” Doth with their death bury their parents strife” What is fate? “Fate is a development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power”-(Oxford dictionaries). Fate in the play Romeo and Juliet, plays a crucial part of the storyline, yet it is a subtle message throughout. The word fate isn’t used in the play, rather it is shown. Shakespeare displays fate through the language, by using coincidences, metaphors, and dialogue. He also shows it through the major events and at the beginning, in the prologue. Shakespeare uses a number of techniques to communicate the idea of fate.
The first way that Shakespeare suggests the outlook of fate in the Romeo and Juliet play, is through the prologue. In the prologue, Shakespeare presents the entire plot of the play before the play even begins. The purpose of this is to inform the audience and readers what’s going to happen in the play before reading it, also to display whatever happens to Romeo and Juliet is fate, and whatever actions they take and decisions they make, nothing can change the course of their lives. ” A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;” This is a small section of the prologue, referring to when Romeo and Juliet commit suicide because of their forbidden love for each other. The prologue is an example of fate because the prologue is set so nothing can change what is going to happen to them, so in a sense the prologue is Romeo and Juliet’s life plan. It’s within the language of the prologue that the story unfolds.
The coincidences Romeo and Juliet encounter are unmistakably seen as a hand of fate. Shakespeare uses coincidences that lead to a sequence of greater events. Capulet gives the servant a list of invites to his party, but the servant cannot read. When he bumps into Romeo and Benvolio on the street he asks them to read the list for him, not knowing that they are Montague’s. The servant then says “if you be not of the house of the Montague’s, I pray come and crush a cup of wine.” He is suggesting to them that if they are not Montague’s, then they are welcome to come to the party. Even though they are both Montague’s, Benvolio sees this as an opportunity for Romeo to meet a new lady. This is showing the concept of fate, because this is the very party where Romeo and Juliet meet. This party lead to a development of events, outside both Romeo and Juliet’s control. Which is fate. Through the coincidences used in Romeo and Juliet they lead to bigger things that develop in the play.
Shakespeare uses a variety of different ways when he communicates the idea of fate. One way is through the plot events. The major plot events in the play, always relate to fate in one way or another. When Friar Lawrence gives the letter about Juliet’s plan to Friar John, he intends for it to be given to Romeo. But when a plague breaks out in a town on the way to Mantua, it put Friar John to a standstill, and he was unable to deliver the letter to Romeo. ” I could not send it-here it is again- nor get a messenger to bring it thee, so fearful were they of infection.” Friar John was revealing to Friar Lawrence that he was unable to get the letter to Romeo because of the plague that had broken out, and even a messenger wasn’t willing to deliver it because they were scared the infection might spread. Fate is shown through this example, because the plague was out of anyone’s control, meaning nothing could be done to stop it happening, which is fate. It was also fate that Romeo didn’t get the letter, because if he did, both Romeo and Juliet would be alive when the play ends.
Shakespeare’s use of metaphors in the play Romeo and Juliet is a direct link to fate, because he uses metaphors that link the lives of Romeo and Juliet to a journey. Just before the Capulet’s party Romeo is talking to Benvolio and says ” I fear too early, for my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars.” he is saying to Benvolio that he is worried about getting to the party to early, and that he has a bad feeling about tonight, he feels as though something bad will happen. Something that will lead to his death. This is an example of fate because this happens to Romeo and when he said it he had no idea., and little does he know the “bad” thing that will happen tonight is him meeting Juliet, because if they did not meet. None of the further events would have happened, for example them killing themselves, because of their forbidden love.
The most simple way Shakespeare gets the idea of fate across to the audience, is through the dialogue. Simple things the characters say have a direct reference to fate, luck, death, fortune and coincidences. When Juliet says to the nurse “go ask his name.-if he be married. My grave is like to be my wedding bed.” Juliet is saying that if he is married she would rather die than marry anyone but him. She is talking about Romeo. This is a direct link to fate because Romeo and Juliet did get married, then Juliet’s parents want her to marry Paris, not knowing about the marriage between her and Romeo. So she had an elaborate plan to stop the wedding with Paris, and when Romeo killed himself because of it, Juliet followed because Romeo was the only one for her. When Juliet said that she had no idea it would turn into a reality. Meaning it was fate she said it.
Shakespeare has a writing style, unlike any I have ever seen before. The use of language and techniques of communicating fate he uses, can really reflect on the image of fate throughout the entire play. Shakespeare was really good at showing fate throughout the play. Without you realising, fate and free will in the real world relates back to every decision you make. Throughout this play fate has taught me that everything happens for a reason, and whether you choose to believe in fate or free will is up to you.