Romeo & Juliet: Who's Responsible?Who do you think is most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

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gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Jamie wrote, "I agree that Romeo and Juliet bear the ultimare responsibilty for their choices, but isn't this true of all the characters? "

 

Yes, absolutely--but most of them didn't kill themselves. They all had some responsibility. Remember "It takes a village"? This is almost "It takes a city to kill a couple."

But most of it falls, I submit, on R & J.

Greg

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

The Friar definitely oversteps his position, but he like everyone else, is bound by Fate! Fate is the most responsible, and in some ways fate is a real character in Romeo and Juliet. From the very beginning, we're told that Fate will play a major role in the play. 

The Friar is guilty of misdeeds and poor judgement, but he acts in service to fate, the only constant in the play from beginning to end. 

The question as posed, of course is "who" is most responsible. While today Fate is not a "who", in the time that the Romeo and Juliet story first emerged, it could be said to be an unseen but not unimportant actor in people's lives, and Shakespeare's version is, I think, true to that idea.

As fond as I am of the star-crossed lovers, I have to blame them for their deaths. Is it sad? Yes, but if you are willing to break social guidelines, you have to take the risks. They took action; they are responsible.

 

Greg

Not someone I relish quoting, but I think ol' Dr. Phil has a point when he argues, "choose the behavior, choose the consequences."  I agree that Romeo and Juliet bear the ultimare responsibilty for their choices, but isn't this true of all the characters?  For example, the Montagues and Capulets choose to continue their pointless feud; the Friar chooses to oppose Church doctrine and parental wishes; Lady Capulet chooses to have her daughter raised more by her nurse than by herself; even Mercutio (for whom I also have a weakness for, btw, Greg) chooses to engage in testosterone-driven sparring that gets himself killed.

gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The Friar definitely oversteps his position, but he like everyone else, is bound by Fate! Fate is the most responsible, and in some ways fate is a real character in Romeo and Juliet. From the very beginning, we're told that Fate will play a major role in the play. 

The Friar is guilty of misdeeds and poor judgement, but he acts in service to fate, the only constant in the play from beginning to end. 

The question as posed, of course is "who" is most responsible. While today Fate is not a "who", in the time that the Romeo and Juliet story first emerged, it could be said to be an unseen but not unimportant actor in people's lives, and Shakespeare's version is, I think, true to that idea.

As fond as I am of the star-crossed lovers, I have to blame them for their deaths. Is it sad? Yes, but if you are willing to break social guidelines, you have to take the risks. They took action; they are responsible.

 

Greg

alexb2's profile pic

alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted on

The Friar definitely oversteps his position, but he like everyone else, is bound by Fate! Fate is the most responsible, and in some ways fate is a real character in Romeo and Juliet. From the very beginning, we're told that Fate will play a major role in the play. 

The Friar is guilty of misdeeds and poor judgement, but he acts in service to fate, the only constant in the play from beginning to end. 

The question as posed, of course is "who" is most responsible. While today Fate is not a "who", in the time that the Romeo and Juliet story first emerged, it could be said to be an unseen but not unimportant actor in people's lives, and Shakespeare's version is, I think, true to that idea.

tishmel's profile pic

tishmel | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

Romeo & Juliet: Who's Responsible?

Who do you think is most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

I think it's Friar Lawrence.  He is the one who gave these two the ridiculous idea of the "sleeping potion" and messed everything up.  Although Romeo and Juliet are in love, how in love could two people really be who just met a couple of days ago??  And what about Romeo's former love, Rosalind, who he just couldn't get over in Act One?  It seems to me that a person with the amount of responsibility that the friar has should have acted with more sense. 

Does anybody else out there think there is someone else more to blame?  Aside from Romeo and Juliet themselves, who often appear to me to be a couple of knuckleheads... 

 

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