Question: How does Shakespeare present the hand of fate in his play Romeo and Juliet?

In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Romeo and Juliet, where two young lovers take their lives because of the battling between their two opposing families “which but their children’s end nought could remove,”.  Shakespeare presents the hand of fate in many ways. For example he uses metaphors and coincidence to show life as a journey decided by fate. He describes Romeo as a boat captained by god.

In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare uses metaphors to show the characters thoughts. He uses metaphors to show life as a journey. an example of these metaphors is when Romeo is about to go into the Capulet party and feels that something will go badly and lead to his “untimely death” he says “… He that hath steerage of my course, direct my sail”. This describes Romeo as being a ship and that he is letting go and giving control to the captain. Shakespeare suggests that God is the captain by writing “He” with a capital H in the middle of the sentence which is used to describe God. This is an act of fate because he is giving over and letting God choose the path. later on in the play Shakespeare uses another metaphor that follows on from this one “Thou desperate pilot, at once run on the dashing rocks, thy seasick weary bark” this shows that he followed Gods path and it had not helped him and that he wants the journey to end and his ship to crash. and that he wasn’t happy with the path that was laid out by God.

Shakespeare uses coincidence in this play to create major events and bring Main characters together This is an act of fate. For example Shakespeare brings the Capulet servant that had the invitation and he asks Romeo and Benvolio to read it for him and invites them to the party after they tell him the names on the invitation. At the time Romeo is sad about Rosaline not liking him back and Benvolio convinces him to go to the party because there will be lots of other pretty girls, Romeo only agrees to go because Rosaline was on the list. When they got to the party Romeo sees Juliet and they fall in love. This is an act of fate because it is bringing the two lovers together from the prologue together. this is also coincidence because of the plague that stopped the message from getting to Romeo caused his death which was always going to happen because in the prologue it says “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;”. And in this time christian people believed that God was the creator of sickness and plague which stopped Romeo from getting the message and therefore killing himself. Romeo and Juliet were going to kill themselves from the start and this shows fate.

Shakespeare uses the prologue to communicate the idea of fate in Romeo and Juliet. The prologue tells the audience thing before they happen so the audience would know what is going to happen before it comes up. For example when he says “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;” so this is going to happen and the audience knows that the two star-cross’d lovers will kill themselves and it is the only thing that can stop the families fighting and get peace between the two families and to get peace to all of Verona. It’s like God brought Romeo and Juliet together at the party for them to fall in love and kill themselves and bring the two families together. also the letter didn’t get to Romeo because Friar John got caught in the city with the plague which led to Romeo and Juliet killing themselves and plagues were one of the things that god created. because if the letter did get to Romeo then they would both be alive and the Montague and Capulet’s feud would still be going. 

Shakespeare uses premonition in the play Romeo and Juliet to create tension in the audience and to get their attention. this is used to snap into the future and show a later scene before it happens. For example when Romeo has a dream, of Juliet walking up to her tomb when he wakes he says “I dreamt my lady came and found me dead”. This is going into the future and showing what happens before it does but the audience know that the scene in the dream will eventually come true because of what the prologue had said at the start. This is an act of fate because it shows what is going to happen before it actually happens. Shakespeare shows scenes from the future to show fate showing before it happens and shows that it was always going to happen.

Throughout William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, the hand of fate is repeatedly shown. The hand of fate is used to bring characters together and cause suspense in the audience. Shakespeare shows fate as if the characters life has always been planed out for them and they have no control over it. For example Romeo and Juliet were made to stop the families anger and fighting and bring peace to Verona. Do you think that your life is planned for you?

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Oscar, your paragraph on co-incidence is shaping up well. Here’s some further advice:

    1) Make sure you have a quotation ready before you start writing a paragraph as it will help you further shape it around the meaning of the quotation and it is a lot easier to write your ideas around a quote than to try to bolt a quote on later. Don’t forget that the best answers will also often explore the language used in a quote (how it’s saying it as well as what it is saying)

    2) There are some small errors in sentence construction and capitalisation that you’ll need to attend to before you submit your final piece. Remember reading something aloud will often reveal the grammar errors.

  2. Reading: 5A
    Writing: 5A


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