The Theme of Fate and Time in William Shakespeare's Play ‘Romeo and Juliet’

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From the very beginning, lovers are referred to as the 'star cross', referring to an astrological belief associated with time. The stars were thought to control the fate of humanity, and as time passed, the stars would move along their course in the sky and also chart the course of human life below. Romeo talks about a premonition he felt in the movements of the stars early in in William Shakespeare's play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The movements of the stars create time-dependent changes. Fate and time actually complement each other in some way. We can detail them in this famous play.

The play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ features Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, two 'star lovers'. Their families are sworn enemies and continue the ongoing feuds between the two. In the book, fate plays a role in the story in many different scenarios. Something not simple through the story, it's all fate. Capulet’s maid trying to distribute invitations to a party on the streets of Verona. The absence of a maid for a single particular problem. Off the road with Romeo and Benvolio, which is the street next read for him, and if Romeo's Juliet of the Capulets had met in the streets of Verona in other streets, Romeo would never have been from the Capulet’s party. Benvolio told Romeo: “Go over there and compare your face with an unblemished eye to some I'll show you”. She asks Romeo to call someone at the party to forget about his first love, Rosaline. This is bad for them, because when Romeo and Juliet meet, they don't know that they are enemies. Romeo and Juliet fall in love with each other immediately, and get married the next afternoon. Here we see how quickly Shakespeare's play reaches the usual ending. They decide to go to the party he will throw at the first place he sees. It's fate, because Capulet decides to let Paris marry Juliet. Capulet believes that Juliet is grieving for her deceased cousin, Tybalt, who was recently killed by Romeo in anger over Mercutio's death. What she doesn't know is that she is grieving as her husband Romeo was sent into exile for killing Tybalt. Capulet and Paris decide on a date for the wedding; they agreed to take it on the Thursday of that week. Juliet goes to talk to Reverend Lawrence. He talks about a plan to keep him from marrying Paris, and when Romeo comes home with Romeo after waking up in the grave, his father is so happy with all the wedding plans that they get together, Juliet decides to postpone the wedding for the day. Juliet would drink a sleeping potion and fake her death, which means fate played a role in pushing her father's wedding plans up. Because the wedding was postponed, Father Lawrence did not have time to deliver the letter of plans to Romeo. The priest's messenger could not get the letter to Romeo in time. It shows that time plays a decisive role in their fate. If the messenger had been able to get the letter early, perhaps the tragic end would not have happened. Or, if the hour of the potion the priest gave Juliet had been shorter, maybe Juliet would have woken up early and prevented Romeo from committing suicide. But we see that there is no escape from the determined fate.

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Therefore, in his play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Shakespeare showed us how unimportant free will is in people's lives.

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The Theme of Fate and Time in William Shakespeare’s Play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. (2023, September 19). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
“The Theme of Fate and Time in William Shakespeare’s Play ‘Romeo and Juliet’.” Edubirdie, 19 Sept. 2023,
The Theme of Fate and Time in William Shakespeare’s Play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 Jun. 2024].
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