How did human action lead to Romeo and Juliet's fatal love?

Expert Answers
teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the play, we can see that a series of human errors led to unintended consequences and the couple's fatal end. 

First, Friar Lawrence's note to Romeo never reaches the young man. Thus, Romeo fails to understand that Juliet's unconscious state is only temporary. The bearer of the letter, Friar John, is unable to deliver the letter because he is detained in a quarantined house. 

Meanwhile, Romeo hears from Balthazar that Juliet is dead. Distraught at the revelation, Romeo rushes out to purchase poison from the apothecary. Because he never received Friar Lawrence's note, Romeo has no knowledge of the plans Juliet made with the monk.

At the Capulet family tomb, Romeo sees Paris and becomes upset. He thinks that Paris is up to no good and proceeds to fight him. Paris dies, and Romeo then takes his potion. When Juliet wakes up, she finds a dead Romeo at her feet. Distressed beyond comprehension, Juliet kills herself with Romeo's dagger.

As a result, we can say that a series of errors, based on a lack of knowledge and events beyond human control, led to deadly consequences for the couple. 

rewel | Student

The story of Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story written by William Shakespeare, about two lovers whose families had been in rivalry.  Juliet was born in the Capulet family whereas Romeo was in the Montague family. As time went by, Juliet and Romeo fell in love. However, Juliet had been betrothed to a prince and to save their love, she decided to fake her death on the eve of the weeding. When her family announced her dead, using poison Romeo took his own life. When Juliet awoke and saw his body she took his dagger and killed herself.


chbrown6 | Student

According to the principles of praxeology, humans engage in purposeful behavior. Meaning that humans and their decision-making processes are based on their preferences. In his book Human Action, Ludwig von Mises states that, “human action is purposeful behavior. ...(a)ction is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at end goals, is the ego’s meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person’s conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life.” Is it possible to say that the love between Romeo and Juliet, demonstrates a tragic display of what happens when the forced behavior of humans meets the chaotic complexity that is life?

Albeit the meeting of Romeo and Juliet is happen stance, despite the conscious push and pull of their individual families to keep them apart; the result of their love is a misinterpretation or possible negative outcome from their families purposeful behavior. An ‘action axiom’ is defined as something that ‘embodies a criterion for recommending action’, and essentially states that ‘if something holds, then the following should be done.” Despite any last-ditch-efforts, the families in Romeo and Juliet could not rectify or correct the chaotic turn that their chosen behaviors had taken. Their love could be the literal rejection of the predetermined course that their families had chosen for them. It is definitely defendable that the love, and regretfully death, of Romeo and Juliet could merely be the negative outcome of the family's predetermined action axiom. But even throughout the time period that the families had fought to achieve their desired ends; would any of them ever guessed that the death of two love-struck teenagers would have been the inevitable outcome to their basic Human Action? Even if they did, my guess is that their hatred towards one another would have negated any decisions that they should have made. 


References: Human Action by Ludwig von Mises.