father, is directly related to the deaths of Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio, and Lady Montague through his neglectful parenting and nonsensical feud with the Capulets. However, evidence of fate’s “helping hand” can still be found throughout this Shakespearean tragedy. When Shakespeare writes “Many a morning hath he there been seen,/ With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew…/ I neither know it nor can learn of him,” he illustrates Lord Montague as being unaware of what causes his son to lock himself away and become depressed (I.i.151-164). This response to Romeo’s depression shows that Lord Montague acknowledges there is something wrong, but he decides to leave his son alone rather than actively pursue the cause and a possible solution to his son’s sorrow. Lord Montague portrays his idea that Romeo must be strong enough to handle his own problems if he does not seek helps when he says “But he, his own affections’ counsellor,/ is to himself…/ But to himself so secret and so close” (I.i.166-169). Some people may view Lord Montague’s thought process as neglectful to his son’s well-being, and they are correct in the terms that Romeo’s desperation ultimately leads to his love or infatuation with Juliet and his tragic demise. However, it is possible to blame fate in the case that in Romeo’s dreadful state of mind, he just happened to fall in love with the first girl he set his eyes on, who later turned out to be his mortal enemy. In the play, Prince Escalus blames Lord Montague and Lord Capulet for the deaths of Romeo, Juliet, and many of his own kinsmen when he states “Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!/ See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,/ That heaven finds means to kill yours joys with love” (V.iii.296-298). The Prince calls upon the feud as a major factor in all of these deaths and holds the Lords responsible for not putting an end to this impractical quarrel. With some interpretation, the feud can be linked to all of the deaths in the play. Romeo and Juliet were forced to keep their marriage quiet because of their conflicting heritages, which lead to them to commit suicide in order to avoid separation. Tybalt and Mercutio were killed in a fight over foolish prejudices between the two families. Lady Montague died from grief of her son being banished for avenging Mercutio’s death by killing Tybalt. An agreement of peace between the Montagues and Capulets would avert most if not all the deaths in the play. However, Lord Montague and Lord Capulet do not come to a consensus to end the feud until much blood has already been shed. For this reason and Lord Montague’s neglect towards Romeo’s despair, Lord Montague is connected to all of the deaths in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.