Why are Romeo and Juliet "a case of bad luck" in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare? 

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, the two young lovers seem to undergo more than their fair share of unfortunate accidents. In the Prologue, Shakespeare describes their fate as follows:

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

"Star-crossed" in this context has an astrological significance, suggesting being born under the wrong stars and thus condemned to bad luck. 

The first bit of bad luck the lovers undergo is falling in love with the most ineligible possible people. Thus Juliet laments: 

O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name. 

Essentially, if the two young people had different parents, they could have married happily, but they happen to be children of families on the opposite sides of a feud. 

The next part of bad luck has to do with the miscommunication concerning Friar Laurence's scheme. Romeo by accident does not get the note letting him know that Juliet has taken a sleeping potion and is not actually dead. Paris' fight with Romeo also has to do with a miscommunication. 

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