Death in Romeo and Juliet Essay

Play Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, tells the story of two-star-crossed lovers whose love causes many fatalities including their own. Romeo and Juliet come from the houses of Capulet and Montague; these two houses clash violently. Many die as a result of a conflict between the two houses. The two attempt to be together but the long standing rancor between the families stands in their way. Many of these deaths are caused by murder including Juliets cousin, Tybalt, Mercutio, a kinsman of the prince, a close friend of Romeo, and also Juliet’s fiancé. Romeo and Juliet take their lives due to their inability to be together. Ultimately, many people die because of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet. Love that results in death unifies the families while murder only exacerbates the long-standing blood feud between the Capulets and Montagues.

Throughout the play, tragic deaths are used to make important moral claims. One of the most prominent points is the immorality of allowing one’s self to be guided purely by irrational and intense emotions rather than by a rational mind. Romeo and Juliet commit suicide out of love for one another. When Romeo arrives at the tomb, before seeing Juliet dead, he instantaneously says he is going to kill himself. He says, “Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death, Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth, Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,And in despite I’ll cram thee with more food” (V.III.45-48). He is saying that because death took Juliet, he must die to be with her too. Upon seeing Juliet, he speaks to her of his intention to spend eternity with her, describing himself as shaking “the yoke of inauspicious stars / From this world-wearied flesh” (V.III.111–112). He kisses Juliet, drinks the poison, kisses her again, and dies. Throughout this, Romeo is not thinking rationally and makes a rash decision. Another instance of intense and irrational emotions is when Juliet receives word of Romeo’s exile. Juliet laments Tybalt’s death, ‘Romeo is banished’–to speak that word Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet, All slain, all dead. ‘Romeo is banished’– There is no end, no limit, measure, bound, In that word’s death. No words can that woe sound” (III.II. 121-26). Juliet has known Romeo point a day and expresses passionate emotions of sorrow about his banishment.

Shakespeare’s moral point is also asserted in Prince Esacalus’s lines found in the final scene, “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 you, discords too, Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punish’d.”(V.iii.302-06). In these lines, Prince Escalus is laying the blame for all tragic deaths in the play on Lords Capulet and Montague and the uncontrolled hatred they feel for each other. The prologue points out, even though the feud between the two families was a longstanding one, it had been lain to rest for years. The present generation, Lords Capulet and Montague have rehashed the old grudge, and this shows that the hatred they feel for each other is a perfect example of uncontrolled irrational emotions. The utter hatred between the two causes fights, whole-city brawls, duels that lead to deaths, and even the need to marry secretly, which leads to further deaths. The feud between the houses causes their loved ones to die. Romeo and Juliet’s relationship causes the families to unite do to the destruction the rancor between them causes.

When the behavior of the lords is compared against dramatic foils, like Benevolio, Shakespeare points to uncontrolled emotions as immoral. Unlike other more emotionally driven characters in the play, Benvolio is much more calm, sensible, and levelheaded. An example of his peacekeeping intentions are displayed in the very first scene in which he tries to break up the fight between the two households’ servants, saying, ‘Part, fools! / Put up your swords. You know not what you do’ (I.I.59-60). Another instance is when he tries to advise Romeo to forget about Rosaline and find someone new; although, Romeo refuses to listen. Benvolio is one of the few rational characters who makes rational decisions and actions in the play. He is also and one of the few characters that does not die, we can clearly see how Shakespeare used this dramatic foil to display his point that uncontrolled emotions and actions are immoral and lead to severe consequences, such as tragic death. When this point is investigated further, it is evident that the deaths, including Mercutio’s, Romeo’s, and Juliet’s, are a result of these characters’ own irrational emotions.

Throughout the play, Shakespeare treats death as if it is a common thing that happens every day. The characters deal with the tragic death in different ways. The Friar opines of it as the person is in a better place, because he is a man of God. He makes this clear when he discovers Juliet awake in the tomb and Romeo is dead, “I hear some noise/ Lady, come from that nest/ Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep. A greater power than we can contradict/ Hath thwarted our intents,” (5.3.156-159). In this Friar Lawrence tells Juliet the higher power, God, has foiled their plan and Romeo is in a better place. Juliet is self centered and focuses on herself and what’s happening in her life. She overlooks the death of Tybalt and mourns the banishment of Romeo. Later, when the focus of her life faces death, she overreacts and goes to the extreme by killing herself.

The love between Romeo and Juliet causes many unfortunate and early deaths.