William Shakespeare manifests his idea of fate in many ways throughout Romeo and Juliet. His ideas of fate are built up for the understanding of the viewers but he does it in a way so clever that makes you question if its coincidence or kismet. This brilliant Author has portrayed fate through many ways, some being the plot, language, The prologue, The iambic pentameter, and God references.
From the minute you start reading, William has already forewarned us of the course of the play and the characters lives. As a reader, it is made very clear that fate and destiny is a dominant source of all the events leading up to the ‘star-crossed lovers’ tragic death. With the lines ‘From ancient grudge break to new mutiny’ and ‘Doth with their death bury their strife’ we can gather from these quotes that the death of Romeo and Juliet has a purpose; to end the long-lasting conflict between the Montague’s and Capulet’s. These unfortunate minors have had an affixed destiny since birth with the sole purpose to fall in love and end their lives.
Shakespeare has shown the characters that are highly ranked by the rhythm of which they speak. Iambic pentameter is an alternating tempo consisting of ten syllables, the first isn’t stressed (emphasized) the second syllable is and so on. This links back to the fate aspect because of how the iambic pentameter is much like a heartbeat. A heartbeat continues to beat without the brain having to think about it, our destiny, as well is out of our control and basically inevitable. All the prime characters speak in this beat, this is because they all have an impact of a sort to the young lovers and the consequences of their story. This excellent metaphor is a way to show the deep connection between the characters.
Throughout the play, many metaphors, similes, witty jokes, and personification is used to further strengthen the meaning of the words we are reading/hearing. His characters use the language to describe the emotion and heartache they are experiencing plus add suspense and interest for the audience. Romeo upon arrival of the Capulet party, speaks this line to Benvolio,” I fear, too early: for my mind misgives,Some consequence yet hanging in the stars ,Shall bitterly begin his fearful date ,With this night’s revels and expire the term ,Of a despised life closed in my breast, By some vile forfeit of untimely death, But He, that hath the steerage of my course, Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen!”. Romeo describes himself as a ship without control of his own course and that there is a consequence hanging in the stars told to him in a dream he had the night before the party. He is referring to a higher authority in both lines, he is aware that someone bigger and with more jurisdiction that is choosing what happens to him. The consequence hanging in the stars he mentions is his way or foreshadowing that bad things will happen if he does something i.e going to the party and falling in love with Juliet but also the consequence is also good because even though he may die he will be settling his parents fued. In the balcony scene, Juliet asks Romeo “By whose direction found’st thou out this place?” simply asking him why he came and he replies with “By love, who first did prompt me to inquire; He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far, As that vast shore wash’d with the farthest sea, I would adventure for such merchandise” in which he means that he was prompted to go their by that same higher authority but he was persuaded to go along with it because of his deep desire for Juliet.
This play was written and set in Elizabethan England times (around 1550-1560), in this time everybody believed in God due to the lack of exploration of science. Since that was the belief of the times, in the play, of course, it will be the same so it is no wonder the characters have a strong belief in a controller of their life choices. Romeo before the party had already seen the outcome of going to the banquet but he believed that it was God’s will so he went with it. After the couple meet and fall in love within the space of 5 hours, they take the idea of marriage to Friar Lawrence in the church and place all their faith in this soldier of the Lord. In the prologue, death is often discussed to keep the audience interested. Just after Romeo takes his life, Friar Lawrence says to dazed and confused Juliet “Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep.
A greater power than we can contradict
Hath thwarted our intents”. The Friar reveals to Juliet that a “greater power” either the God above or fate has ruined their plans to overthrow it.”O, here, Will I set up my everlasting rest, And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars, From this world-wearied flesh!”, he says in this breathtaking scene, he’s decided that he’ll one-up the “stars” by committing suicide, to ensure that he spends eternity in Heaven with Juliet. There are many hints dropped about death but they all have the same moral, all are reminding us of the “higher powers” plan of action.
Throughout the course of the play many events happen that lead us to question the motive behind them. After the Servant is sent to deliver the invitations, Romeo and his friends just happen to run into him in the streets and manage to squeeze an invite. This leaves the audience wondering if this is just coincidence or if it was meant to be. In Act 5, Scene 2, Friar John is explaining to Friar Lawrence why the letter containing the plan, didn’t arrive to Romeo. This was because of a town on the way to Mantua that was put in quarantine due to a plague outbreak. This was another example of “God” or the “stars” doing everything in their power to pursue their plan to mend the feud of the families with the death of their children.
William Shakespeare is a brilliant Playwright with exceptional ideas of fate. No one knows for sure if we control our own fate or coincidence and to be able to bring up that level of discussion is a true talent. Romeo and Juliet had the main plan set out by a high power but did have some freedom with some small choices. In the 21st century, we are still no closer in discoveries. In my opinion, fate does play a big role in our life course and Shakespeare has perfectly opened up our eyes. Is fate really a component or do we make our own choices?