Yes, they were doomed. Their families hated one another. They were impetuous and immature. Once they had their minds made up, they did not really seem to think about the consequences. They wanted what they wanted when they wanted it.
As long as they lived in a society filled with hatred, Romeo and Juliet were doomed.
As long as people are taught to hate and fear people who are different from themselves whether it is color, religion, political belief, nation, or any other perceived difference, there will be tragic lovers who are just as doomed as Romeo and Juliet.
It does seem to me the young lovers were doomed from the start. It's true that fate plays some role in their demise; however, their actions are such that there was no other outcome possible for them. They're rash and impulsive, they act without much thought, and they get bad counsel. The times they do seek the help of their elders (the Nurse and Friar Lawrence, in particular) they are not given much helpful advice. To the extent that these young people are acting without thinking and under the influence of some pretty heady emotions, and given they get no help from their advisers, nothing but what did happen, could have happened. They were doomed from the start.
I agree with the editors above in thinking that the play highlights the role of fate in primarily dooming Romeo and Juliet as "starcrossed lovers" from the very beginning, though of course we must also give credit where it is due to the somewhat questionable involvement of Friar Lawrence in their tragic ends. Fate is a key theme throughout the entire play and one that deserves much attention - making the ending inevitable but none the less tragic for it.
I personally believe that they were doomed from the start. Although, there are many views on both sides of this argument.
I think that their meeting was fate and that everything that followed was unstoppable. Their families had such strong hatred for one another and I am not sure it could have ended any other way.
While, as poster #2 stated, there were times when it seems that their actions could be prevented with more careful thought, I know their hasty actions are not unlike any two passionate teenagers.
This play was intended to be a tragedy and a tragedy it is. Alas, "a pair of star-cross'd lovers, take their life" and finally the families are able to re-unite and see past their differences.
There are two theories that apply to the analysis of Romeo and Juliet's fate and whether it was a predetermined outcome of tragedy.
"Thus the theme of fate versus free will emerges: do Romeo and Juliet die because it was their destiny, or do they die because of their actions and the actions of those around them?"
Fate seems to predestine Romeo and Juliet due to the ungoverned hatred that exists between the two families, the Montagues and the Capulets, and the fact that they can fight openly, hate openly and not be stopped, it appears that Shakespeare has doomed his tragic young lovers from the start. And, in fact, used them as a sacrifice in order to put an end to the hatred between the two families.
But, within the play's action, there appears to be room to consider that Romeo and Juliet's hasty behavior, or free will, fueled by teenage passion contributed more to their deaths than their families dispute.
Romeo and Juliet are very quick to arrange their future together, but they lack a basic component that would insure its success, good communication. Caught up in a whirl of romance and urgency, the two young people take dramatic and permanent measures before they have all the facts or can communicate with each other.
In my opinion, I feel that, if this were not intended to be a tragedy, Romeo and Juliet could have found a way to urge their parents to come to terms with their union.