22nd May 2018

Fate Essay

The concept of fate in Romeo and Juliet is communicated by Shakespeare through a chain of events that happen by supposed coincidence. In this essay, there will be demonstrations of how fate is regarded in Romeo and Juliet through Metaphors, Dramatic Irony, Iambic Pentameters, Soliloquy, and Fate.

In Romeo and Juliet fate is determined by God. The theme of Fate is incorporated by Shakespeare many times. One of these moments happens when Romeo is outside the Capulet household and is saying “He that hath steerage of my course, direct my sail.” Shakespeare is well-known for using many metaphors.  This is just one example.

A Metaphor is a technique used to describe something that isn’t literally related to the subject, in this case, Romeo’s life and God’s Will and this help us to understand what Shakespeare wants to tell us without saying it directly.  Here, Shakespeare shows that Romeo is on the boat of Life, but where the boat goes is not in Romeo’s control.  This shows that Shakespeare is referring to God because the captain is the helmsman of a ship who directs its course. When he says this, Romeo has decided, in spite of his misgivings, to take his risk and follow his fate. Shakespeare does this often. This technique is called Dramatic Irony.

Dramatic irony is when the situation or speech is understood by the audience but not the characters. Sometimes one or some of the characters understands what is occurring and one or some of the characters don’t foresee what is coming when the audience can and therefore it grasps the attention of the audience better. Another example of Dramatic Irony is when Benvolio and Mercutio think that Romeo is pining for Rosaline and still in love with her, but we know that he’s together with Juliet.  They are having a talk about Rosaline and Romeo just laughs and Benvolio and Mercutio think that he has had close contact with Rosaline but he is just laughing because they have no idea.  The audience knows this too.

The opposite of Dramatic Irony is when the characters know something that the audience doesn’t.  An example of this is when Juliet and Friar Lawrence find out that Romeo is being banished by the Prince and that they need to come up with a plan so that Romeo and Juliet can be together.  So, Juliet and Friar Lawrence make up a concoction to make it look like Juliet is dead so she could have free passage into the Capulet tomb and Friar Lawrence would send a  letter to Romeo explaining their plan how Juliet, Friar Lawrence, and Romeo would meet so that they can get away together.

Another one of Shakespeare’s literary techniques is Iambic Pentameter. This is when there’s one short and one long word. Like when Romeo says “Arise fair sun, and kill the envious moon “. He says this when he is watching Juliet, whilst she is on the balcony looking upon the Capulet Orchard. This has ten symbols and five words. This is a type of Meter.

The idea of fate in Romeo And Juliet is conveyed by Shakespeare through a series of events that happen by coincidence. In Elizabethan England, society perceived fate as the will of God. Due to this, when a coincidence occurred, they considered this to be a sign of Gods intentions. We first see this in Romeo and Juliet when Romeo and Benvolio run into the Capulet Servant who is carrying an invitation to the Capulet party where Juliet and Romeo are to meet and fall in love. Because the servant cannot read, he asks Romeo to read the guest list for him and he says “If you be not the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup of wine”. This also proves that Fate is incorporated in this play.

“The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night” This is one of the many noble things that Friar Lawrence says in the play. This is referring to the rising and setting of the sun, and how you can’t stop it no matter how hard you try. This is in parallel to the theme of Fate – again it is something that can’t be altered by us in any way, shape or form.

In conclusion, Fate played a huge part in Romeo and Juliet. Which leaves us with an unforgettable question. Is Fate real? Is God our helmsman? Are our lives already predetermined for us before our eyes open, and begin the quest of life? We may never know. But what we can do and what we have the option to do is to. Make decisions.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Reading: 6B – Confident examination of a range of sophisticated dramatic and language effects. Sometimes these effects, for example Dramatic Irony, are not clearly linked to the idea of fate as the question asks.
    Writing 6B – Straight-forward, largely well-organised and clear analysis, supported with well-integrated evidence. Occasional minor lapses in spelling and sentence structure.


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