In Romeo and Juliet, do people have control over their own lives?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo and Juliet doesn't show people having the kind of control over their own lives to which we are accustomed in the twenty-first century. Both of the lovers are forced to act secretly, because their families are bitterly feuding. As Juliet points out, Romeo could easily be killed if one her male relatives found him at her balcony. Neither one dares to say openly that they are in love with the other. Further, Juliet has very few options when her father decides she will marry Paris. A young woman was expected to obey her father and marry in accordance with what was best for her family, not for love. Juliet doesn't feel she can openly defy her father's desires.  

To marry at all, the young lovers have to do so secretly. Juliet has to feign death to avoid having to marry Paris. 

Yet, the two lovers do exercise some control over their lives. They do marry, albeit secretly, and they both commit suicide when they think the other is dead. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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