A/N: To let you know, I would truly appreciate reviews with what kind of grade you would give this, since I ended up turning it in. This is one of my better essays, so I decided to see what people thought of it.
"For never was a story of more woe/ Than this of Juliet and her Romeo" (5.3.309-310). Romeo and Juliet, a play by the famous William Shakespeare, is a tragic story of love, death, and hatred. Romeo and Juliet, the two central characters in the play, are in love, although their union is forbidden. The pair dies at the end of the play, creating the tragedy. But what really caused their death? Was it their hastiness? Or perhaps certain characters led to the death of the two star-crossed lovers? Certain characters certainly influence the death of the famous couple. Though these three are not the only ones, they certainly have an impact on the death of Romeo and Juliet. Three characters that heavily influenced the suicide of Romeo and Juliet are Lord Capulet (Juliet's father), Benvolio (a friend and cousin of Romeo's), and Friar Lawrence (a friar that agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet).
Lord Capulet, the father of Juliet, most certainly helped cause his daughter's death. He is the head of the Capulet house, and the Capulets are in a bitter feud with the Montagues. At first, when Paris asks to marry his daughter, he declines and says that his daughter deserves to choose her love for herself. Juliet, however, meets Romeo when he comes uninvited to the Capulet party, and she falls in love with him. However, after the death of Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, Lord Capulet agrees to let Paris marry Juliet—without his daughter's consent. When she disagrees, he becomes furious with her, and angrily yells, "Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds/ But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next/ To go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church/ Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither/ Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage!/ You tallow-face!" (3.5.152-157). Lord Capulet does not like that his daughter refused the man he chose for her, so he tells her to be ready to be married of her own free will, or he will drag her to the church against her will. He insults her and threatens to disown her unless she agrees to marry Paris. Juliet agrees, but then takes a potion that makes her seem as if she was dead. When she is in the tombs, Romeo finds her too soon, and kills himself because he believes that his love is dead. If Capulet had not started the feud with the Montagues or forced Juliet to marry Paris, perhaps she would not have died.
Benvolio, one of Romeo's cousins and closest friends, helped to cause the death of his best friend. Romeo tells Benvolio that he likes Rosaline, but that she has given herself in service to the church. Benvolio and Romeo meet a servant of the Capulets, and Romeo helps him find out what names are written on an invitation to a party at the Capulet's home. After the servant leaves, Benvolio decides that they should go to the party, and tells Romeo, "At this same ancient feast of Capulet's/ Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves/ With all the admired beauties of Verona/ Go thither, and with unattained eye/ Compare her face with some that I shall show/ And I will make thee think thy swan a crow" (1.2.77-82). Benvolio believes that he will have Romeo compare Rosaline to other beautiful girls at the party, and no longer be infatuated with her. Romeo does indeed fall in love with another, and she just happens to be Juliet, the daughter of the head of his enemy's house, Lord Capulet. Perhaps if Benvolio had taken Romeo initial advice to not go to the party, Romeo would not have met Juliet, and therefore died.
Friar Lawrence, the friar that both Romeo and Juliet go to for advice, also played a large part in the death of the two. First of all, Romeo comes to the Friar after he meets Juliet, and the Friar begins to disagree with the marriage, but then reconsiders, and tells Romeo, "In one respect I'll thy assistant be/ For this alliance may so happy prove/ To turn your households' rancor to pure love" (2.3.90-93). Friar Lawrence only agrees to the marriage because he believes that the two households will put aside their fighting for the benefit of their children. When Romeo is banished for killing Tybalt, Friar Lawrence sends Friar John with letters to Romeo. Though this is not Friar Lawrence's fault, the letter that informed Romeo of the potion that caused Juliet to appear dead never reached its receiver. When Romeo and Paris are dead in the tomb and Juliet sees them, Friar Lawrence panics and runs off, thinking that he would look suspicious. This made him fail in preventing Juliet from stabbing herself. If Friar Lawrence had not remained secretive about the marriage or run off, both deaths could have been prevented.
The three characters, Friar Lawrence, Lord Capulet, and Benvolio, all played major parts in the deaths of Juliet and Romeo, though they were not the only ones to blame. Almost every character played a part in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, even themselves. Perhaps the cause of their death was indeed love, and not only the aforementioned characters. Love could easily be the most beautiful and dangerous thing out in the world and it can never be fully understood.