Explain the role that chance plays in the outcome of "Romeo and Juliet"?

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dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chance plays a role in all of the major events that take place in the play.  If we begin in Act 1, the meeting of the two lovers would never have happened if the servant that Lord Capulet sent out had known how to read.  It was this chance meeting between the servant and Romeo and Benvolio that allowed Romeo to attend the Capulet feast and, therefore, meet Juliet.  In Act 3, the death of Mercutio can also be blamed on chance.  The fight between Mercutio and Tybalt may have taken place anyway but Romeo, by chance stepped between the two men to break up the fight at the exact time that Tybalt stabbed his sword toward Mercutio, therefore killing him by chance.  Tybalt says that he never readlly meant to kill Mercutio;even though he talks a big game, the murder was a mistake which then led to the murder of Tybalt and to the banishment of Romeo.  The final events of the play are also a part of this domino effect and game of chance.  Had all of the events prior to the suicides at the end not occurred, Romeo and Juliet never would have been forced to kill themselves.  The way in which the two killed themselves can also be blamed on chance.  If Balthasar had never provided Romeo with false information, the ending would not have happened as it did.  Finally, the fact that both lovers were from two feuding families is the most significant example of the role of chance in the entire play.

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Romeo and Juliet

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