Romeo And Juliet: A Tragedy Or Not?

442 Words2 Pages
A tragedy depicts the downfall of a noble hero usually through a predetermined fate. He possesses a flaw or makes a mistake that he recognizes by undergoing through a change in fortune, but not necessarily death. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, however, does not meet this criteria because chance plays a major role in the play, and neither Romeo nor Juliet recognize their human flaws as a result of their downfall. The play Romeo and Juliet does not fall in the tragedy genre for two key reasons – chance and their failure to acknowledge their flaws and mistakes. The illiterate servant of Capulet tells Romeo and Benvolio “My master is the / great rich Capulet, and if you be not of the house of / Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup of wine” (1.2.83-85). It is through an unfortunate chance that of all the literate people in Verona, the servant happens to ask Romeo to read for him, which later leads to the meeting of the two lovers and inevitably to their death. The role of chance in this significant event and throughout the whole play influences the outcome of the play by leading their destiny to death, and therefore removing the play from the tragedy genre. When Romeo sees Juliet dead in the tomb, he says, “Here’s to my love! O true apothecary! / Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die” (5.3.119-120) and drinks the poison, and soon right after, seeing Romeo dead, Juliet responds, “O happy dagger! / This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die” (5.3.169-170) and stabs herself with a dagger. This clearly shows their rashness and failure to act logically in drastic situations, which they obviously fail to comprehend. Everyone finds reason to believe that death ultimately concludes because of their biased society, but it is this failure to admit their flaws that compels them to kill themselves, and thus by definition excludes the play from the
Open Document