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In William Shakespeare?s play Romeo and Juliet, there is much controversy to who is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. In this tragedy, the two family?s on-going feud drives Romeo to kill one of Juliet?s relatives and thus he finds himself banned from Verona. They then construct a plan to meet again, but when the plan goes awry, the two ” star-crossed lovers” take their own lives. The question now, where to lay the blame of their deaths. The deaths can be blamed on the parents, the friar, or Romeo and Juliet.
The parents of Juliet can easily be seen as the motive for their deaths. One reason for this is that they are pushing Juliet to marry Paris. ” Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender of me child?s love? a Thursday, tell her she shall marry this noble earl”(12-21). This section shows of Capulet?s agreement with Paris to have him marry Juliet. Juliet loves Romeo, and not Paris, but her father?s thoughts of Paris being a suitable match make it so she has to marry him. Juliet, not thinking into the future and what else could be possible, makes haste decisions after her father tells her, ” I tell thee what- get to church a Thursday or never after look me in the face. Speak not, reply not, do not answer”(61-63), and goes to the friar looking to kill herself. Her father then later makes a decision to move the wedding up to Wednesday. This greatly upsets Juliet. The desire of her father for her to marry and calling her a wretch and hussy run Juliet into a corner with nothing left to do to save herself, except herself. Also, after Romeo kills Tybalt Juliet?s mom says, ” I?ll send one in Mantua, where that same banished runagate doth live, shall give him such an unaccustomed dram that he should soon keep Tybalt company, and then I hope thou wilt be satisfied,”(87-93). This gives Juliet the thought that Romeo will be killed if her parents can have anything to do with it and that she will have to live without him. “Come, cords, come, Nurse, I?ll to my wedding bed, and death, not Romeo take my maidenhead,”(136-137) explains that Juliet would rather die a virgin rather than live without Romeo. The parents have proven many times how they could be the cause of the lovers? deaths.
The Friar can also be blamed for the deaths. For one, he is the person that agrees to marry the lovers. “In one respect I?ll thy assistant be; for this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households? rancor to pure love,”(93-94). Though the friar may mean good, he can ultimately be traced back to their deaths. If he had not married them, than maybe Romeo and Juliet would have forgotten about each other, or ran away together, or solved their problems in other ways. The friar also could be blamed because he is the one that thought of the plan. By doing this, he foreshadows the deaths. He gives another complication to the plot, while he is still trying to do good. His plan, although it could work, probably is not plausible. This is seen by all the bends that have to take place in order for it to actually work. “Hold, daughter. I do spy a kind of hope?And in this borrowed likeness of shrunken death, thou shalt continue two and forty hours and then awake from a pleasant sleep?In the meantime, against thou shalt awake, shall Romeo by my letters know our drift and hither shall he come,”(69-116). This tells of the friars plan and shows how outrageous it truly is. Lastly, Friar Lawrence could be to blame because he should have been there in the cell to stop Romeo from killing himself and then from Juliet also for killing herself. If he had been there, then Romeo would have never taken to poison because he would have known that Juliet was not really dead. He said that he was going to be in the cell waiting for Juliet to wake up, but he wasn?t. When Romeo killed himself, it was just moments before Juliet woke up, so he should have been down there to save both of them.
Lastly, Romeo and Juliet could be to blame for their own deaths. Many times, the couple act irrationally which ultimately leads them to death. Romeo has a very irrational and hasty personality. When seeing him for the first time, he has fallen for Rosaline, another girl, and he is all weepy and sad and ” end of the world”-ish about his love for her. But then when Romeo meets Juliet, he immediately forgets about Rosaline. “Our Romeo hath not been in bed tonight. The last is true; the sweeter rest was mine. God pardon sin! Was thou with Rosaline? With Rosaline, my ghostly father? No. I have forgot that name, and that name?s woe”(43-47). Also, the children could be at fault because Romeo killed Tybalt. By doing this, he was banned from Verona and thus further upsets Juliet and now they have to go make a plan to get the two back together. If Romeo had not acted so irrationally, then he might not have killed Tybalt and then Juliet?s parents might not have had as big of a deal about the couple and hating Romeo. IF the children were more grown up, then they would have seen what the future could bring them and not had to make such haste decisions. ” Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight. Let?s see for means. O mischief thou art swift to enter in the thoughts of desperate men. I do remember an apothecary”(34-37), tells of how Romeo heard of Juliet?s death and decides that he can?t live without her and so he will kill himself to be with her. This passage shows again how the Romeo and Juliet could have been at fault for their own deaths.
There are many to blame for the deaths, the parents, Friar Lawrence, and Romeo and Juliet, but each has its own good qualities of why it could be those people. It is really a personal decision on who is at fault and how you view the book. But either way, someone is do blame.