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Hasty Decisions In Romeo And Juliet Essays

Haste And Impulse In "Romeo And Juliet"

Most people think that coincidence is the main cause for the character’s severe misfortune in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but in reality, it is impulse and the inability to control one’s passion that account for the large amount of calamity in this tragedy’s plot line. Haste and passion are evident flaws in many of the character’s personalities. At one point in time, Romeo, Tybalt, Capulet, Friar Lawrence make a decision on impulse. Many of these decisions are also made when the character is overcome by a deep emotion. If some of the characters were able to get a hold of there passion and think things through, maybe the unfortunate deaths of Romeo and Juliet, as well as many others, could have been avoided.
Passion, and the inability to control it, is one of the major reasons that the characters experience such misfortune throughout the course of this tragedy. Instead of thinking things through before they act, many of the characters such as Lord Capulet, Tybalt, Friar Lawrence, and Romeo all let the emotions overcome them and ultimately rule their decisions. Shakespeare uses the downfall of characters that abuse the privilege of emotions to warn readers about making decisions without considering the results.
Lord Capulet allows his severe emotions to overcome him in rough situations and drastically alter his decisions. For example, after Juliet begs him to call off the marriage between her and Paris he explodes and replies, “Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch! I tell thee what: get thee to church o’thursday, or never differ look me in the face. Speak not, reply not; do not answer me. My fingers itch- Wife, we scarce thought us blessed” (Shakespeare III, V, 159-162). Juliet’s willingness to risk her life seemed perfectly reasonable after her father’s explosion (Shurgot 1). If he would have been able to control his immature outburst and discussed the marriage with Juliet before threatening to disown her, maybe Juliet would not have gone to such severe measures as faking her death.
Another character that can’t keep a strong hold on his emotions is Tybalt. Tybalt allows his anger to rise and rise until the point where he believes violence is his only solution. “Tybalt: ‘Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford no better term than this,-thou art a villain.’ Romeo: ‘Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such a greeting: villain I am none; Therefore farewell; I see thou know’st me not.’ Tybalt: ‘Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries that thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw” (Shakespeare III, I, 55-62). Despite Romeo’s calm and mature response, Tybalt allows the craving of revenge to convince him that the only way to end his anger is to destroy the cause.
Instead of allowing anger to control his decisions, Friar Lawrence lets fear take hold of his judgment. After he travels to the tomb and finds Juliet wakened to the sight of a dead Paris and Romeo he hears a noise and remarks, “...

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677 words - 3 pages Haste is a major theme shown throughout William Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet. Many of the characters were impetuous in their actions and as a result, the consequences were tragic.

One of the most obvious examples portraying the theme of haste is Romeo and Juliet's own haste to marry. Romeo and Juliet believe that they have fallen in love at first sight, even though their love is really based on physical attraction and merely an infatuation. However, the same night that they see each other for the first time at Capulet's ball, Romeo steals away into the Capulets' garden in hopes of another look at Juliet. In the famous balcony scene, they exchange vows of love, even though Juliet thinks it is much too hasty to do so and much too soon. We see Juliet's hesitation to exchange hasty vows of love in her lines:

Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night.
It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden. (II.ii.122-24)

However, though Juliet is at first opposed to the idea of hastily exchanging vows of love, she next does vow her love to Romeo. She also tells him to send word to her the next morning if he is serious and proposing marriage. Hence we see that their hasty vows of love and their hasty decision to marry the day after meeting are indeed examples that portrays the theme of hastiness.

Their hastiness to marry is further portrayed in the scene in which we meet Friar Laurence. In this scene, Romeo asks Friar Laurence to marry the couple that day. Though Friar Laurence thinks marrying is foolish because he sees Romeo is far too young to know what real love is, he agrees to marry the couple because he believes the union will help put an end to the feud. Despite being told that he does not know what love is, Romeo is still so eager to marry Juliet right away that he says, "O, let us hence! I stand on sudden haste" (II.iii.96). However, Friar Laurence again shows his disapproval of the couple's hastiness in his reply, "Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast" (97). Hence, even this scene gives us an example of the theme of hastiness, as well as takes a stance on the issue of hastiness.