At the bosom of the drama ‘s subjects of feuding households, ill-timing, and bad luck lies the true agent that defines Romeo and Juliet as a calamity ; the unprompted and foolhardy determinations of the immature lovers determine, in some manner, the tragic results that are erroneously attributed to destine throughout, and Shakespeare ‘s overdone history serves as moral direction of what can go on when picks of this magnitude are made unadvisedly. Although destiny does play a portion in the actions of the drama, it simply serves as direction to the supporters. Fate is responsible for keeping natural order and, every bit long as this is achieved, the fate of the lovers lies in their ain determinations. Fate serves as a usher, giving moral lessons to the supporters and even warns them of future catastrophe. Despite the generousness of the stars, nevertheless, they continue to arise and this, in bend, leads to their death.
A common device of Shakespearean calamity is the “ tragic defect, ” besides known as “ tragic flaw, ” defined as an “ built-in defect or defect in the hero of a calamity, who is in other respects a superior being favored by luck ” ( “ tragic flaw, ” def. ) . Ultimately, the “ tragic defects ” of both Romeo and Juliet are their beliefs that, without respect to the warnings and counsel of a higher order such as destiny, they are above the Torahs of adult male ; they make determinations without respect to effect or answerability for the pandemonium they produce. It is apparent in Romeo and Juliet that the unprompted actions of the supporters are non attributed to inexperience in young person, but instead a contemplation of their tragic defects. In the 4th act of the drama where her male parent asks where she has been, Juliet replies, “ Where I have learned me to atone the wickedness of disobedient oppositionaˆ¦ ” ( 4.2.17-18 ) . Shakespeare ‘s audience, of class, knows that this statement is simply Juliet ‘s method of prolonging peace at place until she can travel through with her program to forge her ain decease. Sing the father-daughter patriarchal construction during this clip, nevertheless, her words are a distinguishable contemplation of what is expected of her in obeying the Torahs her male parent demands. This is, possibly, Shakespeare ‘s manner of ironically uncovering his moral lesson to his audience through the really character who provides the illustration, uncovering what Juliet should make. These words expose her cognition that obeisance provides order, and later, the audience is less sympathetic to her because she does non listen to her ain words, those of Friar Laurence, or the warnings of destiny.
Romeo besides reveals his consciousness of the Prince ‘s jurisprudence and suggests its importance for societal order. In the beginning of Act 3, when Mercutio and Tybalt are contending, Romeo comes between them and says, “ The Prince expressly hath forbid this bandying in Verona streets ” ( 3.1.82-83 ) . Romeo seems to abandon his foolhardiness here, but it does n’t last long ; he kills Tybalt merely a few lines subsequently. Granted, he is avenging his friend ‘s decease, but this action marks the beginning of the deathly pandemonium seen throughout the remainder of the drama. Although he does n’t hold that a tragic defect leads to the deplorable stoping of the drama, Fredson Bowers, in his article “ Dramatic Structure and Criticism: Plot in Hamlet, ” does, nevertheless, believe that “ the flood tide in Romeo ‘s determination to contend Tybalt involves a personal pick that carries moral duty and is hence morally determinate ” ( 210 ) .
As the reader can see, tragedy follows a class of progressively destructive events, and following the scene which marks the point of no return for Romeo, in this instance the slaying of Tybalt, lunacy necessarily follows. A. C. Bradley describes this sequence of events in relation to opportunity by saying that, “ aˆ¦any big admittance of opportunity into the tragic sequence would surely weaken, and might destruct, the sense of the causal connexion of character, title, and calamity ” ( Bradley 64 ) . Fictional character represents the tragic defect ; the title is the flood tide that leads, so, to madness which is the accelerator for calamity. Romeo ‘s lunacy becomes more apparent as the reader can see his actions become progressively less sensible, get downing with the climactic scene and merely stoping with his decease. Romeo ‘s lunacy is displayed through both his irrational actions and the reactions of Friar Laurence and Romeo himself. After Romeo learns of his ostracism from Verona, his response, in both linguistic communication and action, provokes Friar Laurence to proclaim, “ O, so I see that lunatics have no ears ” ( 3.3.61 ) . Here, he recognizes the lunacy, so rapidly apparent in Romeo, spawned from Romeo ‘s ostracism following the decease of Tybalt. Later in the drama, Romeo ‘s lunacy intensifies to such an extent that he himself recognizes it when he says, “ The clip and my purposes are savage-wild, more ferocious and more grim far than empty Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelams or the boom sea ” ( 5.3.37-39 ) . Here, Romeo ‘s admittance of his lunacy is Shakespeare ‘s manner of explicitly informing the audience that Romeo has so lost his esthesias. The lunacy seen in the old lines leads straight to catastrophe, viz. the decease of Romeo. His insanity, before an internal struggle, is now externally admitted to Paris when he says, “ Live, and afterlife say a lunatic ‘s mercy command thee run off ” ( 5.3.66-67 ) . These lines represent Romeo ‘s entry to his lunacy as he rushes to his intended self-destruction. Much like Romeo ‘s insanity, Juliet experiences symptoms following the climactic scene of the drama. This is recognized by Juliet ‘s female parent when she states, “ Some heartache shows much of love, but much heartache shows still some privation of humor ” ( 3.5.72-73 ) . Although Lady Capulet believes she is seeing Juliet ‘s desperation over Tybalt ‘s decease, her seeable show of sorrow is derived straight from her heartache over Romeo ‘s ostracism, and this heartache is but the first mark of a crawling unreason that will take Juliet to her terminal. Her unreason lapses into lunacy as Juliet Begins to hallucinate before imbibing Friar Lawrence ‘s potion, as can be seen when she says, “ O, expression! Methinks I see my cousin ‘s shade seeking out Romeo that did ptyalize his organic structure upon a tuck ‘s point ” ( 4.4.57 ) . Directly after this statement, she drinks the potion, an act that even Friar Lawrence deems “ despairing ” ( 4.1.69 ) , exorcizing, through her action, the lunacy that has acutely built up in her since Romeo ‘s ostracism.
Throughout Romeo and Juliet, destiny is referenced in many different ways, yet all transitions seem to be directed to the same thought of a higher power observation over the “ natural order ” ( Kastan 16 ) of the characters, but the supporters of the drama usage destiny as a beginning in which to put fault so non to be held accountable for the determinations they make. Throughout, this higher power has been named “ the stars ” ( 1.4.107 ) , “ luck ” ( 1.2.57 ) , “ celestial spheres ” ( 4.4.121 ) , “ destiny ” ( 3.1.114 ) “ nature ” ( 3.2.80 ) , and each clip Romeo or Juliet makes a rash determination and faces the effects of the same, they complain that destiny is the cause. Fate serves as a aid for the immature twosome, nevertheless, and this becomes apparent in that, each clip the drama reaches a critical point of import to the drama ‘s result, the supporters are warned. This thought of warning from a supernatural or ghostly beginning is a common scheme in Shakespearean calamities. Here, Romeo is first warned in a dream which Mercutio calls “ Queen Mab ” ( 1.4.53 ) , right before he is about to run into Juliet for the first clip. The dream warns him non to travel to the Capulet ball, and destine farther ushers his determination by seting uncertainness in his determination as a warning of what will go on if he does travel. Romeo provinces, “ I fear excessively early, for my head misgives some effect yet hanging in the starsaˆ¦ ” ( 1.4.106 ) , and although he is affected by this warning and aware of the effects if he goes, merely five lines subsequently, he ignores the warning with “ On, lustful gentlemen ” ( 1.4.113 ) . This is an active determination by Romeo to travel to the ball, yet in the old sentence, he says “ Direct my canvas! ” ( 1.4.113 ) . Therefore, although Romeo receives aid from destiny through counsel, warnings of impending catastrophe, and the free will to avoid determinations, he repeatedly makes bad picks of which he is non willing to take duty, but instead, blames the really beginning that helps him. Another illustration of this warning comes when Romeo is go forthing for Mantua, and this is the last clip Juliet sees him. This clip, both have a feeling of impending day of reckoning. Juliet says, “ O God, I have an ill-divining psyche! Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low, as one dead in the underside of a grave ” ( 3.5.54-56 ) , and Romeo responds with, “ And swear me, love, in my oculus so make you. Dry sorrow drinks our blood. ” ( 3.5.58-59 ) . Juliet ‘s lines are spoken merely three lines after she asks Romeo if they will of all time see each other once more. Of class, they do non run into once more, and these lines mark the following stage of pandemonium, decease, and bad determinations which conclude the drama. There are, nevertheless, two more mentions to woolgather that right reveal brushs, tragic in nature, which could hold been avoided. First, Juliet imagines traveling huffy inside the Capulet grave, blatantly declaring a warning from destiny that is being played inside her ain reverie. When she says, “ O, if I wake, shall I non be distraught, envisioned with all these horrid frights, aˆ¦ and, in this fury, with some great kinsman ‘s bone as with a nine elan out my desp’rate encephalons ” ( 4.4.49-53 ) , her concerns are really a announcement of destiny ‘s warning that this roseola action will finally take to her death, a warning which she quickly dismisses as she drinks the vial merely a few lines subsequently. The 2nd of these mentions to woolgather prevarications in Romeo ‘s statement, “ I dreamt my lady came and found me dead – unusual dream, that gives a dead adult male leave to believe ” ( 5.1.6-7 ) . Romeo does non acknowledge the deductions of this dream, which serves as the voice of destiny. Alternatively, his unreason spins this message into a signifier that he is willing to accept, as is seen by the undermentioned lines, “ and breathed such life with busss in my lips that I revived and was an emperor ” ( 5.1.8-9 ) . Due to Romeo ‘s crazing compulsion with his infatuation, he is unable to decode the true message of this dream. His irrational actions have set him on a way that will take to his decease.
A.C. Bradley believes that calamity is by and large based around a character of prominence and is a narrative of “ human actions bring forthing exceeding catastrophe and stoping in the decease of such a adult male ” ( Bradley 64 ) . This component of calamity, dwelling of specific actions that lead to a calamity and consequence in the decease of a outstanding character, is a authoritative subject among Shakespearian calamities. One of the most common facets of this footing is the component of decease, both foreshadowed and realized, as a decision to the crazed actions of the primary characters in Shakespeare ‘s plant. This subject can be seen in many of his dramas, such as Hamlet and Othello, but none more so than Romeo and Juliet, where the subject of decease is invariably reiterated from the initial prologue to the decision of the drama. For case, when paralleling the immature lovers ‘ wooing to the different phases of the drama, one can see these perennial statements explicitly stated, all of which indicate decease ‘s impending reaching as the natural decision of the twosome ‘s consistent irrational actions. The first of these determinations occurs before Romeo is to go to the Capulet ‘s ball. He begins to experience himself going down an unnatural way and says, “ my head misgives some effect yet hanging in the starsaˆ¦of a detested life, closed in my chest, by some despicable forfeit of ill-timed decease ” ( 1.5.106-111 ) . Although Romeo, to some extent, feels destiny ‘s warning and the effects of his actions, he proceeds to Capulet ‘s ball, taking his first measure toward his finally tragic terminal. Furthermore, after they meet, Juliet instantly decides he is married and says, “ aˆ¦my grave is like to be my nuptials bed ” ( 1.9.131-132 ) before she even learns the name of her graven image. This is merely the first of many such illustrations of an irrational idea procedure that will go on throughout the remainder of the narrative ; illustrations of this unreasonable belief that decease is their lone alternate farther shows their refusal to accept the state of affairs and work toward a solution. Alternatively, decease provides an easy solution. By restricting herself to merely two options, Juliet systematically bases her determinations on this belief, despite all warnings that she is basically running headfirst to her ain decease. The following measure in the patterned advance of this matter, the matrimony of the immature lovers, is yet once more marked by the presence of decease. Upon geting at Friar Lawrence ‘s cell for the proximate ceremonial, Romeo declares that, “ love-devouring decease make what he dare – it is adequate I may but name her mine ” ( 2.5.7-8 ) . Once once more, the presence of decease is foreshadowed at a pinnacle point, and Romeo and Juliet make another deviant determination. By explicitly disputing decease, Romeo is apparently cognizant that his mortality is at hand, but he still continues down this way. He does non see that Juliet ‘s actions are mirroring his and taking her to the same decision.
The twosome ‘s hotheaded thrust toward roseola determinations is unmistakable throughout the remainder of the drama. Although they are cognizant that the chance of their continued relationship will finally ne’er be presented, the two supporters pursue decease from the beginning. These illustrations solidify the statement that Romeo and Juliet is a premier illustration of Shakespeare ‘s lesson that decease as a natural effect of the hotheaded actions of those who disregard the warnings of destiny.
Throughout the kingdom of Shakespeare ‘s calamities, another subject persists. While the supporters in Shakespearian calamities make witting picks finding their ain waies, most normally against the subtle and blazing warnings of destiny, there is a changeless component that renders the executing of these determinations compulsory ; this thought is known as situational struggle. In his article “ Art and Artifice in Shakespeare, ” Elmer Edgar Stoll states, “ The nucleus of calamity is state of affairs ; and a state of affairs is a character in contrast, and possibly besides in struggle, with other characters or with fortunes ” ( Stoll 69 ) . This thought that there must be a struggle to a calamity is non a fresh thought, but the thought that there must be a state of affairs in struggle with character or circumstance suggests that an writer would necessitate to specify this state of affairs, either implicitly or explicitly, at some point prior to the flood tide of the narrative. Following this design of making a situational struggle that will coerce the supporters to do determinations that will take them down either destiny ‘s implied way of natural order or along a class of their ain fashioning, a tragic secret plan must incorporate an action that forces this struggle. Shakespeare was non unmindful to this motive ; in fact, the building of his calamities suggests his credence of this templet as a method of picturing a tragic secret plan. In the majority of Shakespeare ‘s calamities, there is a common event that, apart from the flood tide and by and large between the center and terminal of the first act, explicitly defines this state of affairs. The act typically causes struggle in the supporters ‘ province of personal businesss, which sets the phase for the downward spiral of determinations that the characters make. While in most instances influenced by another character in the drama, such as Iago ‘s proclamation of his secret plan to lead on Othello or Lady MacBeth ‘s persuasion of MacBeth to kill King Duncan, this triping event causes the supporters in Shakespeare ‘s calamities, either instantly or necessarily, to do the initial determination that will make up one’s mind their destiny. Romeo and Juliet does non differ from this strategy ; the triping event and the situational struggle are both present within the same location stated antecedently. Specifically, this event is caused by the efforts of Benvolio and Mercutio ‘s to pacify Romeo ‘s concerns about go toing the Capulet ‘s ball. While Romeo ab initio agrees to attach to them to the event, he shortly shows no involvement in the dark ‘s activities. He says that he will “ be a candle-holder and expression on, ” and shortly thenceforth begins to oppugn his determination to go to the ball at all when he states, “ aˆ¦we mean well in traveling to this mask, but ‘t is no humor to travel ” ( 1.4.38, 1.4.46-47 ) . Although he is persuaded by Benvolio and Mercutio, the concluding determination to go to is finally made by Romeo. This pick places Romeo in a state of affairs where struggle is high ; he walks into the house of the Capulets and court a lady who he knows, by being present at this event, has ties to his enemy. Therefore, although Benvolio and Mercutio effort to carry Romeo to go to the ball and “ analyze other beauties ” ( 1.1.221 ) , his pick to make so is the triping event. This is Romeo ‘s first opportunity to make up one’s mind whether or non to come in into a state of affairs of struggle and, as with many of Shakespeare ‘s tragic supporters, Romeo makes the incorrect pick.
There is some argument about the effectivity of the moral lessons in Shakespeare ‘s calamities. In his article “ Shakespeare, ” Walter Raleigh believes, “ There is no moral lesson to be read, except by chance, in any of Shakespeare ‘s calamities ” ( Raleigh 66 ) . John Dryden, on the other manus, argues, in his article entitled “ The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy ” , that calamity is “ an imitation of one full, great and likely action ; non state, but represented ; which by traveling in us fear and commiseration, is contributing to the purge of those two passions in our heads ” ( Dryden 24 ) . The witting determinations of the characters in Shakespearian calamity are non merely pertinent to the promotion of the tragic secret plan, but besides morally determinate. Shakspere reveals this thought through destiny ‘s warnings, the duologue of the characters, imagination, the advice of characters such as Friar Laurence, eventually, in the epilogue, a common component in Shakespeare ‘s calamities.
The definition of a “ morally determinate action ” is important in the statement of free will versus destiny in Romeo and Juliet because it signifies that “ the character is cognizant of the issue and nevertheless makes a pick that is inherently fatal ” ( 210 ) . This allows for an exchange of the audience ‘s understanding for the lovers with a feeling of contentment in cognizing that, alternatively of a blue position of destiny ‘s inevitable licking of guiltless lovers, the supporters have control of their lives and pursue calamity through their ain noncompliance. The audience is able to bask the drama because they excessively have free will to find their ain destinies, yet they besides come off with the lesson Shakespeare teaches about the moral duty of one ‘s actions. Although the ejaculation of destiny has been discussed antecedently, the moral rebuke announced by some of the characters in the drama sing Romeo and Juliet ‘s actions besides serve as a step by which to estimate the moral answerability of the twosome ‘s actions. For case, Friar Lawrence is appalled by Romeo ‘s feats with Juliet at the Capulet ‘s ball, which is apparent when he states, “ Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so beloved, so shortly abandon? Young work forces ‘s love so lies non genuinely in their Black Marias, but in their eyes ” ( 2.2.66-68 ) . Basically, Friar Lawrence is showing his antipathy in the immorality of his determination to marry another adult female non a twenty-four hours after his plaint for Rosaline. This determination is morally condemnable because it exposes the faithlessness of Romeo ‘s love and the significance of come ining into a matrimony without understanding the significance of such an act. This type of reaction is apparent once more when Friar Laurence castigates Romeo, this clip for his effeminate cryings and “ unreasonable rage ” ( 3.3.110 ) . Here, Friar Laurence comments, “ Hast 1000 slain Tybalt? Wilt 1000 slay thyself, and murder thy lady that in thy life lives by making blasted hatred upon thyself? ” ( 3.3.135-137 ) . Romeo ‘s determinations, in this instance, are blamable because of the selfishness of his statements of self-destruction, as he does non see Juliet ‘s public assistance. He is farther topic to fault when one contemplates Romeo ‘s old actions and his failure to acknowledge the clemency that the Prince has shown him. His selfishness is straight related to the confused nature of Romeo ‘s determinations ; instead than sing the deductions of his determinations, he initiates a class of action based on his brash and foolhardy preference. The epilogue in Romeo and Juliet repeats the events that unfold in the private advocate of Friar Lawrence ‘s cell, and while his history describes the roseola actions of Romeo and Juliet, he openly accepts duty for his ain portion in the disgraceful event. Friar Laurence is rapidly pardoned for his misbehavior. The result of the epilogue reveals the moral lesson ; one must confront duty for his or her actions, and it is better to accept the result than to run off. This is apparent when Friar Lawrence pronounces, “ if aught in this miscarried by my mistake, allow my old life be sacrificed, some hr before his clip, unto the cogency of severest jurisprudence ” ( 5.3.266-268 ) . He accepts complete duty for his portion in the events that lead to the immature lovers ‘ deceases and implies his precognition that his actions could ensue in penalty, bespeaking that the Friar considered this before moving and juxtaposing this with the actions of Romeo and Juliet. By uncovering to the audience both an evitable state of affairs and the grounds for the tragic stoping, Shakespeare succeeds in supplying a moral lesson that serves to “ purge the passion ” ( Dryden 25 ) .
The execution of a tragic defect, lunacy, pretermiting destiny ‘s warnings, decease, a triping event, actions which are morally determinate, and the moral lesson provide a clear position of Shakespearian calamity. The causal relationships between the elements of calamity, combined with common literary characteristics associated with secret plan, placing the triping event that presents the situational struggle which will take to the climatic extremum of the narrative, the ensuing lunacy that builds in the principals, the inescapable decision of decease, and the consummate lesson learnt upon the terminal of the narrative. Throughout this chronology, each measure is traversed by a morally determinate adjudication based from, in this instance, the chief characters ‘ tragic defects, and pretermiting the karmic counsel offered by other characters every bit good as by their ain admittances of feelings and dreams. Romeo and Juliet adhere to each of these elements, non on a scarce juncture or two, but continuously and tenaciously throughout the class of the narrative, with each factor entwining with another to organize the footing for which the primary thought related to the chief characters ‘ determinations may rest ; Romeo and Juliet ‘s actions were undertaken excessively impulsively, and while destiny did play a function in trying to rede the immature twosome as to the natural order of their state of affairs, they exercise their free will to interminably disregard these warnings and put themselves down the slippery incline that consequences in their undoing.