“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved,” as quoted by William Jennings Bryan, in my opinion, is the one sentence moral of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Even from the preliminary lines, people read or watch Shakespeare’s tragedy already knowing the inevitable outcome, the catastrophic death of both Romeo and Juliet. The play shows that fate is in control, but also that it often uses Romeo and Juliet’s fatal flaw to deepen the predicament.
Romeo’s fatal flaw is impetuousness. From the beginning, Romeo acts without thinking of the consequences. For example, when a Capulet servant asks for a list of invited people for a party to be read out, Romeo reads it out, but decides to go to the party himself; knowing Capulet is his enemy. Secondly, Romeo kills Tybalt out of rage, even though he knows it makes things all the worse for his current situation with Tybalt’s cousin, Juliet. After Romeo kills Tybalt, he grieves his mistake by saying, “O, I am fortune’s fool!” (III, i, 130). Lastly, if Romeo had just taken some time to say prayers or thought about what he was doing before he resorted to suicide, he could have been in the tomb in time for the Friar to arrive and explain everything.
Likewise, Juliet’s fatal flaw is impetuousness. To explain, during the balcony scene, Juliet hurries Romeo into marriage. She constantly questions his love for her and rushes him into marriage by saying things like, “If…thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow,” (II, ii, 143&144). Secondly, like Romeo, she kills herself over what could be just infatuation. Juliet is not even 14 years old; she could still have a lot in store for her.
Even though fate traps Romeo and Juliet by their fatal flaw, many things happen to their misfortune and is not their fault. For example, the letter sent by the Friar does not reach Romeo by a random incident. Secondly, fate puts Romeo and Juliet in opposite Houses and therefore puts their relationship under jeopardy. Lastly, out of all the people the Capulet Servant could have gotten help from for reading the invitation list, Romeo had to be the one; this is too good to be true.
The Friar’s flaw, which in the end had a big effect on this tragedy, is to be a “Mr. Fix-it-all.” To begin with, the Friar offers to marry Romeo and Juliet, even though he knows there is a lot of feuding going on between the families. Although the Friar intends to stop the feuding, he should know better than to bring these two teens into such a quandary. In addition, the Friar gives Juliet the potion for a short-time coma, which complicates things all the more.
In conclusion, this whole play revolves around fate. All the main characters in this tragedy have a fatal flaw that eventually leads to their doom or grievance. As said by William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”