To What Extent Are Romeo and Juliet Responsible for Their Own Downfall? Do the Capulet and Montague Families Share the Blame?

2710 Words Oct 22nd, 2012 11 Pages
Romeo and Juliet is the tragic story of two young lovers, longing to be together but kept apart by their families. They prove their love for each other by going behind their parents' backs to meet, to be together and to be married before meeting an untimely death. Deciding who is ultimately responsible for their tragic end can be difficult as there are so many people who play a significant role in their lives and who have an influence on how the play unfolds.
Firstly, although Romeo and Juliet are the protagonists of the play that doesn't mean they do not share in some of the blame. Their courtship was very brief, the play spans less than a week, so it could be argued that they rushed into their marriage without properly planning anything
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Out on her, hilding!" Act 3 Scene 5 Line 167-168
Once again, the rebellious nature of teenagers could come into play; Capulet wants Juliet to marry Paris but she remains stubborn. This is also a great example of how the parents in the play pay little notice to what their children want. In this scene Juliet makes it obvious that her happiness doesn't lie with Paris yet her father ignores this and tells her to marry him or be disowned.
However some people will step up to defend the parents and suggest they only wanted the best for their children, like any parent does. Perhaps what was best was that Romeo and Juliet should not have met. We don't know the full details of the feud, perhaps no one in the play does, there may be a good reason for it but there may not. Also, nowadays it is perhaps easier to say the parents are to blame for being absent as we are used to seeing parents play a much larger role in their children's lives. This play was written in Elizabethan times when it was common for noble families, such as the Capulets and Montagues, to employ a nurse to raise their children. One cannot really fault the parents if, in Elizabethan society's eyes, they were acting accordingly. On the subject of society, arranged marriages were probably common as well between wealthy families and were seen as the normal and proper thing. It would have been the parents' duty to see their children were well-matched and that is
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