Who is to blame for the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet?

21 Answers

janetcosta's profile pic

janetcosta | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

In Shakespeare's time, the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet would have been their fault because they disobeyed their parents. However, we tend to interpret the story as a love story subject a group of coincidences. Looking at the play, the phrases "star-crossed lovers," "Fate," "dreams," and "misgivings," all indicate that the two believe that no matter what they do, whatever is going to happen will happen. That said, Romeo's impatience and willingness to suffer for love contribute significantly to the tragic end.

User Comments

eli468's profile pic

eli468 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I agree with the above people that it can be a lot of different factors leading to Romeo and Juliet's deaths. If it weren't for the feuding families Juliet would never have felt the need to fake her death. Romeo therefore would not have gone out to buy poison and kill himself, and if he had not killed himself Juliet wouldn't have either. However, the person to mainly blame is most likely Friar Laurence.

Friar Laurence gives the letter to Friar John that would tell Romeo that Juliet is "faking her death" and that he should be at the tomb when she wakes up. However, Friar John becomes ill and is quarantined and not able to deliver the important letter to Romeo. Friar Laurence should have checked to see if the letter was delivered in some way, whether it is by talking to Romeo himself or checking on Friar John. If he would have seen that Friar John was ill, then he could have found other means to get the information to Romeo. He could have also waited until he knew for sure that Romeo knew the plan before he helped Juliet fake her death.

Balthazar is the one who delivered the news to Romeo, also. If Romeo hadn't found out so soon, he wouldn't have gotten to Juliet just before she was about to wake up. If he had found out the next day everything would have been okay. Juliet would be alive and Romeo could have learned of her faking her death. 

In all honesty, when you break it down it could be anyone's fault. Was it the apothecary who sold Romeo the poison? Was it Romeo's quick decision to immediately kill himself since he thought Juliet was gone? Was it the long-term family feuding? It's up to interpretation since all of these factors can be blamed for the tragedy.

hermy27's profile pic

hermy27 | Student, College Senior | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is spelled out quite obviously by The Bard in both the first and final scenes of the play.

In the prologue we learn,

"From forth the loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows, Doth with their death bury their parents' strife."

And in the final act, the Prince states, 

"Where be these enemies? --Capulet! Montague!  See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love; And I, for winking at your discords too, Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd."

These two passages seem to relate the sentiment that Romeo and Juliet share the fault of this tragedy with their parents, their families, and even with the Prince who did not take the feud as seriously as he should have.  

Wiggin42's profile pic

Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted on

Its easy to blame Romeo. Had he been rational and patient, he would have gone to the Friar first before going to Juliet's tomb, heard the real plan, and would have not killed himself.

Granted, had he been rational and patient, the two may not have fallen in love or married so quickly so perhaps that is out of the question.
However, it's also easy to blame the silly quarrels of the Montagues and Capulets that drove their children to such a chilling death. The fact the two houses put up statues that explain what happened seems to suggest that Shakespeare, too, blamed the feud and expected his audience to do so as well.

shahzaeeb's profile pic

shahzaeeb | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I think that the main reason for Romeo and Juliet death was Friar Laurence. The reason Friar Laurence is because he gave the idea to Romeo to marry Juliet and he wanted the peace in both families CAPULET and MONTAGUE. That is the reason Romeo and Juliet got married.

The reason also can be there love because when Juliet fight with her dad that she did not wanted to marry Paris. Even the nurse gave her advice that you should marry Paris because you are never going to see Romeo again. She never listened to nurse and became hyper with Friar Laurence. In that pressure Friar made the mistake of giving a bad plan or advice to Juliet about the portion she will drink and die for 48 hours. In all that planning Romeo never got the letter and Balthasar gave him the wrong news about Juliet that she is dead. This is how Romeo became in pressure and also killed himself by poison

That is how the plan failed and both families are ashamed and disappoint on themselves. Romeo and Juliet dies

hollic's profile pic

hollic | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Tybalt is portrayed as the villain, yet his death wasn't a positive thing. The cause of the tragedy is the feud, since Juliet died by the dagger and not the kiss. So it's probably Montague and Capulet, together. 

svergalla's profile pic

svergalla | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The tragedy is blamed on the blind hate feud between their two families.  Also on their youthful nativity in believing you can live on love alone.  They each had some bad advice, too and were too young to sort it out right!

williamkeehner's profile pic

williamkeehner | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

In Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet there are many things and people to blame in this tragedy. However, the cause for the lovers fall is the Prince for going back on his word of death to all who break the silence in the streets and fight. The reason he gave that as a punishment was because he was tired of the violence and chaos in his town of Verona. However, little did he know his failure to follow his rule will end in six untimely deaths.

Prince Escalus could have stopped the tragic death of Romeo and Juliet because, when we first meet The Prince he is stopping a fight between the Montagues and the Capulets and he said to them:

Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,

Profaners of this neighbor-stained steel

Will they not hear? What, Ho! You men, you


That quench the the fire of your pernicious rage

With purple fountains issuing from your veins!

On pain of torture, from those bloody hands

Throw your mistempered weapons to the ground

And hear the sentence of your moved prince.

Three brawls, bred of an airy word

By thee, Old Capulet, and Montague

Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets

And made Verona’s ancient citizens

Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments

To wield old partisans, in hands as old,

Cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate.

If ever you disturb our streets again,

Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.

For this time all the rest depart away.

You, Capulet shall go along with me;

And, Montague, come you this afternoon,

To know our further pleasure in this case,

To old Freetown, our common judgment place.

Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.

William Shakespeare page 17

That is why Prince Escales is to blame because he promised death to those who disturb the peace and death is not what Romeo received.

Yet another good reason to the prince is because of his punishment for Romeo because he didn’t sentence him to death after killing Tybalt but instead exiled him.

                        And for the murder of Tybalt I hereby exile Romeo and

This motion is to be Effective right away and I will

Listen to no Pleading.

And for that offense

Immediately we do exile him hence.

I have an interest in your hate’s proceeding,

My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;

But I’ll amerce you with strong so strong a fine

That you shall all repent the loss of mine.

I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;

Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses,

Therefore use none. Let Romeo Hence in Haste,

Else, when he is found, that hour is his last.

Bear hence this body, and attend our will.

Mercy but murders, pardoning those who kill.

William Shakespeare page 129

mdmconsult's profile pic

mdmconsult | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The characters the Capulets, Friar Laurence, and Tybalt are the guiltiest of all, for Romeo and Juliet's death. To begin, the Capulets are to blame for Romeo and Juliet's deaths because they are unsupportive, uptight, and uncaring. The Capulets wanted to disown Juliet when she admitted she did not want to marry Paris.

kath555554444's profile pic

kath555554444 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

The parents of Romeo, Montagues, and the parents of Juliet, Capulets, are the ones to blame for the tragedy because they were very strict and couldn't understand their own children's love.

It has never been revealed why they has tension between them but the reader does know that the fight has been going on for a long time. 

shrutip1128's profile pic

shrutip1128 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I think that the parents are to blame. If they didnt have such a huge fued. Probobly over something not important, then Romeo and Juliet wouldn't have to die. But if u think about it its Benvolio and Mercutios fault for making romeo go to the party to see rosaline. 

parkyale's profile pic

parkyale | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I say that it was either their parents or Fryer Lawrence. The parents never stopped feuding omeo and Juliet. It was this pressure that had forced Romeo and Juliet to make all of those irrational quick decisions followed by the temptations and dramatical effects of being in love. Fryer Lawrence, however, gave both of them the ideas. He was the one that placed the idea of using posion in Romeo's headand he was the one that helped Juliet plan her fake death.Though he had the best intentions of helping the two, and solving the family feud between the Capulets and the Montuguess, he played a huge roll in their deaths. In addition, he is the one that told juliet to take the potion so that she would fall a sleep, and becuse of that, thought that she was dead so Romeo had killed himself and when juliet found out, she killed herself. Fryer Lawrence had also taken up a big role on Romeo and Juliet's secret marriage, which was the wrong thing to do. I'm sure he would be in trouble if one of the parents had found out what he had done. Also, keep in mind, the quick rash descisions were merely based on Shakesphere's timeline. All of these events of chaos would certainly not happen in real life.

toby14's profile pic

toby14 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

It is not Romeo or Juliet's fault that the story turns out to be a tragedy. It is actually due to the fact that the Capulets and Montagues have a horrible relationship, the entire story shifts gears from romance to tragedy since they cannot be together. I think that the blame can be put partially on both the Capulet family in general and the Montague family in general because it is their long lasting rivalry that caused the deaths of two innocent people who were in love and happened to be on opposite sides of the family. Everybody in the families is partially to blame except for the nurse since she tried to help them be together.

revolution's profile pic

revolution | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet were not typically their faulty. I think it is all due to the strainrelationship and the long and everlasting feud between the two warring families, the Capulets and the Montagues, that cultimates to this terrible disaster, or you could say, love story gone tragic. If all this pointless and worthless arguments and squabbles were resolved in an amiable manner, Tybalt would not have died and Romeo would not be separated from Juliet due to his exile.


lollipop18's profile pic

lollipop18 | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

But if Romeo or Juliet had told thier parents about their love for each other, i don't think they would have aloud it. Maybe if they were less childish and made up.

Showing 1–15 of 21