Why is impatience not the reason why Romeo and Juliet died?I'm writing an argumentative essay about why impatience was the reason they died. I need a conflicting arguement for that.

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mimerajver's profile pic

mimerajver | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

With all due respect, I'm afraid that the issue of genre has been left out altogether. Romeo and Juliet was meant to be a tragedy. It has often been said that it does not rank among Shakespeare's best works. However, it would have been an anticlimax to "kill" the protagonists on such a petty pretext as impatience.

The play announces from the very beginning that it deals with "a pair of star-crossed lovers." Therefore there must be a sequence of events that leads to their untimely death. One could think of the tragic outcome from a fatalistic viewpoint -i.e., the couple will die regardless of what they do or not do- or from the point of view of causality -a sequence of prior events that, taken together, lead to the only possible ending.

I find that both fatalism and causality intermingle in Romeo and Juliet. It is a long chain of "ifs" beginning with their families' ancient enmity and ending with a reversed "comedy of errors." What we have here is a "tragedy of errors." The lovers died because of the misjudgments of those who should have protected them and because of their own lack of judgement.

In our times, we think that such young people are immature. Still, in Elizabethan times, with a much shorter life expectancy, life moved at a much faster pace. It would be at least shallow on our part to attribute the couple's death to only one factor. We need to follow the chain of events that their deaths closed. We also need to remember Mercutio's words as he lay dying: "A curse on both your houses." Bearing in mind the superstitious nature of the age, we can add an extra element to our speculations on the subject.

shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

It was misunderstanding that killed Romeo. He believed Juliet was dead in the tomb, when in fact she was drugged. If he had known she was drugged, he would not have committed suicide. As for Juliet, impatience didn't figure into it, she knew Romeo was dead, she could see it. For Juliet it was hopelessness, the belief that her life would not be bearable without Romeo.
litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Romeo and Juliet were impulsive kids. However, in most situations they just would have ended up disowned, not killing their beloved's family members and then dying themselves. It was the feud that caused that. If it were not for the ridiculous feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, young Romeo and Juliet would not have died.
wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Consider that during this time period they would not have been considered impatient.  After all, Juliet's father was willing to marry her to Paris, a man she had only met once.  Marriage was the only way for a woman to support herself.  Men would have been expected to find a wife and settle down quickly (past a certain age of course).  While today many people date for years before they marry, this was not the case in Shakespeare's time.  Couples married quickly.  Romeo and Juliet would have rushed to marry when they found a possible partner.  Many of today's readers consider Romeo and Juliet to be hasty and impatient, but they would not have been seen in the same light in Elizabethan times.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You could argue that it was bad advice that got them killed.  If you're not supposed to say that it was impatience, then blame it on Friar Lawrence.  Blame it on his silly scheme.  Or blame it on Malvolio and Tybalt.  If Tybalt weren't so hotheaded, Romeo wouldn't have killed him.

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