What is one major theme developed by Shakespeare in the play Romeo and Juliet? In my assignment, I need to do the following: Use evidence from the beginning, middle and end of the play to clearly...

What is one major theme developed by Shakespeare in the play Romeo and Juliet?

In my assignment, I need to do the following:

Use evidence from the beginning, middle and end of the play to clearly demonstrate that your theme is one of the major themes of the play. You must use at least 4 pieces of evidence (quote or paraphrase the events that take place) and clearly explain how each piece of evidence supports or develops your theme. Be sure to use in-text citations.

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the interesting themes in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is that of fate versus free will. This theme is encountered in the Prologue, which describes the story of the play as follows:

Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, ...

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

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

This descriptions of the two lovers as "star-crossed" suggests that their fates have been determined in advance by the stars or predestined. In your essay, you might look at the degree to which the events seem willed by the characters versus the degree to which they are shaped by fate.

The first types of evidence you could look at to support the notion of fate determining the course of the play are the random coincidences that drive the plot. You might consider how Romeo meets Juliet and whether that was, in fact, probable. You could also look at other key moments such as the letter going astray and the timing of Juliet's betrothal to Paris.

On the side of free will, you could look at the choices made by the lovers and their associates and think about whether their fates would have been different if the lovers, Friar Laurence, or the Nurse had made different choices. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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