Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Romeo and Juliet, how does Romeo's line of "I defy you stars!" relate to the prologue at the beginning of the play?

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"I defy you stars," refers to a prediction made in the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet's tragic end. The Prologue describes the birth, love, and death of Romeo and Juliet as predetermined by fate:

"From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;

Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows

Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.

The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,

And the continuance of their parents’ rage,

Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,"

This excerpt from the Prologue begins by saying that Romeo and Juliet were meant to be born into feuding families. Another way to look at it is that fate meant for the circumstances of their births to be unfortunate. Romeo and Juliet are called "star-cross'd lovers" in that they are fated to cross paths and fall in love—their romance was meant to be. Fate was also cruel enough to also determine their tragic ends. The Prologue says that their deaths function to "remove"...

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