Friar Laurence recognizes the power of fate to overrule his good intentions when Juliet awakens: “A greater power than we can contradict / Hath thwarted our intents” (V, iii. The fact that Friar Laurence, Juliet, Romeo, and the other characters in the play believe so strongly in fate and fortune is not surprising, given...
(The entire section is 1,902 words.) Light and darkness usually have very definitive meanings in human psychology.
Do the characters have the ability to choose what they want to do, or are they simply destined to participate in death and destruction?
There is ample evidence of both fate and free will in the play, and the presence of both greatly affects the interpretation of the plot and the characters.
The comic aspect of the feud is reinforced when Old Capulet arrives in person in his gown, calls to his wife for a "long sword" and is punctured roundly when she tells him that a crutch is all that he can handle at his advanced age.
Montague arrives, mimics the mindless behavior of the servants and is duly restrained by his wife.In Act V, scene i, Romeo demonstrates his belief in the power of dreams to foretell the future once again when he believes that he will be reunited with Juliet on the basis of another dream. Other characters in the play believe in the power of fate as well.However, when Balthasar informs him that Juliet is dead, Romeo once again rails against the power of fate: “Is it e’en so? Juliet appeals to fortune when Romeo escapes to Mantua in Act III, scene v: “O Fortune, Fortune! If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him That is renowned for faith?While the parental figures of the play, most notably Old Capulet, act as tyrants, civil authority is wanting in Verona.That being so, the cause of the ongoing mutiny that is played out before us does not stem solely from strong parental domination but also from the weak authority of the state as embodied in Prince Escalus.This is not the stuff of menace or of chivalry, and the humor woven into this first display of mutiny in Verona mutes any sense of...(The entire section is 1,116 words.) One of the most important issues in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is that of choice.The characters themselves all believe that their lives are controlled by destiny and luck, and Romeo is a prime example of this.When Romeo and his friends journey to the Capulet’s ball in Act I, scene iv, Romeo hesitates to go because he has had a bad dream: ...[M]y mind misgives Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars, Shall bitterly begin his fearful date With this night’s revels and expire the term Of a despised life, closed in my breast, By some vile forfeit of untimely death (I, iv. Romeo not only acknowledges the power of the stars, which tell what fate has in store through astrology, but he also believes that his destiny is to die.Romeo’s belief in fate also affects his interpretation of events.When Romeo kills Tybalt in Act III, scene i, he claims that he is “fortune’s fool” by having contributed to his own downfall. Romeo finally tries to escape from his destiny at the end of the play by committing suicide to “shake the yoke of inauspicious stars,” ironically fulfilling the destiny declared by the Chorus in the opening prologue.