The Death of Romeo and Juliet Argumentative Essay Example


Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy of two star - crossed lovers, and arguably one of the greatest plays of all time. It was written by William Shakespeare during the 1500s (the Elizabethan era). Romeo and Juliet’s setting takes place in Verona, Italy. Both Romeo and Juliet are part of two rival families, Romeo to the Montagues and Juliet to the Capulets. They meet by chance, fall in love at first sight, and decide to get married. Anon, Romeo is exiled from Verona, and Juliet fakes her death to be with her lord. Unfortunately, they both die untimely deaths, as Romeo did not know that Juliet had faked her death. As the story concludes, it is obvious that the unfortunate deaths of the two lovebirds were not accidental or unlucky, as it seems to be, but the consequence of the decisions made by a few key people. In the end, through the way Shakespeare orchestrated the events and conceived the characters, it is clear to see that the person who is responsible for the untimely deaths of Romeo and Juliet, is not just a singular person, but a multitude of them, namely; Paris, Mercutio and Tybalt, the two families, and Friar Lawrence

Out of the surprisingly long list of people who are to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, Paris is the least culpable. He is by no means completely innocent, but not altogether guilty either. Incredible is his resolve to marry Juliet that it seemed as if he truly did love her as can be seen near the conclusion of act 5:

That is the banished haughty Montague

That murdered my love’s cousin, with which grief

It is supposed the fair creature died,

And here is to come to do some villainous shame

To the dead bodies. I will apprehend him. (5.3.49-53)

He evidently states that Romeo had killed his love’s cousin, calling Juliet his love which is not a title a man will give a woman easily. He would have had to have been deeply in love with Juliet to refer to her as his love. In addition, one of the reasons that Paris stepped out of the shadows to apprehend Romeo that night is because he thought Romeo was to blame for Juliet’s death. To fight the supposed murderer of another person must mean you deeply cared for the person who is murdered. If that is not evidence enough, the setting at which Paris is currently standing before spotting Romeo should be more than adequate. He is standing at Juliet’s grave at night, long after everyone else had departed, including her parents.

To stand at the grave of another person long past the burial is a showing sign of grief and in order to grieve for someone, in most cases, there has to be love from at least one party to another. This all leads to the fact that Paris did love Juliet, but did not know Juliet did not reciprocate those feelings and instead loves another, Romeo. His desire to get married to Juliet is what brought her to Friar Lawrence seeking a way to avoid marrying him. If he had not so strongly wished to marry her, and so quickly, Juliet and Friar Lawrence could have found a superior, safer, plan to reunite Juliet and Romeo. So in conclusion, it was not Paris himself that was the cause, but instead, it is his intentions that ended the lives of Romeo and Juliet so early.

An additional brace of characters that have managed to make it up on this list is one of Romeo’s best friends, Mercutio, and Romeo’s self-proclaimed rival, Tybalt. Both these men had an equal part in the young couple’s demise, and it is a mixture of pride and anger that culminated in the fight between these two. “Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries/ That thou hast done me. Therefore turn and draw” (3.1.67-68). In this scene, Tybalt is filled with hatred for Romeo. In a scene earlier in the book, Romeo and a couple of his friends crash a party that Capulet had hosted, the exact same party where Romeo met Juliet. Unbeknownst to them, Tybalt had spotted Romeo and reported it to Capulet in displeasure that Romeo and his posse had the audacity to crash his uncle’s party. He wanted to intervene, but Capulet waved him off, not wanting blood to be spilled in his house. After this encounter, Tybalt wanted revenge and finally found the opportunity to do so the very day that Romeo married Juliet. On any other day, Romeo would have fought Tybalt, but now Tybalt is his cousin-in-law, and under no circumstance do you fight family. Romeo responds to Tybalt’s accusation and demand to fight with:

I do protest I never injured thee

But love thee better than thou canst devise

Till thou shalt know the reason of my love.

And so, good Capulet, which name I tender

As dearly as mine own, be satisfied. (3.1.69-73)

Now, everything could have been over and both parties, Capulets and Montagues alike, could have gone their separate ways, but Mercutio could not let a demand to fight from a Capulet go unanswered, for that would sully the family name of Montague. So he responds to Romeo’s dismissal of the fight with:

O calm, dishonorable, vile submission!

Alla staccato carries it away. {He draws}

Tybalt, you ratcatcher, will you walk? (3.1.74-76)

Afterward, nearing the end of the fight it is undoubtedly one-sided with Mercutio being outmatched by Tybalt. Romeo gets in the way of the fight to stop them but only ends up helping Tybalt kill Mercutio. Out of vengeance and grief, Romeo fights Tybalt and kills him as well, which concludes with the Prince banishing Romeo from Verona. If Tybalt was not so hot-headed, and Mercutio so prideful, the fight could have been avoided and Romeo would not have ended up killing Tybalt. Their action directly affected what happened in the end because Romeo would never have been banished, Juliet would not have had to fake her death and both of them may not have had to die early deaths.

In the end, Romeo and Juliet would never have had to keep their love a secret, and all the events that took place afterward would not have happened if it was not for the fact that they were part of two rival houses, the Montagues and Capulets. In addition, the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt only took place because of the rivalry between the two families. If there was no rivalry between the families, Tybalt would never have been so infuriated at Romeo for crashing his uncle’s party and would never have sought out after him. Then all the events that took place after would not have happened and Romeo and Juliet may still have been alive.

Even the characters in the play feel as if it is the families fault for the early deaths of the young couple, as can be seen from this monologue from the Prince. “Came to this vault to die and lie with Juliet. / Where be these enemies?-Capulet, Montague, / See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, / That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love, . .” (5.3.297-303). The Prince clearly states that the hate between the Capulets and Montagues is the reason for the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. He further states that their tenacious hate for each other is the reason why God decided to kill their greatest joys in life, their children. It is a type of lesson, in a way, signifying to the Capulets and Montagues that they should make up with each other, for hate between them can only bring more awful tidings. If only they had decided to make up before Romeo and Juliet maybe, just maybe, those two would still be alive reveling in joy with their families.

While the hate between the two families was a major driving force behind the premature deaths of Romeo and Juliet, they were not the main culprits for the deaths. That title belongs to Friar Lawrence. It could also be professed that the Nurse had a hand in the outcome of the young couple’s love. She tells Juliet that maybe she should marry Paris, and goes on further to claim that Paris is superior to Romeo. For that reason, Juliet goes to the Friar, instead of the Nurse, and comes up with the plan that ends up with her actually dead. Coming back to the Friar, his intentions were true, but the plan he came up with is absolutely awful. For example, he marries Romeo and Juliet in secret, hoping that it would ease tensions between the families, but he did not take into consideration how the families would react to such a bold act, which they probably would have acted poorly if they found out. If the plan was not bad enough, he had the chance to save Juliet, but instead ran away like a coward when he heard noises come from outside the tomb. He eventually realizes that it was his fault and even admits it to the Prince, while throwing the Nurse under the bus as well:

But he which bore my letter, Friar John,

Was stayed by accident, and yesternight . . .

But then a noise did scare me from the tomb,

And she, too desperate, would not go with me

But, as it seems, did violence on herself.

All this I know, and to the marriage

Her nurse privy. And if aught in this

Miscarried by my fault, let my old life 

Be sacrificed some hour before his time. (5.3.271-277).

As if his admission of guilt could change what already happened, the Friar professes that it is his plan that ended in disaster for all parties involved. While he does seem sorrowful and regret his actions, even asking to be killed in return, that does not excuse him from the fact that the deaths of Romeo and Juliet are heavily linked to him. If he had stayed back with Juliet there would be a very high chance that Juliet would still be alive, albeit very depressed. His intentions were true, but the way he put his plan into action is his catastrophic downfall.

On the other hand, it could be said that no one was responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, and instead it was fate that is the main perpetrator. Fate is a major motif throughout the book, and both lovers feel it is what brought them together and ripped them apart. Romeo even stated, when he found out Juliet was declared dead,“Is it e’en so? - Then I deny you, stars!-” (5.1.25). Romeo threw some shade at fate, stars being a way to decipher one’s fate, not knowing that Juliet is still alive, and it can be inferred that fate reacted by ending their lives swiftly. However, this cannot be the case, since fate is not real nor sentient in any sense of the word. What guided the two lovers to their quick deaths is the clear logical flow of events in the book, and the exertion of free-will by all the characters that ended with the two lovers live’s cut short, not a pre-destined ending, or in other words fate.

Romeo and Juliet may not have been the greatest, nor brightest, people on the planet, but that certainly did not mean that they should have died such early deaths. Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in a way that makes it seem as if both of them were truly in love, and to have their lives cut so short before they could even spend a full day together, makes a reader be filled with anguish. Just think of all the joy they could have had together, settling down, creating a family, and loving each other until old age came for them both. That is why it is so important to find who was responsible for their deaths, not only to have someone to despise but to also see what events transpired to have had this type of outcome.

Despising each other, the hatred between the Montagues and Capulets is what leads to the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt, Their fight was what got Romeo exiled from Verona coupled with Paris’s love and longing to be married to Juliet is what leads Juliet to Friar Lawrence, who in turn fails to notify Romeo of the plan, and left Juliet when he heard the Watch coming. Romeo and Juliet’s story could also be related to modern day stories as well. There are a lot of young people who are in love all over the world whose relationships end in disaster, be it because they have no one to turn to, their families forbid it, or they got awful advice. Together, as a community, fellow human beings need to be protecting and helping these young couples so that they may be together and love each other without having to worry about anything that could disrupt their relationships. For if no one helps, their lives, or relationships, could come to a sudden end, and the Prince said it best, “For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo” (5.3.320-321).

 

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