Death and Responsibility in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Death is an elusive concept that binds and connects a series of themes
and issues that occur in Romeo and Juliet. To discuss whether Romeo
and Juliet are responsible for their deaths, one must analyse various
causes of this tragedy. This essay will explore the following reasons:
family feuds, love, passion, and fate.
First, it is important to understand the characters. Romeo we know is
the only son and the main character in the story. It starts with him
thinking he is in love with Rosaline (a lady whom we never see). It is
not long before we discover the idea of being a lover appeals to ...view middle of the document...
Romeo is a passionate, impulsive,
impatient young lad; his immaturity and passion could be the motive
for his death. Juliet, who is similar to Romeo, also shares these
common characteristics of being passionate and a true lover (there
similarities could easily be the bond of their love), if these
characteristics were non-existent amongst the characters, the story
may not have ended in a tragedy.
Passion is a very important theme leading to the deaths of Romeo and
Juliet. It is involved throughout the play, from beginning to end. For
example at the beginning, the servants feel it as a duty to fight each
other as an act of passion, on the other hand Tybalt makes a mockery
of this concept, as he is always bursting with aggression and picking
fights (there you have a complete contrast in just fighting and
fighting with passion).
Passion affects Romeo significantly, his love for Rosaline, his love
for Juliet, the rage that makes him kill Tybalt. We learn Romeo is a
very passionate character and evidently it shows how deep his passion
and love really is, even right from the beginning when he meets Juliet
and displays his act of romance.
"O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do!"
After having observed the theme of passion in the play, it is not hard
to notice how this may be the cause of the tragedy. Romeo and Juliet
were very passionate to each other; their passion alone does justify
their deaths. It is significantly portrayed how the feuds between the
two families are also an act of passion, which add to the intensity of
"Here's much to do with hate"
If there was no passion and no feud the deaths may not have occurred,
so passion is an arguable cause of their deaths.
As well as passion, the key reason could be love. Love flowers
throughout the play, it plays a significant role, and without love,
there would be no Romeo and Juliet. Love is extreme throughout the
story and was the reason why Romeo and Juliet met. It therefore
appears in many different forms; at the beginning, Sampson and Gregory
speak of love like immature children and react by laughing. Love is
talked about in different ways, for example when Mercutio and the
nurse mention it; they talk from a bawdy point of view. On the other
hand, the love of Romeo and Juliet is so strong and deep that it is
more powerful than hatred or death.
Romeo and Juliet were quite young and maybe it was adolescent passion,
or young love which made them unaware of the consequences, and lead
them to this tragedy. Perhaps Romeo and Juliet thought killing
themselves was the only possible way, as if one of them were to
survive, how were they to live. Who were they to love? Death seemed
the only answer to these questions.
Friar Lawrence plays a significant role in the play; his good