Was it fate, a feud between two rival families, love at first sight, a dangerous plan, or just bad luck that led to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? Ending with two tragic suicides, the classic story of “Romeo and Juliet” written by William Shakespeare, depicts the lives of two star crossed lovers who try to be together against all odds and obstacles that stand in their way. While all the characters play a role in cultivating the disastrous ending, the Montague and Capulet Families are most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Due to their intense feud, various fights, and lack of empathy, the actions of these families greatly influences the final outcome of the story.
The first reason these families are to blame is because of their feud that causes Romeo and Juliet to go to extreme lengths to be together. Before the lovers even meet, Shakespeare establishes the rivalry between these families in the lines: During the prologue, he immediately communicates to the audience how much these families despise each other and would never be satisfied with one of the members marrying another from the opposing family. Shakespeare even admits that these lovers are star crossed and will commit suicide, because of their family’s hatred towards a potential relationship. His foreshadowing allows the audience to understand that because of the feud Romeo and Juliet’s future relationship will have major challenges, emphasizing the idea that the two families are at most to blame. This is proven to be true throughout the play, as when Juliet figures out who Romeo is, she says to herself This shows how the feud has been forced onto her, as a stigma towards the Montagues has been developed. Later in the play, the feud has consequences as it leads to the development of Friar Lawerence’s plan which ultimately ends up with the lovers committing suicide, making the two families to blame. If there was no rivalry in the first place, none of the tragic events that occur later in the play would have occurred as Juliet and Romeo would have been happily married. This tension between the two families is further solidified by Shakespeare, through utilizing literary devices such as imagery and mood. This is achieved through diction, such as “mutiny”, “grudge”, “deadly”, and “star-crossed” Shakespeare’s intent is to emotionally convey the lengths the families would go to stop the lovers from being together. This enhances the audience’s engagement and emotion towards the story as they become very empathetic towards Romeo and Juliet, relating to them from a personal level. The audience feels disappointment towards the families and blames them for the feud that forced the lovers to commit suicide, just to be together. This supports the thesis as both the plot and feelings developed by the audience demonstrate how the Montagues and Capulets are to blame.
Furthermore, the families particularly Lord Capulet is to blame as his lack of empathy for Juliet forces her to devise a plan that ends up with her death. Throughout the play, Lord Capulet exhibits firm, apathetic control over his daughter, not putting any effort towards putting himself into Juliet’s perspective to understand her problems. His true character is most clearly defined when he reacts to Juliet’s response after he forces her to marry ParisThis example shows how Lord Capulet’s firm, merciless, and selfish decisions can be blamed for Juliet’s death. Words such as “fool of a daughter” and “die on the streets” demonstrate how his behavior results in her becoming scared, isolated, alone, and even disappointed in him. He has the Nurse raise Juliet, lacking the chance to connect and build a connection with his daughter. When he calls Paris “The man of my daughter’s dream” it is clear how he doesn’t know anything about Juliet or how she feels. This pushes her to the point where she feels that she has to keep the marriage a secret and seeks help from Friar Lawrence. The isolation and lack of trust that drives Juliet to kill herself are heavily influenced by the negative relationship her father developed. If her parents had been loving, understanding, and empathetic Juliet would have been happily living with Romeo, with no plans of ending her life. This negative relationship is also empathized by the structure of the text, which highlights how the families to blame. Shakespeare employs dramatic irony so that the two rival families remain obstinately unaware of the consequences of their animosity on their children. This substantially impacts the audience as, unlike the parents, they can see the negative influence the family has, on the choices Romeo and Juliet make. The audience can also foreshadow that the relationship between the lovers will end poorly, developing feelings of disillusionment, distrust, and hatred towards the families. The tension developed between the audience and families, leads to blame and the realization of the story’s outcome. The Capulet family’s lack of empathy towards Juliet results in her making drastic decisions, such as committing suicide, shows how they are the most responsible for her death.
The classic tale of “Romeo and Juliet” written by William Shakespeare, tells the journey of two star-crossed who go to extreme lengths to be together, despite being the children of rival families. While every character in the play contributes to Romeo and Juliet’s suicide, the Montague and Capulet Families are most responsible for the deaths of the lovers. The feud, intense fights, and lack of empathy the families exhibit throughout the play, has a definite impact on the tragic ending to this heartbreaking story.
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