Romeo and Juliet are one of the most well-known tragedies ever written. William Shakespeare wrote the play in 1594 and it has been studied for centuries. The plot follows two ‘star crossed lovers’ set in Verona as their romance blossomed and eventually lead to both of their deaths. Throughout the play, there are many different reasons for their deaths, and therefore there can be many people blamed for their deaths, such as the ongoing feud between the Capulets and the Montagues and Juliet
The capulets and the Montagues were two competing houses in Verona that had a violent history. Being friends or even friendly exchanges with a member from the other house almost never happened, but had the parents decided to end the feud there would have been no problem with Romeo and Juliet getting married, and they, therefore, would not need to keep it secret, and also would not have been forced into the marriage of Paris. The passionate dislike for each house is demonstrated by the way that Capulet and Montague were ready to immediately jump into a fight “what noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!” (Capulet, act 1, scene 1, line 73). It can also be demonstrated by Tybalt’s reaction to Romeo attending the Capulet party; he was enraged so much that he hunted Romeo and ended up killing Mercutio, had there been no prejudice Tybalt would have had no problem with Romeo. While all of this is a possible explanation, people have to be responsible for their own actions, and Juliet made decisions that lead to their deaths.
While the feud certainly played a big role in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet was a 13-year-old girl from the Capulet house. Just before the party that her father was throwing her mother told her that she was going to marry Paris. Juliet didn’t want to marry anyone, not specifically Paris as she hadn’t even met him yet. So when Romeo (who was around her age) showed up at the party and took an interest in her she may have found a way to escape the arranged marriage that she didn’t want to be a part of. This also may have been why she pushed Romeo into asking her to marry him “Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say ‘ay’; And I will take thy word. Yet, if thou swears, thou mayst prove false …If that thy bent of love be honorable, thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow.” (Juliet, scene 2, act 2, lines 90-92 & 143-144). Juliet is the one who really asked Romeo to marry her, and she was the one who pushed the relationship forward. A little bit after her father came to her and said that she had to marry Paris, and if she didn’t she would be kicked out of the house. Capulet said that If Juliet didn’t go through with the wedding she would be kicked out of the house. If she really wanted to be with Romeo she could have just left then and lived with him in Mantua. She even could have gone to Friar Lawrence and gotten a ride with a messenger. She either didn’t think very well about how to get out of the situation or she didn’t want to leave her family (though Capulet should not have forced her into the marriage in the first place). After all, this happens, one is reminded that each and every person has a choice in what they choose to do. Juliet chose to drink the potion that the Friar gave her, even though she was having second thoughts. She worried that it was poison or that she would wake up too early and see all her dead relatives and that she would go crazy and kill herself but she chose to drink it anyway, which lead Romeo to believe she was dead and kill himself. Then, when she woke up, she stabbed herself, which is directly the cause of her death. There are so many ways she could have dealt with this better. She could have run away from Verona or she could have explained to her parents what happened. Therefore she is responsible for at least the death of herself.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet follows the title characters as they fall in love and eventually kill themselves. Their deaths can be blamed on underlying prejudice and hate between the Montagues and the Capulets because had they not have been fighting they would have been able to fall in love peacefully. Their deaths can also be blamed on Juliet for making some unwise decisions in the days before her death.