How does Shakespeare communicate his ideas in fate in Romeo and Juliet?
In the Elizabethan times, more people thought that their fate was controlled by God
- Something determined by God: Romeo is outside of the Capulet house and he talks about his dream, using a capital “H” which means that he is referring to God. He is referring to the fact that he thinks whoever is controlling his life can steer him in whichever direction that they would like.
- Explaining the events before they happen in the prologue: In the prologue, Romeo and Juliet are described as having “ill-fated lives” and that they are a pair of “star-crossed lovers”.
- Romeo referring to himself as a ship at sea: ” Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on The dashing rocks thy seasick, weary bark”.
- Consequences for actions
- One chance or event can change someone’s whole future: If you choose to do something you are invested in it going well. One little choice that you make can have a highly significant effect on our lives and you can end up regretting it.
- Coincidences: When Romeo and Benvolio were walking along the street and Capulets servant that couldn’t read came and asked them to read the list of names for Capulet’s banquet, without this coincidence Romeo may have never met Juliet. This little coincidence had a huge effect on the series of events that followed, which were good for the two families but not good for Romeo and Juliet. Friar Lawrence tripping over headstones and arriving too late to the churchyard.
The Romeo and Juliet play is constrained in a rhythm that controls the fate of the two protagonists, in some places in the play the iambic pentameter does not continue which may be a signal that a character is breaking away from their predetermined course. The rhythm is like the beating of our hearts, it is not predetermined but we need it to live
Examples of Fate
In the Play
- Prologue: Predicts significant events in the play
- Metaphor: Romeo referring to God “He that hath the steerage of my course, direct my sail”
- Iambic pentameter: sits invisibly behind the words of the Romeo and Juliet play, sometimes it breaks down and does not continue (moment of free will for the characters?). Heartbeat – cant be controlled. Soft/heavy – Sometimes small events have big consequences for your future.
- Dreams and premonitions:
- Symbolism in the film: – When Romeo kills Tybalt, Pathetic fallacy, Statue of Jesus, virgin mary’s in Juliet’s bedroom – God watching over the characters