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Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare is a popular and legendary play Wright from the a Elizabethan era. Shakespeare's plays have stood the test and time and still appeal to audiences today. He wrote classics such as 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Macbeth' and 'The Taming of the Shrew'. Shakespeare was a incredibly popular play Wright during Elizabeth I reign as Queen of England and at this time Britain was a Christian country . The English had a very poor opinion of their own language and their was very little serious writing, hardly any literature, Shakespeare was educated at a local grammar school and went on to become one of the worlds most successful play wrights. He also wrote two long poems and a collections of sonnets, that appealed to Elizabeth I, a great admirer of Shakespeare's work. His plays were a variety of comedy, tragedy and romance,

One of Shakespeare's classics plays is 'Romeo and Juliet'. He is said to have written the play in 1597 aprox. Shakespeare tells the tale of two star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, whose short romance is plagued with tragedy. The play focus's on popular themes such as romance, tragedy, death and violence. Shakespeare was inspired by a poem by Arthur Brook called, 'The Tragicall Histoire of Romeus and Juliet.' The poem never got much acknowledgment or recognition but Shakespeare used it as the basis for writing a play about, who are now, the world's most famous lovers.

Romeo and Juliet's meeting is told in the form of sonnets, which were very popular in Elizabeth I court and would appeal to Queen Elizabeth. It is said that Shakespeare wrote his plays with Queen Elizabeth's tastes in mind.

The prologue of the play reveals a lot about the plays theme and how fate plays an important part in the play. We are told that Romeo and Juliet are 'star - crossed lovers' (destined for bad luck) and 'death marked'. we know that their relationship will be plagued with death. The prologue actually reveals the plot and could be seen as ruining the play. However many of Shakespeare's audience were looking to enjoy how well it was told, not seeking to be surprised by original plot turns.

Fate and fortune are closely related in this play. In the Elizabethan era people strongly believed in superstition, fate, destiny and the wheel of fortune. People believed they had no influence in their life as everything was already planned out.

In this essay I will study how fate plays an important part in Romeo and Juliet and I will also study if Romeo and Juliet had the ability to choose what to do or if their short lives were predestined"

The play is filled with references to fate and fortune. Everything seems to fall in place and this theme appealed to Elizabethans. Events that happen later in the play link back to other events earlier on and it seem evident that Romeo and Juliet's lives are ruled by the wheel of fortune.

Romeo is a young son of the Montague's. He is dramatic and constantly in love. Juliet is the daughter of the Capulet's, the rival family of the Montague's. She is quite naïve and has always obeyed her parents wishes, until she meets Romeo. They meet by chance, fall in love and begin a relationship plagued with tragedy. They marry in secret but soon after Romeo is banished for killing Juliet's cousin, Tybalt and Juliet is betrothed to Paris, a family friend. However Juliet posses a potion that makes her appear dead and sends a message to Romeo telling him to be at the tomb when she wakes. However Romeo never receives the message and believes she is dead. He then kills himself so they can be reunited in death. Then Juliet awakens and realising what has happened, kills herself. Their relationship that starts in haste finishes just as fast. The two families, Capulet's and Montague's, are then re united in their grief.

Throughout the play Romeo is dramatic and constantly predicts his own death. In Act 5,before he goes to the Capulet's ball he predicts that his death will be soon, 'Of a despised life clos'd in my breast, by some vile forfeit of untimely death.' He is predicting that he will die before his time, which he eventually does. It's strange that a young, carefree man should be concerned about death. This also leaves the audience in suspense, wondering what will occur at the ball.

The reason that Romeo is attending the Capulet's ball is entirely down to fate. Entirely by chance, a servant of the Capulet's had asked him to read an invitation list for a Capulet ball (the servant could not read himself), 'But I pray, can you read any thing you see..' At this time Romeo is desperately in love with a girl called Roseline and attends the party in the hope of seeing her. However he meets Juliet and falls in love with her. This is an example of Romeo and Juliet were destined to meet and destined to fall in love. It also is an example of events in the play 'fall into place'.

When Juliet is talking to her nurse after meeting Romeo she is desperate and dramatic. She has barley known Romeo but yet she is desperately in love with him, 'If he be married my grave be my wedding bed.' She means that

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