What are some of Romeo's faults in Romeo and Juliet?

Expert Answers
poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One could argue Romeo is the most flawed character in the entire play. Let's take a closer look at some of Romeo's character traits and how they detrimentally affect him:

- Romeo is fickle in love and chooses to embark on conquests doomed from the start. Romeo begins the play with what he proclaims to be an undying love for Rosaline. This is problematic for two reasons. First, Rosaline is the niece of Lord Capulet and, thus, a member of a rivaling family. Second, she decided to take a vow of chastity, meaning that she is literally unavailable—physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. Within the space of a single act, Romeo experiences a radical shift in emotion, and sets his sights on Juliet Capulet instead. Again, this is an ill-fated conquest. Juliet is the daughter of Lord Capulet, who hopes Paris will be Juliet's husband. Romeo makes poor choices in women, selecting only those obviously out of his reach. This self-sabotaging behavior is compounded by Romeo's inconsistency; the only thing consistent about Romeo is how often he changes his mind!

- Romeo makes rash decisions, often as a result of his unchecked emotions. Romeo's impulsivity causes a lot of major problems throughout the play. His ridiculous lust for Rosaline leads him to foolishly attend the ball of a family who would have him murdered if they could get away with it. Romeo's hot-headed nature after Mercutio's death causes him to thoughtlessly kill Tybalt, Juliet's cousin. That same wild, selfish aggression causes Romeo to kill Paris outside of the Capulet crypt and commit suicide within it. Romeo's emotions are mercurial at best, and deadly at worst. 

Overall, this play might have ended very differently had Romeo learned to communicate, engage in responsible, adult relationships, and think things through before committing to life-altering decisions or actions.