Romeo and Juliet: who is to Blame

In society, there is always someone to blame for the result of an action, especially when explaining the reasons behind a devastating historical occurrence. For instance, many historians blame the governments of Germany, Japan, and Italy for causing World War 2. Similarly, people hold the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda liable for the series of 9/11 attacks. In addition to historical events, there is often a character to blame for a story’s outcome in works of literature, particularly in William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The character Capulet is most to blame for the tragedy: he orders the servant to deliver the guest invitation list, permits Romeo to remain at the party after Tybalt reveals his identity, and makes ignorant, impulsive decisions concerning Juliet’s marriage to Paris.

Capulet holds the blame for the tragedy due to commanding his servant to deliver the guest invitation list. In response, the servant wryly jokes in bewilderment, “Find them out whose names are written here! It is written that the shoemaker should meddle with his yard and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his pencil and the painter with his nets” (1.2.38-42). Capulet is unable to understand the job of his worker, causing the servant to deliver the invitations. This role is more suitable for a messenger to perform as he or she is more accustomed to delivering letters. A servant performs household duties, thus lacking the literacy skill needed for delivering letters. The servant describes in a mocking tone how one will be most successful in performing tasks of his or her specialty, indicating that he will not be able to execute the task perfectly due to his illiteracy complications. This would result in disruption of or foreign presence in the party, leading to the events that initiate the tragedy. The servant then soliloquizes, “I am sent to find those persons whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned” (1.2. 41-43). Capulet’s error forces the servant to inquire passerby, coincidentally Romeo and Benvolio who are members of the Montague family, about the names written on the guest list. This causes Romeo to attend the party to see Rosaline, a guest on Capulet’s list. Attendance at this party would ultimately initiate love between Romeo and Juliet. The encounter, and ultimately the tragedy, would have consequently been avoided if Capulet had recited the names on the list aloud to the servant, instead of writing it down on paper. Consequently, Capulet is to blame for the tragedy because of his instructions to his servant.

Furthermore, Capulet holds the blame for causing the tragedy because he holds Tybalt back from attacking Romeo at the celebration. Capulet orders Tybalt, “let him alone … I would not for the wealth of all this town here in my house do him disparagement. Therefore, be patient, take no note of him. It is my will” (1.5.63-70) Capulet’s commands to Tybalt spare Romeo from possible death as his assailant feels indignant at Romeo’s contemptuous intrusion. Capulet is more concerned over maintaining peace and equilibrium in the feast, ignoring the consequences of permitting a kinsman of his enemy to remain at the celebration. He believes that allowing Tybalt to carry on with his actions would lead to detrimental effects. Ironically, inhibiting Romeo’s punishment leads to more severe consequences as it allows Romeo to remain in the party and engage in conversion with Juliet, leading to them falling in love. Therefore, if Capulet had not prevented Tybalt from attacking Romeo, the tragedy would have been greatly minimized as Tybalt would have killed Romeo before getting the chance to interact with Juliet. In response to Capulet’s scoldings, Tybalt curses, “I will withdraw; but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitter gall” (1.5.89-90). Capulet’s chiding angers Tybalt, who is pugnacious and strongly abhors the Montagues. Tybalt immediately senses the danger of Romeo but is inhibited by Capulet. Tybalt is severely enraged as he is insulted by his kinsman and later challenges Romeo to a duel, which results in the death of Mercutio and the exiling of Romeo, further increasing the severity of the ordeal. If Capulet had merely permitted Tybalt to attack Romeo for intruding into the celebration and not scolded him, then the tragedy’s intensity would have been diminished. For those preceding reasons, Capulet is to blame for the causation and enhancement of the tragedy.

Also, Capulet causes the cataclysm because he behaves impetuously to force the marriage of Juliet and Paris. For example, the detrimental actions of Capulet are demonstrated when he scolds, “Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise: An you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend; An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets” (3.5.191-193). Capulet’s wrath incites fear in Juliet as she is forced to decide between banishment from her family and marrying Paris. The nobleman is apathetic of his daughter’s desires, asserting dominance over the girl as he provides for her financially. Capulet takes advantage of his power to enforce his self-centered decisions through scary threats of disownment. This causes Juliet to feel stressed since she is forced to decide between two options that she equally despises. As a result, she requests the Friar for a solution, initiating chaos among those not informed of the Friar’s plan. The confusion then leads to the death of Paris, Lady Montague, Romeo, and Juliet. Thus, Capulet perpetuates the macabre event by forcing Juliet into marriage with Paris. However, some people allegedly claim that Friar Laurence should be held accountable for the calamity because he devises a strategy for Romeo and Juliet to remain together peacefully. They assert the fact that the potion consumption and fake death caused false information to be conveyed to Romeo which leads to the two lovers’ and Paris’s death. On the contrary, Capulet’s decisions cause these deaths when he impulsively declares, “I’ll have this knot knit up tomorrow morning.” (4.2.24) Capulet’s resolution to move the wedding up a day poses detrimental effects on the state of the tragedy. This is because Friar John, Friar Laurence’s messenger whose role was to deliver the letter to Romeo, arrives from being quarantined on the night of the readjusted wedding date. If the wedding date was never changed, the friars would have had enough time to travel to Mantua and inform Romeo of the potion plan before Juliet’s fake death. Friar Laurence’s plan would then work successfully, and the couple would easily escape, avoiding Paris’s death and arousal of suspicion. Consequently, Friar Laurence is not guilty of the causation of the tragedy. Instead, Capulet is to blame for forcing Juliet into marriage and rescheduling the wedding to a day earlier.

Capulet holds blame for William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet because he orders an illiterate servant to deliver the guest invitation list. He then permits Romeo to remain at the party after Tybalt reveals his identity. Capulet additionally makes ignorant, impulsive decisions concerning Juliet’s marriage to Paris, which result in the death of the lovers. These actions performed by Capulet are merely impetuous decisions that led to pernicious effects. This is also extremely common in society, especially in huge catastrophes. For instance, Kaiser Wilhelm, the last emperor of Germany, made bold political choices that led to the start of World War 1. Similarly, the British Parliament made an impulsive choice to tax the colonists for the French and Indian War, which led to the American Revolution. This reveals that these uninhibited actions can contribute to large disasters as demonstrated in both history and literature. Thus, one should always make thoughtful, prudent decisions that foreshadow positive future effects. This will prevent a major ordeal from occurring as well informed, carefully-planned decisions are less dangerous than impulsive ones.

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