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Interested means “having the attention engaged” (“Interested”). Keeping the reader interested is so important in a book because if you do not, then they will get bored and not want to read the book. Foreshadowing is a great way to keep the reader interested because it makes the reader feel as if they are all-knowing and lets them think they can predict the future.
The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare has a lot of foreshadowing because it is the only way to keep the reader interested.
How it works
If this many people did not die, the play would not be interesting. Shakespeare foreshadows so many of these deaths to keep the reader interested, so we feel like we are all-knowing, even though we are not. Romeo says, “Farewell, farewell! One kiss, and I’ll descend.” (Shakespeare 5.1. 42) Romeo is foreshadowing his own death and telling the reader that later in the story, that is how he will die. Death is always lingering in the reader’s mind, which keeps them on their toes. “The idea of death pervades their thoughts almost constantly.” (Halio 69). This tells us that Shakespeare wants death to be at the front of the reader’s mind, so they are always thinking about it.
Romeo and Juliet know that their parents would never approve of their marriage, so they basically just set themselves up. The Capulets and Montagues never got along, so why would they be okay with their children marrying each other? They basically set themselves up for death. Friar says, “So smile the heavens upon this holy act/ The after hours with sorrow chide us not” (Shakespeare 2.6. 1-2). The start of their marriage will be fine, but after, it will all go downhill. Friar has a lot to do in the play because he marries them and foreshadows that after they are married, bad things will happen. Romeo and Juliet knew their parents would never be okay with their marriage, so they decided to die together in love. “Here it is important to recognize that Romeo and Juliet choose death;” (Halio 73). They knew they could never be truly happy unless they were in love, so they decided to choose death so they could be together and in love forever.
If Romeo had listened to his heart, everyone would still be alive. Shakespeare foreshadows that going to the party will result in something bad happening to keep the reader interested. “I fear, too early; for my mind misgives/ Some consequence yet hanging in the stars/ shall bitterly begin his fearful date/ With this night’s revels and expire the term/ Of a despised life, closed in my breast,/ By some vile forfeit of untimely death.” (Shakespeare 1.4. 106-111) The stars play a huge part in the play because back then, they believed that the stars paved their future, so if the stars see something bad, it will happen. If he had skipped the ball, everyone would still be alive. Shakespeare foreshadows a lot during the play to make the reader feel as if they are all-knowing, but really there are just a lot of subtle hints or clues that lead up to what is to come. “Romeo’s words epitomize the tragedy that unfolds.” (Halio 70). Shakespeare writes the play to make it sound as if the characters are dumb, but really he just writes it so the reader can get a view of what the characters are going through.
Death is the main thing that is foreshadowed. Shakespeare does this because it is the most interesting part of the story to the reader. Death is a serious subject that really grasps the reader’s attention and gets them interested. “O God, I have an ill-divining soul!/Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low,/ As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.” (Shakespeare 3.5. 54-56) Juliet is predicting the future even though the reader and her do not know it yet. Death being foreshadowed pops up so many times during the play, so it is always on the reader’s mind. “Patterns of repetition weave through the play as well as framing it. Characters constantly restate what has previously been staged-“. (Davis 40) Because there are so many people dying, it leaves the thought of death at the front of the reader’s mind, such as if something bad is about to go down, the first thing to pop into their head would be dead because it is talked about so much in the story.
Because there was a fight in the street, Romeo and Juliet ended up dead. Shakespeare foreshadowed that something bad was going to happen in the streets, but they fought anyway, and Tybalt died, which caused Romeo to be banished and the whole scenario to spiral. “And if we meet again, we shall not ‘scape a brawl.” (Shakespeare 3.1. 3) Benvollio tells Romeo before they go into the fight that if they go along with it, something bad is going to happen, but they ignore it and go into the fight anyway. Romeo could have avoided all that has happened, but he is spontaneous. “Thus, though a man’s fate is predetermined, he determines it by choosing as he goes along.” (Holland 187). Because Shakespeare makes all the decisions for Romeo since he is the author, it makes the reader feel that Romeo is not smart or in the moment.
Juliet foreshadows her own death, which tells us that she may have chosen death. Shakespeare foreshadows Juliet’s death to make it seem like she wanted to die in the first place.”Delay this marriage for a month, a week;/ Or if you do not, make the bridal bed/ In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.” (Shakespeare 3.5. 201-202) Juliet tells her father that if he does not delay the marriage, he will have a funeral to attend instead of a wedding. This tells us that she is willing to die for her lover, but it is hard to tell if it is for love or it is carelessness. Juliet isn’t crazy. She is just really scared about her husband. “Shakespeare has no intention of portraying her as a fallen woman; he simply wishes to stress the danger she is in.” (Seward 230). Juliet’s life is so crazy, and her irrational decisions make her seem as if she is going insane, but she is just going through a hard time.
Because Romeo’s age is never revealed, the reader believes that he is young and careless. Romeo is young and young people make very rash and stupid decisions when they decide to do something. “Whiskey and slow. They stumble that run fast.” (Shakespeare 2.4. 94)The friar is telling Romeo not to rush into things because sometimes, when you are too in the moment, you forget the things that are right in front of you, and you make mistakes. Because the play happens in such a close amount of time, the characters are forced to make rash decisions without thinking because the play is mainly about fate and foreshadowing. “The limitation of this play as tragedy is that the compulsion to embrace a fatal destiny is too closely identified with mere haste, and too dependent on verbal and imagistic expression.” (Frye 272). The reader sees Romeo as a younger character, making him seem reckless, and all his decisions are made irrationally.
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