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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet


by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the 2008 Norton edition of the play.

Quote #4

O, I am fortune's fool!

Immediately after he kills Tybalt in a duel, Romeo declares he is "fortune's fool." This seems to suggest that fate or "fortune" is responsible for Tybalt's death, not Romeo. But, really? Should we let Romeo off the hook for fighting and killing Tybalt, or should we hold Romeo responsible for his actions? Isn't this a little like a teenager yelling that everyone hates him and slamming his bedroom door?

Quote #5

O, think'st thou we shall ever meet again?

I doubt it not; and all these woes shall serve
For sweet discourses in our time to come.

O God, I have an ill-divining soul!
Methinks I see thee, now thou art below,
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.
Either my eyesight fails or thou look'st pale.

When Juliet says she has "an ill-diving soul," she means that she has a premonition of Romeo's death. This, of course, foreshadows how she will see Romeo for the last time: with her in her tomb (5.3). (Tip: try thinking positive thoughts, Jules!)

Quote #6

O Fortune, Fortune! All men call thee fickle.
If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him
That is renowned for faith? Be fickle, Fortune.
For then I hope thou wilt not keep him long,
But send him back.

Juliet feels pretty helpless when she says goodbye to her new husband, Romeo, after the couple's one and only night together. Fortune (or Dame Fortuna, goddess of fortune and fate) is often portrayed as a "fickle" (unpredictable and unreliable) goddess because she could raise men up to great heights or cast them down at any moment with the spin of her wheel (a.k.a. the wheel of fortune). Juliet begs "fortune" to be kind to Romeo and reasons that since Romeo is so "faith[ful]" (as in not fickle or unreliable), then "fickle" fortune should want nothing to do with him. Sure—seems like sound logic to us.

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