What does Shakespeare mean by "star-crossed lovers''  its part of the summary questions for the Prologue

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator
"Star-crossed lovers" are lovers whose mutual fate is tragic. Shakespeare is referring to the idea that every event in a person's life is written in the stars. Fate is preordained and cannot be changed. According to this idea, no matter how hard you try, what happens to you is ultimately beyond your control. In the prologue of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare outlines the storyline and themes of Romeo and Juliet. By calling them star-crossed lovers, Shakespeare is telling the audience that things will not end up happily. In Shakespeare's time, many people believed that astrology determined major patterns in a person's life related to career, wealth, health and romance. The theme of one's fate, as it written in the stars, is a common theme in many Shakespeare plays.