Romeo and Juliet is a tale about two star-crossed lovers who are not so much control by fate as by their own and others choices. The demise of Romeo and Juliet can be attributed more to their poor choices then to being star-crossed.
One way in which poor decisions affect the outcome of Romeo and Juliet is Romeos inability to choose the right choice. Romeos really in love with the idea of love not in love itself. This is apparent when he first meets Juliet; he just had his heart broken by another girl. To satisfy “love” he will not do anything in the logical simple way, why didn’t he go to ask Capulet to court his daughter? Did he have to sneak under her balcony the first night? Would the families have kept them apart if he had approached them? Romeo needs to fulfill the fairytale he has formed around the word love. Romeo believes that what should happen will happen, he loves Juliet they should get married. That decision alone had a large part in their ends as it forces Juliet to do something to avoid her marriage to Paris. Why was it necessary to marry so soon? It simply wasn’t, it was a naïve view of how things work. Romeo killed Tybalt, true it was self defense but due to the choices of others previous to their encounter it was the last straw for the Prince who immediately banish Romeo even if he knew Romeo was a good person. In a perfect world that would not have happened, since it is not the world as Romeo sees it he is now banished. His banishment leads to another innumerable amount of mistakes, such as buying an illegal potion from the apothecary who he coincidental seemed to notice would sell it to him due to his lack of money. It was a very poor choice to go immediately to her tomb to kill himself, it had only been a few days they had known each other and he put no thought into killing himself to be with her? His worst decision was not considering the consequences of his actions before he was facing them.
Juliet is also responsible for the outcome of the situation. She was not as directly responsible but she added mistakes of her own to the problem. The same flaw in them both about love being all powerful and instant manifests itself in her the first night they meet and even more so on her balcony when she is talking to herself and Romeo overhears. This puts Romeo in a position to influence everything and to skip most of their courtship, leading to them eloping and sneaking behind their parents. Sneaking behind their parents back was completely unnecessary is Romeo or Juliet had stepped forward and asked them for permission. Juliet agrees to the friar’s idea of using the potion when she could have just as easily and without the risk of the potion being too strong or being buried alive by running away. Was that needed? Juliet also made the mistake of falling for Romeo in mere minutes which lead to him returning the feelings when he found a girl that loved him in return. Juliet’s largest mistake is fueling Romeos idea of love and placing herself in its way.
A third example of poor decision making is by less important characters, although less important their mistakes affect Romeo and Juliet in a very large way. Sampson and Gregory starting a fight caused the prince to hit his limit and declare death on the next person to disturb the peace in Verona. Mercutio makes two major mistakes affecting Romeo, firstly was to tell Romeo to play the field and go to the party despite his feelings, leading to him meeting and kissing Juliet. A second mistake Mercutio made was to fight Tybalt, when he died Tybalt just wanted to keep going and kill Romeo as well. When the Prince discovers Romeo has killed Tybalt, even if Tybalt was at fault he must keep his promise and banishes Romeo to Mantua. Romeos banishment is what leads to the desperate plans of both Romeo and Juliet. Tybalt was also a poor decision maker, controlled more by emotion and violence then by sense he picked a fight with everyone he met, irritating the Prince and killing Mercutio as well as forcing Romeo into a fight. Capulet and Montague are probably the two clearest thinkers in the area but Capulet makes a serious mistake when he tells his daughter she is to marry Paris without asking her. This leads to her taking friar Lawrence’s potion. Friar Lawrence is also responsible and shares his part in the poor decision making. He marries Romeo and Juliet, Gives Juliet the potion to pretend she is dead; he does not personally make sure Romeo receives his letter regarding the potion and Juliet. These among other small choices affect the amount of fate that actually influences these two star-crossed lovers.
The affect fate gets to play in this tale of two star-crossed lovers is very little, with all the poor choices made by Romeo, Juliet, Friar Lawrence and many others “seals their fates”. Without all these mistakes and poor decisions would it have turned out as such a tragedy? No. The deaths of Romeo and Juliet are purely based on poor decisions and not on fate.