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Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare


Time and Fate in Romeo and Juliet 
 Romeo and Juliet, said to be one of the most famous love stories 
of all times, is a play anchored on time and fate. Some actions are 
believed to occur by chance or by destiny. The timing of each action 
influences the outcome of the play. While some events are of less 
significance, some are crucial to the development of this tragedy. The 
substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet are; 
the Capulet ball, the quarrel experienced by Tybalt and Romeo, and Friar 
John's plague. 
 A servant to Capulet, who is incapable of reading the list of 
guests, asks for Romeo's assistance. Romeo notices that Rosaline, his 
lover, is among these names. Benvolio challenges Romeo to compare her 
with other "beauties." Benvolio predicts, "Compare her face with some 
that I shall show,/ And I will make thee think thy swan a crow." (I, ii, 
l 86-87) To show his appreciation, the servant asks for Romeo's presence 
at the ball. Romeo should have considered the servant's warning; if 
Romeo occupies the name of Montague, he shall not be permitted. Once at 
the ball, Romeo is searching for a maiden to substitute the unrequited 
love of Rosaline. Romeo happens to gaze upon Juliet, who charms Romeo. 
Romeo proclaims, " Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!/ For 
ne'er saw true beauty till this night." (I, v, l 52-53) Since Romeo 
declares his love for Juliet, she feels the attraction also. They 
believe that they are in love and must marry. However, it is a genuine 
coincidence that Romeo and Juliet were at the same place, at the same 
 Some days after the ball, Benvolio and Mercutio are conversing, 
in regard to the quarrelsome weather. Benvolio declares, "The day is 
hot, the Capulets abroad,/ And if we meet we shall not 'scape a brawl,/ 
For now these got days is the mad blood stirring." (III, i, l 2-4) At 
this point, Tybalt, who has challenged Romeo because of his appearance 
at the masquerade, enters, seeking Romeo. On Romeo's behalf, Mercutio 
struggles with Tybalt, while Romeo, who is filled with love for his new 
cousin, tries to end their boldness. Before escaping, Tybalt plunges 
his sword into Mercutio, causing death to fall upon him. Mercutio blames 
Romeo and the feud for his fate. Romeo kills Tybalt, who taunts Romeo, 
upon his return. Romeo fears he will be condemned to death if he does 
not flee before the arrival of the Prince. Benvolio recalls the events 
that have happened, with some embellishment. The Prince declares:
And for that offence/ Immediately we do exile him hence./ I hav an in 
your hate's proceeding,/ My blood for your rude brawls doth lie 
a-bleeding;/ But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine/ That you shall 
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 this body and attend our will./ Mercy but murders, pardoning 
those that kill. 
(III, i, l 185-195)
 Due to the disturbance of Verona's street and the losses of 
Tybalt and Mercutio, the Prince must penalize Romeo. However, the Prince 
agrees that Romeo was acting in self defense. 
 Juliet, who desires not to wed Paris, asks for Friar Laurence's 
assistance. The day before the wedding, Juliet is to drink the poison, 
which will make her appear to be dead. In forty two hours she shall 
awake, with Romeo by her side. Romeo will then bring her to Mantua with 
him. In the meantime Friar Laurence will convey a message to Romeo in 
Mantua, telling him the plot. When she gains consciousness, Romeo and 
Friar Laurence will be there. Friar Laurence says, "Shall Romeo by my 
letters know our drift,/ And hither shall he come; and he and I/ Will 
watch thy waking" (IV, i, l 114-116) Following Juliet's intake of the 
poison, Romeo is anticipating news from Verona. Balthasar, a servant to 
Romeo, tells Romeo that Juliet has passed on. Romeo, who is told there 
are no letters from the friar, seeks a way to accomplish his suicide. 
Meanwhile, Friar Laurence, confronts Friar John, who was to deliver the 
letter to Romeo. Friar John informs Friar Laurence that he was seeking 
another Franciscan, who was visiting the sick, to accompany him to 
Mantua. He says, "Suspecting that we both were in a house/ Where the 
infectious pestilence did reingn,/ Seal'd up the doors, and would not 
let us forth;/" (V, ii, l 9-11) Friar John tells that he could find no 
one to deliver the letter, for fear they may catch the infection. 
 The substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and 
Juliet are; the Capulet ball, the quarrel experienced by Tybalt and 
Romeo, and Friar John's plague. The Capulet ball influences the ending 
of the play by Romeo's invitation at the ball, which creates the meeting 
of Romeo and Juliet. The ball also gives birth to Tybalt's anger and 
causes his challenge. The challenge causes the banishment of Romeo, 
which produces much grieving by Juliet and Romeo. Also, the quarrelsome 
weather is partly to blame for the feuding between Tybalt and Mercutio. 
Since Friar John did not deliver the letter, Romeo thinks that Juliet 
is dead, sacrifices himself. Juliet seeing that Romeo is dead, slays 
herself also.


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