Readers of Shakespeare’s famous love story have generally interpreted the play in three major ways. One common view portrays the lovers as victims of fate or fickle fortune, as “star-crossed” because of the strange accidents and uncontrollable forces that control the destiny of their love — the family feud between the Capulets and the Montagues, Romeo’s sudden banishment, and the delay of Friar Lawrence’s letter that explains that Juliet is not dead but under a sleeping potion. This interpretation minimizes the lovers’ responsibility in causing their own tragedy by their hasty marriage, impatience, impetuosity, and despair.
A second view of the tragedy idealizes the love of Romeo and Juliet as beautifully romantic and transcendent, above criticism and moral culpability — a true love that the animosity of the families frustrated from following its natural course of culminating in a happy marriage. … Continue Reading