Who is to blame for the tragic occurrence that is Romeo and Juliet’s death? In my opinion, I believe that one single person cannot be blamed for this incident. Therefore, I have narrowed it down to the three people I believe can be held most responsible. These people are Friar Lawrence, the Capulets and Romeo and Juliet themselves. I blame Friar Lawrence for hastily marring Romeo and Juliet, the Capulets for supporting the ongoing feud and not being there for their children and Romeo and Juliet as even if their actions were influenced by others, ultimately, they controlled them.
Friar Lawrence is the most commonly blamed person for Romeo and Juliet’s death, but should he be? I believe so as Friar Lawrence was the person who married Romeo and Juliet in the first place. He married them after they had known each other for less than 24 hours and was too blinded by the fact that he thought it would bring peace he did not think about the mayhem that would happen because of his actions. “For this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households’ rancour to pure love.” These lines from Friar Lawrence
employ the use of both literary devices of foreshadowing and dramatic irony. The use of foreshadowing is shown as the audience knows that the relationship between Romeo and Juliet may bring both families peace, however the readers know that it will instead take the pair dying to do so which is using dramatic irony as Friar Lawrence is not aware of this. Another reason why Friar Lawrence is to blame is that he acts cowardly and does not take any of the blame for Romeo’s death and the part he played in the tragedy. “A greater power than we can contradict hath thwarted our intents.” The quote demonstrates that Friar Lawrence did not take any of the blame for Romeo’s death even when it was him who married the pair in secret and suggested the plan to fake Juliet’s death and was his responsibility to get the vital information to Romeo. Friar Lawrence blames a “greater power” not taking any responsibility at all for the part he plays in it.
The next people I believe are to blame are the Capulets, for they as parents where unsupportive of Juliet’s wants and uncaring towards her feelings and emotions. They also supported the feud between the Montagues and them and made no effort to patch things up between them. Lady Capulet was unaccommodating as a parent as her view towards love was completely different and she, as well as Lord Capulet, believe in arranged marriage. Lord Capulet was also not acquainted with Juliet’s thoughts and feelings and was extremely strict with Juliet and the person she would marry which lead to the events causing Romeo and Juliet to commit suicide. One event in particular, is when he forced Juliet to marry Paris and threatens to disown Juliet when she does not want to as she is in love with Romeo. A clear example of this is, “Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch! I tell thee what: get thee to church o’ Thursday, or never after look me in the face.” This quote shows extreme derogatory from Lord Capulet to Juliet as he is expressing himself in a harsh and disrespectful attitude. This tone and harshness were not uncommon for Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. Another one of Lord Capulets threats are, “Proportioned as one’s thought would wish a man and then to have a wretched puling fool, a whining mammet, in her fortune’s tender, to answer, “I’ll not wed… But, an you will not wed, Ill pardon you. Graze where you will, you shall not house with me.” This quote shows Lord Capulet telling Juliet that if she doesn’t marry Paris she will not be allowed to live with them anymore. He uses a metaphor in this quote to create an image in the readers head. Lady Capulet is also to blame as if she were more caring towards what Juliet wanted, Juliet would not have had to plotted to get out of her arranged marriage which lead to her real death because of her mother’s uncaring ways. An example of this is: “Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word. Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.” Where Lady Capulet tells Juliet to stop talking to her because she doesn’t care and has stopped worrying about her which is exactly the reasons why she had to plot her fake death. If Lady Capulet and Lord Capulet were more caring and understanding toward Juliet and tried to see things from her point of view and didn’t force her to do things she clearly didn’t want to do, she wouldn’t have felt the need to only be alive with Romeo.
Lastly, I do believe that Romeo and Juliet themselves are also to blame as they were children and not yet adults and willingly married after less than one day of knowing each other. They based true love merely on love at first sight and looks instead of personality and traits and Romeo was at the party where he met Juliet only just getting over Rosaline. They both rushed into their relationship before fully knowing the other person. They both chose to take their own lives because they both believed they couldn’t live without the other. Their decision to hide their relationship from their family only made it harder for themselves as they did not know she was already married when they arranged for her to marry Paris. Romeo and Juliet were both very aware that their families wouldn’t approve as proven in the quotes, “If they do see they will murder thee” which Juliet is saying that if her parents were to see Romeo they would kill him displaying very well that she understands they consequences. Another one is, “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name.” In this quote, Juliet is asking why the love of her life must be her enemy showing her understanding. Shakespeare’s use of repetition in gives emphasis on Juliet’s desperation for Romeo and herself not to be enemies and highlights her point. Another reason that
In Conclusion, I believe that if people must be blamed for Romeo and Juliet’s death, Friar Lawrence, The Capulets, and Romeo and Juliet are the most responsible as Friar Lawrence was a role model to Romeo and Juliet and he acted selfishly and didn’t think things through. Lady Capulet and Lord Capulet are responsible as they were unsupportive towards Juliet and were not open to what she wanted. Finally, Romeo and Juliet are also responsible for their own death as it was their actions even though they were influenced by others and decided themselves to get married so quickly and so young with the knowledge that their families wouldn’t approve hence why I believe that these three are most responsible for the tragic occurrence that is Romeo and Juliet’s death.