Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, is a story of two young lovers. These two hearts, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet belong to feuding families. The family feud causes them to keep their love a secret and therefore only Romeo, Juliet, Benvolio, the Nurse and Friar Lawrence know of their love. Romeo and Juliet are able to look past the feud and let themselves fall in mad love with the other. They let themselves do almost anything for the other and at times it seems like too much to do, even for the one they love. Although fate and character traits play a key role in the play, ultimately Rome and Juliets personal choices lead to their downfall.
Fate originates all of the conflicts in Romeo and Juliet, from when they met until they die. Romeo is in love with Rosaline at the very beginning of the story and has just found out that she has taken the vow of chastity. Meanwhile Lord Capulet has given County Paris Juliets hand in marriage if he can wait until she is sixteen. The Capulets have a party so that Juliet and the Count can meet and he can then woo her. When Romeo and Juliet first meet they are at the Capulet party, which Romeo sneaks into. They fall in love at first sight without realizing that they are enemies. Fate brings them together and it is fate that they are enemies. Thought the play, these lovers go through many obstacles that range from arranging a wedding and finding a time to meet to Juliet trying to get out of marrying Paris. The entire time fate is tossing them around. Romeo realizes this after he kills Tybalt, Juliets cousin, in a brawl. At first, Romeo does not want to fight because Romeo and Juliet are already married at this time and he knows that they are cousins. Tybalt asks for a brawl from Romeo but Mercutio fights instead. Mercutio gets killed by Tybalt and that is what makes Romeo mad and fight Tybalt. At the end of the fight when Romeo kills Tybalt and then realizes what he has done he yells out, “O, I am Fortunes fool!” (Shakespeare.3.1.143). And he and Juliet both are little toys for fate. But, they never give up on their love.
Romeo and Juliets traits cause them to go along with their fate and contributes to their downfall. Romeo is very vulnerable to love when he first meets Juliet. After the devastating news he has just heard about Rosaline his friends make him go to the party to see if he can find another girl. Romeo is not planning to find someone to love he was looking for Rosaline when he gets his first glimpse of Juliet. Romeo sees her and thinks that he is in true love with her and is over Rosaline and rushes into things with Juliet. The very first night they meet they confess their love and decide to get married and plan their wedding. Juliet realizes this and actually voices it to Romeo when she says, “It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden/Too like the lightning which doth cease to be”(2.2.125-126). Yet, they do not slow down even though fate has given them fair warning. Romeo and Juliet feel that they are weak without each other. The know very well that their families are feuding, the really just do not care. They are both being stubborn and selfish, wanting what they can not have and wanting everything to go their own way. They love each other enough to do anything for each other but yet, they will not give the other one up for the greater good. All they seem to care about is themselves, their love and their happiness. Romeo and Juliet do not even stop to think about the consequences and think whom they may be hurting or even killing.
Romeo and Juliets personal choices are, in the end, what makes their deaths so tragic. Both of them know very well what can happen to them if anyone finds out that they are wed. They choose to get married anyway. They sneak away and do things their own way. They have to hide everything from their parents and Romeo has to worry about waking up early on their wedding night so that they will not be caught be their parents. Romeo chooses to kill Tyblat after Tybalt kills Mercutio. Romeo is acting through rage, but he can stop himself from killing a man, especially his own cousin. Romeo is now banished from Verona and has to live in Mantua and is unable to see Juliet because he killed Tybalt. After Act Three, Scene 1, things speed up. Many important events take place throughout the rest of the play. One major event is Lord and Lady Capulet telling Juliet that they think that because of all the pain she is experiencing with the loss of her cousin, Tybalt, that she should be wed on Thursday. The day now is Tuesday. The minute the words leave her mothers mouth she refuses. She cannot marry County Paris she already has a husband. At once she goes to Friar Lawrence, whom has made all the arrangements before, and tells him of her woes. The Friar gives Juliet a poison that will make her appear dead for forty hours. She is to take it on Wednesday night before her wedding and then when her parents find her she will be dead and buried in the family vault. When she wakes up Romeo and the Friar will be there to take her away so that Romeo and Juliet will live happily ever after. Juliet rushes home to tell her dad that she will marry Paris so he moves the wedding to Wednesday. Meanwhile the friar that was supposed to get the message to Romeo was quarantined and did not get the message to Romeo. On Wednesday, Balthasar tells Romeo that she is dead. Right away he goes to Verona to open the vault and be with Juliet. He sees her and decides to take his life with by drinking poison saying, “Heres to my love. O true apothecary,/They drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die”(5.3.119-120). When Juliet awakes in the vault she sees Romeo dead and slays herself also. She choose to take her life with these last words, “Yea noise? Then Ill be brief. O, happy dagger,/This is my sheath there rust and let me die”(5.3.174-175). Here it is shown that they are clearly choosing to die. In the end they feel that they can take their fate into their own hands, and take their lives in their own hands as well.
Fate and character traits contribute very much to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, but their personal choices take their lives in the end. Romeo and Juliets lives are tainted by fate in so many ways in many forms. These two are very stubborn, selfish, and rush into things and do not think ahead. But most of all Romeo and Juliet choose their own fate when they take the actions of killing themselves. Romeo and Juliet will be a timeless classic for years to come as entertainment, a love story, and even a tragedy.