Essay Assessment


Romeo and Juliet.

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“Two star-crossed lover’s take their lives”. This is the iconic line from the famous play of “Romeo and Juliet” written by William Shakespeare. In the play Shakespeare shows that fate is no more unusual than the sun rising from the east, and setting in the west. Throughout the story the theme of fate is rich and is shown through out. From the things that may seem small like two people meeting, but turn into a situation which would seemed impossible a few scenes back which really decide Romeo’s and Juliet’s future. Let the journey begin.

In the play “Romeo and Juliet” many of the main characters say many lines that relate to God and his power in all of their lives and in this case Shakespeare chooses metaphors to show this. One of these examples is when Romeo goes to the Capulet’s party. Romeo however holds the name of a Montague which is arch enemy of the Capulet’s. He is now unsure whether he should attend the party and says “…He that hath steerage of my course,direct my sail”. This is a very good use of metaphor because Romeo is referring him self as a ship and is letting the captain to have full control over his choice his course. In other words the captain will decide what will happen to him. The captain is referred “He” with the capital letter meaning that the captain is God. We can justify this because this is only done when we refer to God. Romeo is now prepared to embrace Gods choices for what is best for him. Also Romeo may feel that if God didn’t want him to go to the party God would do something to stop him. This is fate because he is allowing something that doesn’t physically exist have power and control over his life.

Fate in the play is used by many different types of language techniques and one of the most obvious is metaphors. As the play goes on Romeo’s life is turning to the worst and he makes two statements that expresses that he regrets letting God have control over what happens in his life.  “Thou desperate pilot, at once on the dashing rocks, thy seasick weary bark”. Romeo is now referring that a ship has crashed on the rocks. Because he is the ship ,he means that the he has crashed on the rocks. In other terms his life has gone for the worst and is leading to his doom. “Thy seasick weary bark” This could also mean that “seasick” is referring that he is sick of the sea. Because Romeo is the boat and God is his captain this could mean that the captain has led the boat into unsettled waters and he wants the captain to walk the plank. In other words he is sick of the things God is doing to him and he wants to take control back over his life. Second statement is “I defy you stars” .Romeo says this after he hears some news that Juliet is dead (which she obviously isn’t). The stars  are anther reference to God. So when he says I defy you stars he is saying that I rebel against you God which is most likely because he is hating the decisions God is making for him. Shakespeare shows fate through metaphors and other language techniques by showing that Romeo is unhappy with the things that God is deciding on what happens in his life and now wants control back.

Shakespeare also shows fate being used directly in speech also known as dialogue. “i would the  fool were married to her grave”. This shows strong anger within someone at the heat of the moment because most people wouldn’t go cursing other  people to die. This quote is said by Lady Capulet when she is angry that Juliet Rejects the offer to marry Paris.This is dialogue  because it is a direct reference to death.This proves fate because it is a direct reference to death. This can be labeled a coincidence because Juliet  does eventually kill herself while already married. The whole play is building to the fact on how could two love birds come to state that they would want to kill themselves.This is mostly constructed through the weird events that the characters encounter.

There are many times within the play that Shakespeare shows fate by the events charters face and many of them are through coincidencesOne of these coincidences is used right at the beginning of the play while the Capulet’s are organizing a party and Head Capulet gives his servant a guest list with all the people invited. But the servant can not read so he finds someone who can. And out of complete luck he runs into Romeo who reads the letter to the servant.As a reward the servant then invites Romeo to the party as long as he’s not a Montague. Romeo only wishes to go to the party because Rosaline his crush, is going. But only at the party does he meet Juliet. “Now I’ll tell you without asking. My master is the great rich Capulet, and if you be not of the house of Montague’s, I pray come and crush a cup of wine. Rest you merry”! This is a great example of coincidences because if the servant never asked Romeo to read the letter to him, Romeo never would have been invited to the party and in turn never meet Juliet there. Also it is very lucky that the servant didn’t know that Romeo was a Montague because if the servant did recognize him then he would have never invited Romeo to the party. This is a strong example of fate because if the servant never asked Romeo to read the letter he never would have gone to the party or meet Juliet and this is all by chance.

As Shakespeare illustrates us the play “Romeo and Juliet” you may notice that a whole lot of things happen out of complete luck or coincidence. Shakespeare does this through out the play but perhaps the one with the greatest effect which really determines what happens to Romeo and Juliet is when Frair Lawrence(Romeo’s friend and Priest) constructs a letter to Romeo explaining a plan which says Juliet is alive. It is with bad luck that the letter never reaches Romeo because there was a plague in a local town.This ultimately stopped  Friar john(Mail man) from delivering the vital letter.”Here in this city visiting the sick,And finding him, the searchers of the town,Suspecting that we both were in a house.Where the infectious pestilence did reign,Sealed up the doors and would not let us forth”.  This is again a coincidence because the chance that there was a Plague in Mantua right when Friar John was delivering the letter to Romeo would have been low.But Friar John also says that the searches of the town quarantined him by mistake. The chances of this happening would be astronomically small. This would strengthen the idea that the whole plague scenario was a coincidence. This would be known as fate because it would seem that a power like God deliberately did this so Rome and Juliet would kill themselves but Shakespeare also uses things even as silly as dreams to show fate.

Shakespeare shows fate in many aspects of the play like plot events or even dreams known as Premonition. One of these examples is when Romeo and Juliet are saying their goodbyes to each other. As Romeo leaves Juliet has a strange vision.“O God, I have an ill-divining soul.Methinks I see thee now, thou art so low As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.Either my eyesight fails, or thou look’st pale”.In this vision Juliet sees someone dead at the bottom of a tomb.  When Juliet says “I see thee” She is meaning Romeo. This can be proved because Romeo was the only one in the room at the time and she is looking at him because Romeo is talking to her. This is premonition because Juliet is having a seeing something that has not happened yet. At the end of the play this does happen and Juliet’s does see Romeo dead at the bottom of the Capulet tomb.Also when she says “I have an ill-divining soul” she is saying that she thinks she may have an evil soul that is predicting the future.  Near the end of the play Romeo has a near identical vision to the one Juliet had.“I dreamt my lady came and found me dead—Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave to think—”. Romeo dreamt that he was dead and Juliet was there. The chances of two people having almost identical visions is ironic and could also be called a coincidence. This would be known as fate because it would seem that a power like God deliberately showed them so Romeo and Juliet would kill themselves.

A very interesting point in the play “Romeo and Juliet” is that the whole play could be considered a Paradox.  At the end of the play Romeo and Juliet kill them self by suicide. But in many religions including Christianity it is forbidden for you to take your own life because God has given you the gift of life.” Here’s to my love! (drinks the poison) O true apothecary,Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die”.So the question is why would God want Romeo and Juliet to kill them selves. This is a Paradox because at first it would prove that free will existed which is not the message Shakespeare was trying to get across.But if Shakespeare is trying to show fate then it would make no sense for God to go all means necessary to let the two fall in love with one in other and kill them selves. For example the plague that stopped Friar John getting the letter to Romeo. But the twist or paradox here is it would have been in Gods best interest to make the two kill themselves because in the end it stopped the family feud. If it was not stopped it could have caused more and perhaps more devastating destruction. This is a very strong example of fate because it clearly shows that Shakespeare believed that God has near total authority of our lives and that we do not have free will.

 Many times in the play Shakespeare links fate to paradox. One example of this is when Juliet says “My only love sprung from my only hate!”. This is suggesting that she loves Romeo but hates him at the same time. This is a paradox because normally it would seem totally Impossible for someone to both have feelings of love for someone but hate them at the same time. But in this case it is possible because Juliet does love Romeo but her family ,The Capulets and Romeos family, Montague are arch enemy’s.

 Now that are journey is over we can see the true importance of fate within the play. Also how Shakespeare intended for us to belive God being a higher power would do what is necessary for the overall greater good. whether this is true in our world we may never know. But for me as the reader and for some of you reading, we can see that most of the characters in the play reflect their beliefs to fate in some form.”For never was a story of more woe than  this of Juliet and her Romeo”.


Essay guidance :



  1. Hi Oliver,

    To answer your questions in reverse. The notion of the paradox of the play (how can it be that God intended the two to kill themselves given that it would always be against God’s will for them to do so) is one that is very interesting, but not a required component of this question. If you feel confident in your ability to explain this, then I’d say definitely go ahead as it would further strengthen your argument.

    The paradox could be further explored by looking at the many times in the script when characters, particularly Romeo talk in terms of opposites:

    O me! What fray was here?
    Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.
    Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.
    Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
    O any thing, of nothing first create!
    O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
    Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
    Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire,
    sick health!
    Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
    This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
    Dost thou not laugh?

    Then you could go on to talk about the theological paradox in there being an all-seeing, all-powerful God and at the same time human beings with free will.

    Again – including this discussion is very much up to you.



  2. My general feedback for you is very positive. The strengths in your draft so far are in the level of clarity to your structure. You’re expressing your ideas clearly, one paragraph at a time, and you’re ensuring that you both use evidence in the form of quotations to express your point, and you’re also locating each of the quotes in the events of the play.

    To develop further you will want to:

    1) Devise an outstanding introduction that does this complex and thoughtful topic justice. This is something we’ll be doing some work on in class.

    2) Develop the skill of linking paragraphs together so that each individual idea is communicated as a development of the previous one, making the entire essay a complete discussion of the idea you’re putting forward (again, we’ll cover this in class, however, I’m happy for you to make an attempt at this yourself.

    3) Look into the way you’re expressing your ideas and find ways to add variety (and sometimes brevity) to your writing. I would like to show you an essay written by a student that I have where he uses metaphors of his own to express the ideas of the essay – this would add additional colour to your writing. In terms of brevity, while high levels of detail are necessary in an essay like this, there’s also the importance of being selective with this detail. At the moment I would suggest that you’re providing a little too much plot information – which is only important to illuminate your quotes, and therefore can be given often as the briefest summary. Again, we can work together on this, but I’d love to see how you might go about shortening one of your paragraphs without actually removing any of your analysis.

    4) Lastly, the more you read other sophisticated analysis texts of high quality, the more examples of the kind of language that is available to you you will have on board. To that end, I’d like to give you links to a couple of essays written by previous students of mine for you to read and think about:

    Henry Howeld’s Shakespeare and Poetry essay


    1. Thank you very much for all the feedback. Giving me this advice is helping hugely and i will be definitely taking this in. Also thank you for the essay about Hamlet , i can see there is very good use of langue technician and is very well explained in my eyes.


  3. From Oliver: I’ve done some reasearch about paradoxs and i now understand them on how they are talking about somthing whitch could seem impossible but has some elements of turth about them. But i dont know how to link this to fate. If you could explain this to me i would be gratefull.


    1. Hi Oliver.

      The idea of paradox is explained in my first comment above. It’s quite brief I know – but if a paradox is a situation where two things that cannot co-incide happening at the same time, then how can it be that it would be God’s will for Romeo and Juliet to kill themselves, when killing oneself is something God would never want anyone to do?

      How this relates to Fate is that it’s a good example of the paradoxes that start to come up every time you start thinking about anything being pre-determined when at the same time we consider ourselves to have free will. If everything is pre-determined, then doesn’t that mean that everything we do, say and think was already decided? If that’s true, then there’s definitely no such thing as free will. Paradox – especially for Christians who believe God made us in His image and gave us free will.

      This is where the co-incidences come in. Perhaps this is the ‘hand’ of God, trying to guide us to do what he wants us to do. This again is considered possible by some people who believe there is a higher force in the universe taking an interest in humanity and the choices we make.

      This is something people have thought about and argued as long as theology and philosophy has existed – and it has not been resolved – you can refer to it in your essay, but you can’t hope to explain it all or solve the conundrum.

      Does this help?



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