Fate and Chance as Antagonists in Romeo and Juliet

Fate and Chance as Antagonists in Romeo and Juliet

In V.iii.159, Friar Laurence said, “A greater power than we can contradict hath thwarted our plan.” This quote sums up the reason for basically every bad event that occurred in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet . Fate and chance are the two major elements that brought Romeo and Juliet together as lovers, but chance and fate brought them together with intent to use the lives and deaths of the two as part of a larger plan to reconcile the feuding Capulet and Montague families. Although the wrongs created by chance and fate were used to benefit this greater cause of ending the fight between the families, fate and chance should still be considered the greatest antagonists of the play. The meeting of the star-crossed pair, the deadly street fight that resulted in Romeo’s banishment, and the failure of the Friar’s letter to reach Romeo are all instances in which fate played an antagonistic role in Romeo and Juliet. Chance is an enormous factor in the beginning of the chain of events leading to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Without chance, there exists a very high likelihood that the two would have never met. By chance, Romeo got invited to and decided to attend the party. It was also chance that enabled Romeo to attend the gathering. He was simply walking down the street with his friends when he stumbled into an illiterate servant of Capulet who needed Romeo’s assistance in reading a guest list for the party. In exchange for his services, Romeo was given this invitation to the event (I.ii.80), “My master is the great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup of wine. Rest you merry.” Also, by this same chance, Romeo decided to attend the celebration. If Benvolio had not mentioned in I.ii.84 that, “At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s sups the fair Rosaline”, then Romeo would not have had any desire to go to the party. The second meeting of Romeo and Juliet…


Comments are closed.