How is regret important to the central ideas or themes of Romeo and Juliet?

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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, regret plays an important role in the central ideas or themes of the play.  First of all, Juliet regrets that Romeo's last name is Montague and says, "My only love sprung from my only hate" indicating that another name would not inspire the regret she feels that Romeo is a Montague.  When Romeo kills her cousin Tybalt, she also castigates Romeo because she loves them both and now Tybalt is dead at Romeo's hand.  The Prince regrets not stopping the fighting between the families as it has now caused so many deaths, and he had turned a blind eye to the fighting.  He says that all are punished now.  Friar Lawrence regrets the hasty plan when it all goes wrong and both Juliet and Romeo die. Romeo regrets that he wasn't there to prevent Juliet's "death", and decides that life without her is not worth living.  Both sets of parents regret that their children die because they haven't quit fighting.  All of these regrets reinforce the themes of fate, love, and community.