Themes for Romeo and Juliet Essay

2306 Words Mar 4th, 2011 10 Pages
FATE - There are forces in life over which people have no control.
• Shakespeare portrays Romeo and Juliet as "star-crossed lovers," doomed by fate to a tragic end.
• Bad luck and unfortunate coincidences abound: (1) Of all the people the illiterate Capulet servant could have asked to read the invitation list in Act I, scene 2, he chooses Benvolio, Mercutio, and Romeo; (2) Of all the hotties at the Capulet party, Romeo spots Juliet first; (3) It just so happens that the County Paris decides he wants to marry Juliet the same day Romeo meets her; (4) Friar John is detained and unable to deliver an important letter to Romeo in Mantua; (5) If Romeo would have waited one more minute, Juliet would have awaken and the two could have fled
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Thinking Juliet is dead, Romeo immediately commits suicide. But Juliet has only been feigning death to escape her parents' anger. She, too, commits suicide when she realizes that Romeo is dead. Whether the values of the old or the young (or the tension between them) are most to blame for the lovers' tragic deaths is a question the play poses to audiences and readers.

Transience
Romeo and Juliet's love gains its power from the play's constant reminders that life, love and beauty are ultimately fleeting. Romeo and thirteen-year-old Juliet fall in love at first sight, marry within twenty-four hours of their first meeting, and die in each others' arms only days later. Their passion for each other is so all-consuming that it seems impossible that it could have been sustained any longer. The lovers' awareness of their own transience is crucial to the intensity of their passion. In one of their early scenes, Juliet confesses she is afraid of the swiftness of their relationship. "It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden," she tells Romeo, "Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be ere one can say, 'It lightens.'" Her words are prescient: their love is just as brilliant, and as brief, as a flash of lightning.

Mortality
Freud argued that human love was propelled by two opposing drives: eros, the desire for love, and thanatos, the desire for death. But centuries before Freud, Romeo and Juliet provided a very different view of the relationship

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