Romeo and Juliet

The Apothecary's Greater Significance in Romeo and Juliet

From the bawdy Mercutio to the gentle Juliet, the characters in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet are colorful, but purposeful. Even the most obscure characters reflect Shakespeare's calculations in the development of key themes throughout the play. The Apothecary particularly exemplifies a character who seems superfluous outside of his role in the plot. However, his conversation with Romeo in Act Five, Scene One, proves that this is not the case. Rather, Shakespeare's inclusion of the Apothecary fortifies the themes of fate and society versus the individual. Equally importantly, it unifies the connection between symbols and mood.

One of the foremost themes in Romeo and Juliet is that of fate. This surprise is not long in coming, as the prologue introduces "a pair of star-cross'd lovers" whose deaths were destined to end the feud between their families (1.1.6). From beginning to end, celestial authority drives the characters to the closing stage by mingling their circumstances with dramatic irony. Uninvited and unwelcome, Romeo goes to a party held by Lord Montague, his father's enemy. There, he falls in love with Montague's young daughter, Juliet. Both realize too late that their affections...

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