Fate Essay

Shakespeare develops fate all throughout his storyline in Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare does this by having series of events that happen without the characters control. Set in Shakespearean time, fate was thought to lead peoples lives. The idea of fate is “the development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power”. There are several ways Shakespeare carried out fate in which being, the plot, prologue, dramatic irony, and metaphors. Fate works alongside many writing strategies and is conveyed throughout the whole of Romeo and Juliet.


The idea of fate in Romeo and Juliet is conveyed by Shakespeare in a series of events that coincidence occurs in. In Shakespearian time, society identified fate as Gods will. Because of this when a coincidence arises they believe that these are Gods intentions. We first see this in Romeo and Juliet when Capulets servant runs into Romeo and Benvolio, the servant cannot read so he asks these two boys to help him read the guest list to the party, where Romeo and Juliet are to meet and fall in love. The servant states “If you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup of wine”. Shakespeare has also used coincidence to convey fate when Romeo drinks a poison which will end his life because he never got the news about Juliets fake death as he lay there dead Friar Lawrence came running in to find Romeo dead and Juliet just waking up but it was too late. Friar quoted “Saint Francis be my speed! How oft tonight have my old feet stumbled at graves!”. These coincidences influence events in the story that Romeo and Juliets fate was to meet, fall in love and could not be prevented from killing themselves. Many other features work alongside the plot in Romeo and Juliet to underline the requirement of the death of the two children and their families compromise.


Fate creates a powerful effect all throughout Romeo and Juliet, beginning in the prologue. The prologue starts the whole playoff, explaining almost exactly everything bound to happen. “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life” is a line in the prologue, which implies battling against the stars. In Elizabethan England, your destiny was thought to be influenced by the stars. When Romeo exclaims that “Then I defy you, stars!” he is stating that he is not going to pay attention to what the stars are informing and he will continuously love Juliet, therefore not listening to his destiny. The prologue is significant to the story for it creates a sense of fate by providing the audience with knowledge at the start of the play. For instance when “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life” is used, and automatically it forms expectations for later on in the tale. The prologue impacts the assumptions made on the story and confirms the fate set to be throughout the storyline.


Consistently throughout Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare accounts metaphors. Metaphors create an image in the readers mind. In this case, Shakespeare is using metaphors to create an image of fate, which is where something is destined to happen. Mostly metaphors throughout Romeo and Juliet have been focused around the start of the play. Including the words of Juliet which declare, “This bud of love, by summers ripening breathe, may prove a beauteous flower when we meet next”. The bud of a flower is undeveloped and yet to grow, claiming that this is what the relationship between Juliet and Romeo is. This statement is also referring to their relationship to be in fates hands, or letting fate control their path. Yet another example of Shakespeares metaphors leading to fate is when Romeo exclaims that “But he that hath the steerage of my course, direct my sail”. In this scene, Romeo was weary and unsure what his future would hold because of his dreams. Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio were heading to the Capulets party when Romeo started doubting and had one last concern: he includes a feeling that the night’s activities can set in motion the action of fate, leading to untimely death. Ultimately Shakespeare includes fate in may of his metaphors. Metaphors are only one of many features that carry fate throughout Romeo and Juliet.


Shakespeare explores fate in multiple ways and one being dramatic irony. Dramatic irony creates suspense, tension, and empathy. When Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to convey fate, the audience knows something before the characters. When the characters don’t know these things that the audience knows they believe it to be fate or their destiny, informing that God had meant for this to happen. The whole storyline of Romeo and Juliet is based on dramatic irony, this being how Romeo and Juliet are married but no one at all knows (apart from Friar Lawrence). An example of how fate was held during dramatic irony is when Juliet is on her balcony considering her love for Romeo as she says, “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And ill no longer be a Capulet”. When this scene occurred Juliet did not know, yet the audience did, Romeo was underneath the balcony. Fate lies into this scene for if Romeo did not here this thought of Juliets they may not have ended up together. Dramatic irony creates suspense and conveys fate through that suspense.

To conclude William Shakespeare conveyed fate throughout the whole story of Romeo and Juliet. The idea of fate was carried out by a variety of writing techniques including metaphors, dramatic irony, the plot and the prologue. Humans cannot decide whether our lives are controlled by fate today, although Shakespeare has shown us that it can be. 

One Comment

  1. Reading: 6A – Confident and thorough examination of a range of sophisticated dramatic and language effects
    Writing 6A – Straight-forward, well-organised and clear analysis, conveying ideas that are sophisticated using detailed evidence.


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