In Act III, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, what clues did Shakespeare leave to suggest fate's hand in the scene?
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In Act III, scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, some phrasing can be interpreted as implying the role of fate in the play. Examples include the following:
- Benvolio, at the very beginning of the scene, suggests that something bad may be fated to happen because of high temperatures: “now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.”
- Romeo, after the death of Mercutio, assumes that further bad days are now fated to arrive:
Romeo. This day's black fate on more days doth depend;
This [day] but begins the woe, others must end.
- Romeo next assumes that either he must die or Tybalt must die – that no other outcome is possible:
Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him [that is, with the dead Mercutio].
- Benvolio assumes that Romeo is “doom[ed]” to death after Romeo slays Tybalt.
- Romeo assumes that he has been tricked by fortune, thereby also assuming that his fate is inescapable.
- Lady Capulet argues, before the prince, that since Romeo has slain her kinsman Tybalt, Romeo himself should now be fated to die:
Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.
- The prince himself suggests that if Romeo does not escape, he is fated to die:
Else, when he's found, that hour is his last.
However, although fate is suggested as a factor in these various ways in this scene, the scene far more obviously emphasizes the choices the characters make – especially the fatal choices of Mercutio and Tybalt.
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