Theme Of Coincidence In Romeo And Juliet

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The play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare tells the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers who come from feuding families; a love which ultimately ends in their deaths. In this play, coincidence is a dominating theme, often altering the course of events resulting in either a positive or negative outcome. There are various examples of coincidence throughout this story, such as the servant who cannot read, the news of Juliet’s plan never reaching Romeo, and Juliet awakening only moments after her love has died.

To begin with, Romeo meeting Juliet was a result of a coincidence. Lord Capulet’s servant, who is illiterate, is tasked with inviting a list of people to the Capulet’s party, when Romeo and Benvolio enter. Unable to read the list, the servant seeks Romeo’s help. After which, the servant
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Friar Laurence gives Juliet a vial of liquid, which when drunk will cause a deep sleep and Juliet will appear dead for forty-two hours. Romeo is to come wake Juliet then they will run away together. Friar Laurence entrusts Friar John to deliver a letter to Romeo in Mantua with news of this plan. But, Friar John is quarantined in a house of someone suspected to have the plague. He says, “I could not send it,—here it is again,—Nor get a messenger to bring it thee, so fearful they were of infection.” (Act 5, Scene 2, Line 14-16). Upon learning this, aware of the possible consequences, Friar Laurence cries out, “Unhappy fortune! The letter was not nice but full of charge, of dear import, and the neglecting it may do much danger.” (Act 5, Scene 2, 17-20). If Friar John had reached Mantua, Romeo would have not believed Juliet to be truly dead. Therefore, he would have not visited the apothecary to buy poison to kill himself, and the tragedy would have never happened. This coincidence causes a sequence of events which ends in terrible misfortune—the death of Romeo and

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