KEY THEME- FATE & DESTINY

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  • KEY THEME FATE & DESTINY
    • Fate-Prologue:
      • "Ancient grudge"
        • Shakespeare also introduced the idea of the "ancient grudge" between the Montagues and Capulets. This suggests that Romeo and Juliet are fated victims of this old feud.
        • The prologue suggests the Romeo and Juliet actually have very little control over their own lives. They will have to succumb this destiny, which was writen for them before they were even born.
        • This could cause the audience to feel sympathy for the protagonists right from the start of the play.
      • Contemporary beliefs
        • It was a widespread belief that luck played a part in people's life.
        • Fortune was often represented as a blind woman, dame Fortune, who spun the Fortune's wheel.
        • These random movements often meant that people who were one day at the top of the wheel(having a good time)could quickly find themselves at the bottom.
        • From the very beginning, the prologue introduces to us a key theme in the story: fate. We are told that Romeo and Juliet are fated to fall in love("star-cross'd lovers") but also fated to die("death-mark'd love")
    • Premonitions:
      • Romeo's first premonition:
        • Romeo has his first premonition in Act 1, Scene 4 of the play.
          • When Benvolio and Mercutio are persuading Romeo to attend the Capulet ball, Romeo suddenly gets the feeling that attending will lead to his death."my mind misgives some consequences yet hanging in the starts shall bitterly begin his fearful date" which will lead to his"untimely death".
        • Throughout the play, Shakespeare constantly reminds the audience of the part the fate play in the story itself. Remember that the wider forces(like fate)in the world cause tragedy as well as the characters.
        • Romeo and Juliet have a number of premonitions like-(feeling that something bad is going to happen)idea that foreshadows their death.
        • Post-meeting premonitions:
          • After the party, when Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time but do not know the other person is, Juliet asks the Nurse to find out his name and says"if he be married, my grace is likely to be my wedding bed"
          • This foreshadows Juliet's death because her marriage to Romeo leads to her suicide in the end.
          • Post-marriage premonition:
            • After Romeo and Juliet have married, Juliet has a premonition in Act 3 about Romeo's death.
              • As Romeo goes down from her bedchamber Juliet says:"i have an ill-diving soul, me thinks i see thee, now thou art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb".
              • As he climbs down from her balcony, she feel as if she is seeing him dead in a tomb-this foreshadows fate in Act 5.
      • Mercutio's premonitions:
        • As he dies in Act 3, Mercutio shouts: "a plague o'both your houses".
          • This could be a premonition from him because both families do suffer from the plague of hatred-both suffer lots of deaths by the end of the play.

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