Romeo and Juliet

Fate in Romeo and Juliet

The concept of fate functions as a central theme in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In the opening prologue of the play, the Chorus informs the audience that Romeo and Juliet are "Star ñ cross'd Lovers" (Prologue l.6). In other words, the Chorus states that Romeo and Juliet are governed by fate, a force often linked to the movements of the stars. Fate manifests itself in all the events surrounding the young lovers: the ancient and inexplicable feud between their families, the catastrophic series of mishaps which ruin Friar Lawrence's plans, and the tragic timing of Romeo's suicide and Juliet's awakening. The structure of the play itself rests upon the fate from which the two lovers cannot escape.

The play opens with a brawl which erupts between servants of the Montague and Capulet families. This initial quarrel illustrates that the "ancient Grudge" between the two families runs so deep that it extends to the servants (Prologue l. 3). Upon their first encounter, Romeo and Juliet remain ignorant to the fact that they are the children of feuding families. Actually, the lovers meet by coincidence. Romeo agrees to attend the Capulet ball because he hopes to see Rosaline, and he consistently...

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