Societal Norms And Fate In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

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Shakespeare's famous play of the two star crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet arouses many debates in the literary world; among them belongs the question of who Shakespeare portrays as the culprit responsible for the couples death: foolish young love, societal norms and customs or simply fate?The plot of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare unfolds in Verona, where the protagonists, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, each belong to powerful feuding Verona families. Juliet, who is only 14 years of age, has been promised by her father to a man named Paris without her consent, as was common for women at the time. In Verona, expectations and societal norms for men and women diverge. Men are portrayed as sexual, violent, strong characters who fight for honor while women are portrayed as inferior, weaker and represent possessions and conquests of men. Although, Juliet does not conform to these expectations and defies them throughout the play by her actions and behavior until she meets a tragic and untimely death with her lover Romeo. William Shakespeare uses Juliet, an unconventional protagonist compared to the society’s gender roles, and her tragic downfall to criticize the patriarchal society he lived in during the Elizabethan era. William Shakespeare explicitly shows how Veronian women are portrayed as weaker, inferior and more sentimental than men. During the very first scene weakness in associated with femininity, Sampson calls women, “the weaker vessels”(1.1.15) ,
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