Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet book cover
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Is the following quote below from Romeo and Juliet about fate? "Is it even so? Then I defy you stars! Thou know'st my lodging; get me ink and paper, and hire post-horses; I will hence to-night."

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Early on, in the play's prologue, Romeo and Juliet are referred to as "star-crossed lovers," suggesting that they are ill-fated from the beginning. So many things have to go wrong to lead to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet: Romeo has to go to the Capulet party to which he was not invited (and he even suggests that fate "direct[s] [his] sail" here); Tybalt has to see him and get angry; Tybalt has to challenge Romeo and be killed by him; Lord Capulet has to plan Juliet's wedding to Paris, making her desperate; the Friar's letter to Romeo has to not be delivered; and Romeo has to come back just before Juliet wakes up from her stupor. Their destinies do seem to be fated—how likely is it that so many things could go wrong otherwise? In the quotation you cite, Romeo expresses his anger at fate, represented by the stars (as many believed that astrological signs betokened one's future).

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troutmiller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Yes, the theme of fate is evident here.  Romeo finds that Juliet has died (actually, she just drank the potion to make her appear dead and he hasn't received the news yet that it's a trick). That was when he said, "is it even so?"  He doesn't want to believe it, but Balthasar saw her being taken to the family tomb.  The mention of fate is when he says, "then I defy you stars!"  He is speaking directly to fate here.  He feels that fate has had control of everything that has happened to him so far.  Instead of questioning whether or not Juliet is really dead, he immediately shows his anger towards fate.  According to Romeo, it is fate's fault that Juliet is dead and that he can no longer be with her.

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