The Role of Fate in Romeo and Juliet

2091 Words Nov 29th, 2011 9 Pages
Most of Shakespeare's plays are conceived around a foundation in either tragedy or comedy, this polarity of themes allowing him to experiment with the full range of human emotions. Typically, an integral part of a Shakespearean tragedy is love, which is frustrated by a breakdown in order, or the character of the hero, due to some human limitation. The play Romeo and Juliet has all these typical characteristics. However, the resultant conclusion of events for the characters in this tragedy is adversely affected by the hands of fate, and not solely the product of human limitations. Fate in fact has a decisive role in the events of the play; it is a series of rapid coincidental events, which lead to the final tragedy.

Romeo and Juliet are
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Participants in the action, some of them in parts that are minor and seem insignificant, contribute one by one the indispensable stitches which make the pattern, and contribute them not knowing; that is to say, they act when they do not know the truth of the situation in which they act, this truth being known, however, to us who are spectators." (The Brevity of Friar Laurence, 850) The idea that Fortune dictates the course of mankind dates back to ancient times. Those writers of the medieval world incorporated the goddess Fortune into Christianity and made her God's servant, responsible for adding challenges to our lives so that we would see the importance of giving up our tumultuous earthly lives to God. The most influential treatise on the theme of Fate was The Consolation of Philosophy, written by the scholar Boethius (A.D. 475-525). Written while he awaited execution, it is a dialogue between himself and his guide 'Philosophy', who explores with him the true nature of happiness and fate, and leads him to hope and enlightenment. Here is an excerpt from Book IV:
|To human acts alone denied |
|Thy fit control as Lord of all. |
|Why else does
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